Weekends and housekeeping chores; the two have been a dreaded duo for more years than I wish to commit to paper (or screen). It all began when I was ten years old and awarded my very own bedroom with brand new grown up furniture. But there was a catch. It came along with the grown up responsibility of keeping it clean. And then, there was the fine print. I couldn’t go out to play on Saturday mornings until I’d changed the linen and cleaned the room, wall to wall, corner to corner, which I saw as open to interpretation.
Come Saturdays the bedroom set that had looked so glamorous when I’d been allowed to pick it out at the furniture store morphed into an endless lot of surfaces to dust: the dresser with mirror, the chest of drawers, the night stand, and of course, the requisite desk for doing homework; although I found I could camouflage that by piling my books and book bag atop it.
Also, as far as I was concerned, the contract specified cleaning as a Saturday thing, so if a sheet of paper slipped behind the chest of drawers on Tuesday or a sock got kicked under the bed on Thursday, they entered the twilight zone of out of sight out of mind. And when Saturday rolled around they remained out of mind.c
Yes, I was the best surface cleaner in the world. My dusting and waxing were vigorous but confined to horizontal surfaces. And I did have a tad bit of trouble discerning borders, as in where the floor turned into under-the-bed. But if I was strategic in when to call my mother away for a formal inspection, like when she was in the midst of tending to her own cleaning chores or tending to my younger brothers, she usually just ran a finger over the dresser top or smoothed out the hastily draped bedspread, before giving the “OK, you can go out to play.”
My cover would be blown each summer when I spent August at sleep away camp. My mother would attack the room for more than surface cleaning. True story – the summer after eighth grade she found thirty five out of sight out of mind graduation gift dollars behind my dresser. The sad part is I don’t think I’d ever missed them.
Ten years slid by and there I was, in my own apartment. No way was I going to muck up my well-earned weekends with housework. I set up a strict schedule for myself. I’d come home from a day of teaching; have a cup of tea, then attack a room a day. Luckily it was a three room apartment so come Friday night, I was free to rock.
Well, kids guess what. Life goes on. Houses still get dirty. And yours truly has not changed. Although there has been a shocking development. I’ve found a job I love. Yes, you heard that right. L-O-V-E, and it came out of what others might term disaster
My clothes dryer died. Technically, it works, but only on permanent air conditioning – it only blows cold air. Since it was a freebie, in place, along with the washer, when I purchased The House of Mars fourteen years ago, I figure if I buy a new dryer and go through the hassle of arranging removal and delivery, you can bet, sure as anything, the washer will die a clunking death the very next day, I decided to wait for that day, and meanwhile go green.
So now I present to you my new toy.
I’m either amazed at how much it holds or astonished how little a washer load amounts to. But at any rate, I treasure hanging clothes in the morning air. And I hardly recognize the person manning the clothespins. Can that be me, painstakingly hanging each piece seams straight, spaced out just so? And there she is again, taking it all down after work , folding and smoothing each fresh-smelling garment before putting it in the basket. Aah life is good!
Now, when winter rolls around……… but that’s a long way off. Out of sight out of mind!