Zen and the art of cleaning house


I’m supposed to be cleaning. But hey, what’s-his-name said he was going to clean and then disappeared to the basement. Which means that he’s not cleaning.

But I will. Really. I have this thing about cleaning on Friday nights. This started long ago when we were first married, living in the palatial duplex that overlooked the railroad tracks. That was one heck of an apartment and no amount of cleaning ever really produced anything other than what it was. An ugly apartment with a view of every train that passed through town. 

Anyway, the deal was that I cleaned and he did the laundry. This was really a good deal since doing the laundry meant going to the laundromat since that wasn’t a part of the $100/month apartment deal. Well, maybe it cost more than that, but not much. Whatever. I didn’t like going to the laundromat because I had this thing about sharing washers and dryers with others. My paranoia did not lessen with the knowledge that the hot water and detergent would kill germs.

So…he washed clothes. I dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed sinks and toilets, etc., while he did the laundry and people watched (his true reason for wanting to be there). Shortly after we married, the husband bought himself some bikini briefs. A couple of high school guys — Greg Snyder and one of his sidekicks — stopped by one night to say hi. Must have been a slow night for sports; I have no idea why else they would appear at the laundromat on a Friday night. Anyway, one of them saw the bikinis and snickered. No amount of explaining would convince them that they were his and not mine. At least that was his story to me. For all I know, he might have lied and said they were mine.

Back to the ranch where I was cleaning. Here’s the kicker. I love to clean bathrooms. I’m one of only two persons I know who actually enjoys this. But when the kids were young, I had to learn to delegate cleaning chores. Bathroom cleaning became child number one’s job. She still likes to do it; in fact, we have the reverse white glove treatment in our family. She now critiques my cleaning skills.

Child number two always did the windows. So for about 15 years, we had the cleanest windows in the world. Then she took off for college and window washing became an obscure chore. They haven’t been cleaned for five years. There’s one clear (or maybe not-so-clear) advantage to this. There is no need for curtains. No one can see in anyway.

Now that the kiddies have gone off to clean their own homes, the husband and I have returned to our Friday night routine of cleaning. This lets us off the hook for the rest of the weekend. Of course, now we have a washer and dryer so no more laundry treks except to do the comforters. He’d probably wash yours if you offer him some chocolate chip cookies.

So…now…he mops the kitchen floor and dust mops the wood floor. Then he dusts the furniture. Do I hear gasps? I know. Heloise would snort at the errors of his ways. Dusting furniture is supposed to be done before the floors. But who am I to complain? I consider myself lucky…far too lucky. He cleans. And vacuums.

And now… footsteps sound on the basement steps. The sound of a bucket being filled…and the faint clicking of the mop in the kitchen. Which can mean just one thing. It’s my turn to face the toilets. Bring ’em on.

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2 responses to “Zen and the art of cleaning house

  1. Is it possible to be “far too lucky”?

  2. Pannabecker Steiner Mary

    Hm. No, I guess not.

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