April 07, 2006

Martha Vs. Mother

How many of you have started your spring cleaning? I've always been a big fan of the task. It's the Martha Stewart in me. However, I've never been able to deep clean the entire house from top to bottom, from left to right in a clockwise fashion, within the confines of spring. As a result, my deep cleaning gets done in shifts. I might do the bedroom and bathroom one spring and get tired of the task, neglecting the rest of the house. The next spring I'll do the living room and powder room. The next spring I'll do the dining room and kitchen. So basically, each room gets a spring cleaning every three years.

Today I began work on the kitchen. I was quite surprised to find out that my oven had been placed on a thick, soft piece of carpeting. Oh wait, that would be a major layer of accumulated dust. I'm also amazed to realize that I can work in the kitchen all year long (for three years, actually) and not even notice that big blob of dried cake batter clinging to the wall. And what about that crusty barbecue sauce on the drawer knob? Why didn't I ever notice that? Another thing that baffles me is the knife drawer. After I use a knife, I wash it before I put it away in the drawer again. Where did all those crumbs come from? The bottom of my knife drawer is entirely covered with dried crumbs. But I never notice these things until I do my spring cleaning. Am I that oblivious to my own living conditions?

And it isn't like I don't clean the house throughout other parts of the year. In fact, I have a weekly ritual that involves dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry, and scrubbing toilets and sinks. Did you hear me? I said "weekly." If I'm maintaining a fairly tidy house throughout the year why does the house insist on plaguing me with these little, albeit disgusting, surprises?

My boyfriend's mother was recently shocked to hear that I don't get on my hands and knees to scrub the kitchen floor at least twice a month. After all, she does. She waxes it too, despite the fact that it is a no-wax floor. "It gets a little dingy from pulling the chairs in and out." I told her that I get on my hands and knees maybe twice a year, more likely once. She was appalled to learn I am lazy enough to merely sponge mop the floor. Until that moment I had been the daughter she always dreamed of having. After that moment I became nothing more than a slovenly creature living in a bacteria-infested pen I call a house. Oink.

Truly, I do enjoy practicing the art of good homemaking. The clean smell of Murphy's Oil Soap and that blinding sparkle on the faucets motivate me to tackle other aspects of my life with equal vigor.

And this year, as in all past, I vow to deep clean the whole house, if only to make my boyfriend's mother proud.

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