Monday, October 17, 2005

Productive. And You?

How was your weekend, dearest darlings?

Me? I have embarked on my semi-annual scrub as much of the shit out of the house as I can. Forced death march cleaning, if you will.

To whit, I submit the following achieved over the past few days:
  • vacuumed whole damn house, including stairs
  • dusted whole damn house, even under the stereo equipment, as much as humanly possible
  • mopped every square inch of non-carped covered floor space (and a little carpet, too, drat that sloppy mop.)
  • cleaned fridge, removing all comestibles and retiring those who waved back at me. I also snuck 2 of the 8 jars of mustard in the door (yes. 8. Not counting the 2-3 jars of mustard pretzel dip) into the great beyond. Charles has a condiment addiction.
  • moved and cleaned under every bit of kitchen counter, including where the computer and its attendant 47 cords sits, on the bit of desk by the door
  • cleaned the microwave
  • did mounds of laundry, folded, and put away
  • put away all the toys in the playroom properly, not just in the nearest bin or kicked under the couch
  • moved said couch and pulled out hiding toys (human and dog), also found new colony of friendly green mold on the wall behind the couch and another, less friendly but darker and fuzzier colony, on the carpet. I suspect it was once an errant raisin or such, which must have traveled there on its own as it is widely known that we do not let those of small stature eat in the playroom (ahem)
  • destroyed both mold colonies clandestinely, so as not to invite the wrath of the endangered species groups (I have enough to do without filling out their forms in triplicate)
  • planned several lovely meals
  • grocery shopped for said lovely meals
  • drooled over the consuming of the future lovely meals
  • scrubbed the bathrooms, including the showers
  • de-scaled our shower with lemon juice (I curse you, Midwestern hard water)
  • removed the little cover thingies from the faucets and de-grimed them (more life systems lost)
  • filled the hand soap dispensers
  • emptied the trash
  • washed, folded and put away more laundry
  • sorted the pile of papers on the counter into a smaller pile of papers (now on its side!) on the counter
  • cleaned the desk in the study (now! with clean desk top!)
  • watered the plants
  • cleaned the windows, as much as possible, given that 2 of the 8 surfaces are, to my persistent fiddling, still inaccessible to all but grime and small bugs. Now, instead of looking filthy, they just look dirty and streaky, quite an improvement, I assure you.

It is with this last that I nearly met my match. I have now, officially, found a new most hated household chore. It used to be cleaning the shower. All that scrubbing up and down, combined with the lemon juice descaling, well, just hate, hate, hate it.

Hah. No longer.

You remember my deeply ingrained bug phobia? I am sure I have mentioned it a time or two. How much the crawly, segmented, and crunchy skeeve me to the max and leave me jumping 5 feet back and squealing like a girl? Well, at least in my head. I have learned to suppress this reaction much of the time.

Now think of what you find on the window sill, between the window proper and the storm window or screen. Yes. Bugs. Mostly dead bugs. I also answered my question of: "Is it better to have a sill of dead bugs or live ones?"

The answer is: Live ones are better, at least better than dead ones who have been there through at least a few seasons and are no longer easily detachable from the window sill or its attendant parts. Bugs that are removable via vacuum are more desirable than those that must be removed via hand. Hand swathed in a roll of paper towels, none-the-less, but still hand. Specifically my hand. Yet remove them I must. All tolled, many hundreds. No exaggeration. Easily over a hundred alone on the loft window sill. Several very large. But remove them, I did, as much as my swathed hand could reach. Sadly, I did not clean the windows in the mudroom, this odd afterthought of a room attached to the back of the house, sitting in the middle of the deck. It was billed as a "3-seasons-room" as it has a heater and a ceiling fan, although what moron would spend the $800 dollars to heat such a box in a Wisconsin winter, I ask you. So, we use it for muddy boots and some gardening stuff and kid outside toys. The cookbooks also live there, as there is no room for them in the house at present, and the room is accessible through the kitchen. So there are about 10 more windows filled with buggy corpse horrors for me to contemplate. My skin is crawling as I type.

And now, I will answer your burning question: Why the hell did I do all this? Are we moving?

No, sillies! We are NEVER MOVING, AGAIN, remember?

My mom and step-dad are coming for a week!

No! My lovely mum is most certainly NOT one of those who is a clean freak. She successfully plowed a compromise of clean but not pristine through our childhoods, all while working full-time. She would no more say anything should I have a house filled with piles of rotting food and flies than fly to the moon. She would then announce that she was feeling "useless" or some suchness and casually start to clean things up, making it feel like a natural, even fun thing to do. I just feel this compulsion to clean for guests. All guests. Even my mum.

I look at as a good thing. Can you imagine the pile of rotting insect corpses on the window sill were it otherwise? In a few years, they would block out the sun.

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18 Comments:

Blogger The Lioness said...

You have just ensured that I will never visit you, we'll have to meet at that cheese shop (oh bother!), imagine you going through all this - gah you POOR POOR MAD DEMENTED WOMAN!

But this? "Retiring those who waved back at me." You are hysterical!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- No, no, no! You see, I need people to visit, otherwise I will do no cleaning aside from the cursory! Then it will take months of industrial cleaning and THAT would be unimaginable. We really need people to come every 3 months. So, when can I pencil you in? The cheese shop awaits.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Yeah, I don't clean unless people are coming for a visit, either. And not that much then, either, because people only come to visit me RIGHT BEFORE MIDTERM EXAMS and I have better things to do!!! (*cough, cough*)

and the bugs in window sill in the three-season room? Run a garden house inside the house and spray the little corspes right OUT the window, back out into the ecosystem where they belong.

3:16 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

You impress with your elite cleaning skills! For me, visitors are THE motivation to clean, otherwise, ummm...well, cleaning just isn't my strong suit. My mother-in-law visited from Alaska a couple of years ago, and decided to "help out" by doing some laundry, and put my light blue sweater in the wash with Allie's bright red pajamas. I had to say goodbye to the sweater, but at least I know now where her son learned his laundry skills. But, Justin does happily get rid of bugs dead and living...

4:46 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- Brilliant idea! But then I remembered the lip on the sill that holds the screen in place. It is about an inch high. Ah, the look of chagrin on my face as I thought of blasting those bug corpses to kingdom come, realizing that they would instead come pelting back at my face. Sounded so good, though. I need a teenager.

Stace- No. Say it ain't so. Your poor sweater. See, this is why I don't let anyone touch my wash. If something goes awry, it is MY fault. You think I am joking?

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI D,

I can relate to the fit of cleaning - just finished some of my own last week. Didn't realize how long it had been till I started sticking to the bathroom floor from the hairspray build-up! Ugh!!! I really hate housecleaning. Must be a holdover from childhood - Mom was a clean freak and my grandmother was worse. She actually wore out the carpeting in her house by vaccuming it! I also attached the pile of ironing that was about to topple and kill whoever landed under it. Now I actually have table linens for the holidays I don't have to iron 5 minutes before I set the table.

Feel free to save the bugs in the mud room windows for my next visit. Bugs are no problem for me and I am very familiar with attaching them. Living in the woods attracts lots of them to the log house windows.

And don't feel obligated to do a spring cleaning when we come. When the urge hits grab a cupa, a book and/or a kid and relax.

See you soon, I hope,
Love, C.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

I am mucho impressed by how much you got accomplished esp. considering you have two small children!!! There are tasks on that list I would never ever get to, even if the Queen of England were coming to visit.

The sense of accomplishment after that shock and awe cleaning must be tremendous! If only things would *stay* clean!

5:53 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Mommy, I am scared now.

The weird cleaning lady is going to get me. Make her stop.

Mommy?

Okay, I refuse to live in a mustard free household but 8 jars of mustard is clearly way too much. All you need is a bottle of Plochman's or French's (preferably Plochman's) and life is good. However, I do have a tendency to collect jam and jelly that I use once and then never touch again.

I don't even care when people visit me. I tell them my room is off limits and then I show them anyway. I need help, Diana. Not even the popcorn and the movie is going to do it. Sigh.

And how do you make cleaning posts entertaining? I don't get it. Cleaning and gardening, my two least favorite things and I'm addicted to your posts about them. You amaze me.

Mmm. Cheese.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

C- I just might take you up on the debugging offer. Feels good, doesn't it, having all the stuff that has been nagging you done?

Rozanne- Truer words have never been spoken. The eternal fight against entropy. Sara was surprisingly co-operative, following me around, quoting page after page of The Cat In The Hat Comes Back for my entertainment, at times. At other times, I had to do things in 5 minute intervals. Colin found things to do in rooms I was not, after being sent to help when he crossed my path. Kid learns fast. He was very helpful in the playroom.

Dana- Shhhh, there, there. The weird cleaning lady only comes out a couple of times a year. What if the popcorn were air-popped with lots of real butter and the right amount of salt?

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

Yeah- cleaning schmeaning- I DARE you to come to my house and show me exactly what you did! No, seriously, when can you get here? Anytime is good for me. Just let me know.SOOOO Jealous!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Kate- Do you double dog dare me? Alas, there are fingerprints and dog hairs all over everything, again. It was fun while it lasted. On to the food!

8:05 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Ah, yes. I like to have guests and/or a party every so often just to force myself to do these things which would otherwise never be done.

The dining room chandelier looks *so* much better when it's not chock-full of insects. :-)

Of course, the rest of the time we live among tumbleweeds of pet hair...

10:52 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

My Ma was the same way. The MINUTE we had company coming it was time to do the big cleaning.

Of course, as a family of full-fledged procrastinators we usually left it til the morning of the visit, only got half of it done.

Ma would then tell all comers 'Hey, you're here to see us, NOT the house'

And no one complained, else they didn't get to eat my Da's cooking.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jamie- (smacks forehead) Aaugh! Forgot to de-bug the light fixtures. Let's hope no one looks up.

Babs- See, so much better. Plus, reading of The Old Man's cooking, I doubt that anyone had eyes for anything but the kitchen and the table. Afterward, I doubt if they could have seen anything but the inside of their eyelids.

9:00 AM  
Blogger K said...

Oh, Di.
I've an Art History essay due in 4 hours that I've just got to get on, but I'd like to pause and throw out a little statement about genetics and the nature/nurture problem and all that, with quotes from you:

"I just feel this compulsion to clean for guests. All guests. Even my mum."

Because that is exactly what our supposed non-neat-freak of a mother says every time someone comes within ten feet of our house, i.e.:

"No, you can't have friends over; the house is filthy."

Obviously the problem has progressed to the point where you can no longer recognize clean-freakery when it rears its ugly (but immaculate) head. Get out there and wallow in that filth, dear sister, before it's too late.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

K- HA! Hahahahahahhah! I'd roll on the floor, as well, but fear the drifts of dog hair that would glom on to me. Me! A neat freak! You slay me, honey. A neat freak does not clean before company because a neat freak doesn't need to. I will send you a picture of the bug corpses to prove my case. (I assume mom has your e-mail.)

PS, blog more, dearest! How else will I live through you? Kisses!

10:55 AM  
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