How spring cleaning is done

This little farmhouse is not new to the spring cleaning ritual. In her time, Grandma was on the mark with that one—and she didn’t fool around.
The curtains, the light fixtures, walls, windows, floors, everything in sight got washed. If you happened to visit on the day she was scrubbing up the place, you were guaranteed a job—and usually the one that required a ladder.
Maybe I inherited the cleaning craze or maybe I just like clean, but I don’t mind the work one bit and often have wondered if I missed my calling as a maid (Pete believes I’d make a great little French maid, though I think his motives are highly suspicious).
In my neck of the woods, there are three opportune times for me to do spring cleaning—the first is when Pete is away at work, the second is when Daughter #3 is at school, and the third is when they are both home and hired by the cleaning lady to perform cleaning tasks she despises, like removing mouse skeletons from traps in the attic, and picking dead flies, pieces of dried toast, and other alien particles out of the heat registers.
Yet in the end, the DIY woman I am prefers to work alone. I can control the horizontal and the vertical, and crank my stereo so that no one can hear me singing to the old Aerosmith, Boston, and Bob Seger numbers I can’t get enough of these days.
Most importantly there are no objections from “those who shall not be named” when I attempt the secondary callings to spring cleaning that include a laundry extraction mission from a teenage bedroom and restoring order to stacks of guitar magazines, picks, nuts and bolts, tools, and stray socks that have accumulated on top of someone else’s dresser.
First, though, I have to get to Pete’s dresser by negotiating the collection of guitar cases on the floor on his side of the bed that are camouflaged with articles of used clothing.
All the times I thought he was leaping into the bed to get to me he’d probably lost his balance trying to avoid a collision with the Fender Stratacaster.
Doesn’t the obvious need for order every occur to the male species?
Winston Churchill once said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
Come to think of it, I repeat the same pattern of reconstruction all over the house each time Pete goes back to work after his “every which way but organized” personality is home for two weeks.
On his way out the door, I half expect him to turn around in Clark Gable-Rhett Butler-style, gaze about and declare with a smirk, “Chaos, panic, and disorder. My work here is done.”
It’s a good job love is blind.
Inevitably I found a measure of delay in spring cleaning on Saturday. It’s nothing new for me. The habit of spreading myself into 15 different chores at once without intention happens a lot.
In fact, I think I invented multi-tasking.
What began in the kitchen with washing windows quickly took a back seat to an investigation when I went into my bedroom to find a lighter T-shirt I’d packed away with summer clothing.
From there I started digging through a box I had shoved in my bedroom closet—full of stuff that I hadn’t unpacked since before I moved to B.C. back in 2001.
Suddenly I had more important things to do than spring clean the fly poop off the inside of the windows.
For starters, I collected enough hair from “Ozzie’s” apparent nesting station on top of the box in my closet to rival the lady recently in the news who’d made a sweater out of the fur of her cat.
Secondly, I had the dandy homemade sling shot in hand that I’d been searching for that my dad had made me more than 25 years ago—an essential tool for spring cleaning in my neck of the woods.
Then it was back to the kitchen window where I sat waiting, poised to strike with my new toy aimed out the screen—just in time for magpie season.

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