Gratitude Sunday: Ms Clean A New Way

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week
“What would be the point of living if we did not let life change us?”
spoken by the butler, Mr Carson (actor Jim Carter) in Downton Abbey

Sunday Haiku
Snow teases, threatens,
children hope, beg, pray for it.
Parents: “Not today!”

Sunday Musings
There’s that phrase: you cannot expect different results if you always do something the same way.

That includes cleaning.

I’m not the best cleaner. I don’t like cleaning. Actually I rather detest cleaning. Whatever you clean always needs to be cleaned again waaaay too soon.

The only way to not clean is to either live with your dust bunnies or be a minimalist.

I am not a minimalist.

I got the double whammy. I come from depression-era farm folks who were poor several generations before the Great Depression happened, so keeping stuff is in my DNA; and I inherited the intelligence to be curious about and love anthropological history – the stuff of days gone by, especially if it belonged to ancestors, and primitive doesn’t matter. The whammy is amplified by not inheriting the tidy gene as well.

I am the embodiment of a low-income person surrounded by a wealth of stuff; good and bad. I am a person of abundance, magical abundance when you start digging through cupboards and drawers; my house is vaguely related to the TARDIS, like fourth cousins twice removed. The more you clean or dig the more you find. This year I’m digging, getting a jump start on the non-existent spring cleaning I’ve managed to avoid for the last couple decades.

I am also a person of over abundant thinking. I have to. Embracing my abundance means living with my stuff and moving my stuff is the game of 14, or 15, or 37 depending on the day. If I don’t plan it out first it takes twice as long with thrice the mess. Visualization and a tape measure are required.

The hard part is the sloth-like time it takes me to change. Not bragging.

And then. I share my home, so I don’t do this all by myself. The cleaning, yes. The mess-making, no.

I have a small coat closet just off my living room. My house is a simple three-bedroom, two-bathroom single story ranch style. Perfect for me to retire and die in.

When we moved in more than twenty years ago, the coat closet began as a coat closet with mostly the hubster’s coats. A few years later he removed his coats and the “coat” closet became a “cleaning” closet. It housed brooms and swiffers and extra light bulbs and the vacuum cleaner. Efficiently. Neatly.

Hubster cleaned his personal clothes closet and decided more than a decade ago to put his coats back in the coat closet. Chaos ensued. Suddenly the vacuum cleaner no longer fit and diving through the coats to find a dustpan or a broom was a full faced, shoulder grabbing adventure in leather and wool.

To make matters worse, coats and outdoor gear began to pile up behind the front door several feet away from the coat closet. How to embrace this abundance? Every piece of outerwear has an application so elimination does not apply.

For years now I have been mentally contemplating the game of 14 to get the cleaning items out of the coat closet and into the laundry area. I have a lovely laundry area. It’s not large, but it’s enough. There’s a nice cupboard hung over the washer/dryer, and a shelf mounted to the right of the washer. The cupboard is my mess. I stash dead clothing, towels, and other textiles there to be used as rags for cleaning. Nothing like an old cloth diaper for cleaning, or a bit of linen tablecloth for polishing.

The extra challenge? Stealth cleaning. If I clean while hubster is around he has this unwarranted need to tell me what to do and how to do it, or he complains about the noise, or the dust flying, or the time of day I choose to clean. I won’t argue, but by god if I’m doing the cleaning I’m going to do it my way. He wants to clean, he can do it his way. He’s not used to having me home all the time yet. I find it psychologically easier to clean when he is gone or when he naps. I wonder if he will ever catch on to why I encourage him to go fishing. Sometimes his trip to the local lending library or the post office perfectly matches my five minute work window.

There were some decidedly dead items in the cupboard begging for the trash bin. Easy peasy. Done. Other items broke in my haste to get the job done; another easy choice: into the trash bin. Some regrets, thank them for their service, allow them to retire, and let them join the great garbage dump we call our world.

With a little consolidation, voilà! A whole shelf clean, ready for light bulbs, and swiffers, and a couple bins of cleansers and brushes. The laundry room cupboard was key to this particular game of 14.

I won’t bore you with the details (I found a paper shredder under the coats by the front door among other surprises including previously unreleased odors) but today, (hubster doesn’t know it yet) I have a dedicated coat closet for coats and hats and a tidy vertical cleaning area for brooms and mops in the laundry area. The coats and outerwear stored improperly behind the front door have moved to their (hopefully) forever home in the coat closet. The cleaning tools are soooo much easier to access in their new space in the laundry area. I found a new space for the paper shredder; now to figure out how to use the shredder.

Now, I’m bragging.

I have persisted and I have prevailed. Warrior Queen wins again.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – A sparkle of sunlight on evergreen ivy. It’s a little frosty on the hardy sage green hen and chicks. Ghostly gray fairy cups snuggle up to a fat soft green moss cushion. I love all the shades of gray and blue and white and light in this old picture at the beach.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Desperately in need of some relief from the state of the world and the echo in my home, I watched the latest season of the Canadian production Schitt$ Creek (2015 – current, rated TV – 14). This series pokes fun at a wealthy family who loses all their money and moves to the only asset remaining to them: a town named Schitts Creek, where they soon learn how the rest of us live. Make no mistake though, with Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy this is full-blown humor comedy. * Ken Burns’s Country Music (2019, rated PG), a documentary and history of the evolution of country music from the early 20th century. These images and tunes hit me hard. I grew up with the music: gospels and hymns, old fashioned foot stomping hillbilly music, Irish lullabies. The pictures of unpainted shacks on cement blocks and barefoot boys in overalls and barefoot little girls in threadbare dresses made from flour sacks all feel like home to me, and it is so poignant it leads me to tears now thinking of that level of poverty. Back then though, people had each other, not screens. We often don’t know we are poor until after the fact.

Currently Reading – As with my video viewing I was totally in need of lightness to read, I can’t even handle Winter Classic this year, I’m so distracted. To the rescue is Hollow Kingdom (2019, fiction) by Kira Jane Buxton. I’ve just started this novel but so far every page is a belly laugh. A plague has beset the world and turned all humans into zombies. (I don’t normally choose zombie stories. Yechk.) This story is told from the point of view of the pets and animals left behind and if you like crows you will like the main protagonist. The author is clever; I was hooked by the line: “Winnie (the poodle) was raised to talk about herself in the third poodle.” * Blowout (2019, non-fiction world politics and the oil industry) by Rachel Maddow. Oh what a tangled web we weave when we deceive in the name of profit, at the expense of the planet.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Created space.
  • Found time.
  • Clean corners.
  • Finishing tasks. Even if it is days later.
  • Changing the way I clean.
  • Embracing change.
  • Embracing abundance.
  • A dedicated coat closet.
  • Cleaning tools easily accessible in one place.
  • How a little work now makes future work easier.
  • Finally finding space on a couple bookshelves to integrate some books that were trying to live on the chair. Got them moved before they got too comfortable and settled in.
  • Still having a few projects within eyesight waiting to be done.
  • Thinking ahead a bit to plot the next project.
  • Having the patience to not run to the store or goodwill every time that “I want” balloon pops into my head. Digging through my magically abundant house first.
  • Recognizing the “I want” balloon brain bubble which steals my money.
  • Found a box of flavorful fragrant raspberries at the store. Disregarded the carbon footprint. Yummy!
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Homemaking, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Work and Labor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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