Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday's Words for February 23, 2011

There are all different kinds of talents that people possess, and some of them leave me in awe. The one I’m thinking of at the moment is the talent to keep a spotlessly tidy house.

Yes, that most certainly is a talent and, sadly, not mine. Not even a whisper of it do I possess.

I’ve been to peoples’ houses where everything is so pristine you could eat off the floor. Not a speck of dust is visible, no cobweb can be found. Not a crumb mars the perfection of the perfectly clean, shiny surfaces and not a paper, or a pen, or a candy wrapper can be found out of place on any table, chair or ottoman.

How do they do it? I spend time cleaning and tidying. I do! I vacuum and I dust, I sweep and I put things away. I wash the dishes (by hand because, pity me, I have no dishwasher and never have had one). I wipe the counters and the stove, the fridge, and the freezer. Once a week I also do that with bleach in the water!

And my house looks…okay, but pretty far from immaculate.

My brother, on the other hand, is a very fastidious fellow. His house is always very near perfect. It’s just a natural state of being for him and it always has been. Very intimidating when he’s coming to dinner, let me tell you.

He’s ten years my senior. I recall a lecture he gave me when I was around 8 or 9, on “the seven places where clothes are allowed to be”. They were: hanger, dresser drawer, body, laundry hamper, washer, clothes line, and ironing basket.

Yes, that lecture took place a long time ago, in the last century. I don’t know if many people have ironing baskets any more. I know I don’t have one.

I have tried to be more conscientious about my housekeeping. Theoretically it should be easier now than it was when I was raising my kids because in those days it was four against one (I was the one). Now it’s only one against one most of the time. Of course, I’m older now, and not nearly as mobile as I used to be. Neither does my stamina take me as far as once it did.

Do you know what I think? I think there are evil little invisible elves that creep in when I’m not looking. They dirty dishes, and leave stuff lying about. They create dust elephants, cobwebs, and general disorder in the blink of an eye. They also spread their invisibility. I think I am done cleaning, so I sit down, and then I see what I’ve missed.

And when my grandchildren are here, why then, those darn elves work twice as hard!
I tried to think when was I last really successful at getting my house to a level of cleanliness that not only felt good but lasted for a few days. And I remembered it was the year that RT was in Pittsburgh.

My beloved and our daughter left for the Caribbean, and when I came home from taking them to the airport, I cleaned my house.

I was alone for a few days, and didn’t need to repeat the process as it was quite easily maintained. I cooked, I ate, I did all the things that normally take place here. And the house stayed spic and span.

My good friend came from far away, and she stayed over two nights. And still, the general orderliness of tidy took but a few moments to accomplish. Then we left for the convention.

Of course, when I got home, my husband had returned and, come to think of it, the first thing I did after I unpacked was clean the house which somehow had returned to its usual state of chaos.

I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit again that place of Nirvana where all around me stays neat and tidy. But then, I’ve not spent any days alone here, either.

Hmm. I wonder if this is a clue?

Morgan Ashbury writes as Cara Covington!

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