Friday, August 12, 2005


You know what's great? A CLEAN HOUSE. I am high on the delicious odors of ammonia and windex! (Not really high, you know, just happy!) I have spent the morning cleaning, promising myself that I would not touch the computer until I finished and only partly believing that I could do it. I did!

I am blogging ergo I am finished cleaning.

When I truly enter into the activity of cleaning house, I can enjoy it. Approaching it they way I was raised to, I find fascination in the idea that there is some quirk in my cleaning methods that was probably a quirk for my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmothers. The use of a knife to scrape the scum off the bottoms of the chairs as the overture to the entire task. Wiping the floors around the toilets before scrubbing them. I shake out the dust rags, although they are now Super Absorbant, Electrically Charged, New and Improved Dustomatics that no earthquake could shake out! Still, I lean out the front door in my grungies to announce to the neighborhood and the surrounding world that: I, Sarah, am DUSTING!

Cleaning gives me time to appreciate what I have. I am grateful that I have two bathrooms to clean, and a kitchen to mess up, and a lovely bedroom to sleep in! My children each have their own rooms, reflecting their own personalities. What a blessing. I know it's trite, and there are people out there who are living in utter hell, but if I can't be grateful for what I've got, and enjoy what I've been given, well, then it's all moot anyway, isn't it? On the other hand, there are people who don't have to clean their houses, and have the delight of hiring someone to do it for them. (To those of you who do, I would never take that away from you. I think help is something all women deserve!)

Now, having said all this, you should know that I don't always, or even usually have such a blissful attitude regarding cleaning. Truly, I hate it. But that is when I am only partly committed to the task, and have about a million other things to do. We have had company like crazy this summer, but now, no one is coming this weekend, and there are no meetings or work (for me) so I could embrace the task this morning. Over breakfast I wrote the Unnecessary List (vital for my cooperation with myself) and announced to the children that there would be "chores" this morning. As they responded with eager, happy activity, I flashed-back to my own early responses.

Mom: "OK, Sarah, you dust the den and clean your room."

Sarah: "Ung. I don't like to dust! It's too hard to clean my room! Why do we always have to do chores on Saturday?"
And, of course, the phrase heard 'round the world: "It's not faaaaaaiiiiir!"

And those were the GOOD days. Yet, looking back, my recollections are of the sensations: the smell of the furniture polish, the light shining on all the clean surfaces, the roar of the vacuum, and the smell of burning dust from that old pea green behemoth, the feel of warm laundry out of the dryer. (And of course the shouts of my mom: "DON'T GO IN THE KITCHEN OR THE HALL!!!!!! I'VE JUST MOPPED AND YOU'LL LEAVE FOOTPRINTS!!!!"

At home, the signal that we were almost done was the sound of the dust cloth across the piano keys. It indicated that lunch was near, and that the afternoon was looming in which I could play (preferably outside, to prevent any messing-up of the house), knowing my tasks were complete. As I finished up the dusting today in my piano-less den, with my children happily engrossed in a game on the floor, I heard the sound in my head, and felt content.

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