I am in the process of some serious spring cleaning.I find that post-cancer I have this on-going need to simplify and streamline nearly every aspect of my life because when I went through cancer treatments, life got pretty darn complicated.Just getting up in the morning and getting through a work day was complicated enough and it should go without saying that I didn’t get much if any housework done. This means I am waging an on-going battle with my beloved daughter to remove her things from my home and formally place them in her home.Sounds simple but it’s not, this war is fraught with heavy baggage, both literally and figuratively, on both sides.The only reason I am winning said battle is because my son-in-law came to my house without her recently and, upon finding the ever-so-thoughtful ‘list’ I’d left on my kitchen counter, proceeded to follow directions.This means he actually took everything I put on the list.I know, right?Amazing.He is so getting ten boxes of junky breakfast cereal for this.
My daughter is not good at taking direction, at least not from me.She’s fine with it in every other aspect of her life however.This is why when my son-in-law asked which set of ski boots and skis were mine versus his wife’s, I nearly did a back flip. It was just too good to be true.
“He’s taking the skis!!!!” I excitedly texted my BFF the news.She is following this skirmish of wills with a bemused and humorous attitude.She was thrilled however, that my son-in-law also picked up the furniture she was giving them so she could get rid of the storage unit she and her husband had rented since her beloved mother’s death last fall.From the standpoint of getting rid of things, she knows my pain as she is also in full spring cleaning mode.
“I don’t want to hear it,” she said when I called to report that everything was indeed gone from “The List”.“Your home is totally organized and beyondclean for God’s sake, you don’t even have any junk.”
True enough, at least compared to all the packrats in my life.My BFF is actually a founding member.For myself, I am certainly guilty of having way too many books.Don’t judge me, I can quit anytime I want.
Books aside, I believe so deeply in living ‘green’ that I never want to just throw away something that is perfectly serviceable and useable, I want someone else to get some use out of it.That is why I am gifting my backyard tool shed to my wonderful hairdresser, the lovely lady who cut my hair so many times before and during chemotherapy.We have been through it, Gina and I.Why I thought I ever needed a tool shed in my postage stamp sized backyard is beyond me but I never did and still don’t.Gina needs one however and being a W.O.A., Woman of Action, the very day I texted her about taking it, she called to arrange to come and pick it up.No languishing or dallying for that girl.I am now not so secretly plotting to talk her into taking a lovely old roll top desk as well.Her adventuresome three-year-old son could totally use it as an indoor jungle gym. I’ve seen that kid in action so I know little Brashear can repel down the side of a six story building like a fire fighter saving a litter of Saint Bernard puppies.
I have a sibling who went through a prolonged if not astonishing phase of telling anyone who would listen (precious few admittedly) that my house was, ‘filthy’ and ‘cluttered’.Imagine my nieces and nephews’ collective shock when they would show up upon occasion and find my home was, in their own words, immaculate. They were always confused about the generally tidy state of my home especially when I would tell them that by my standards the place could use a good cleaning.It goes without saying that another sibling won’t so much as even cross the threshold of the first sibling’s home; we think shrinks call it projecting or something.I once tried to get the Clean House crew to tackle the guilty sibling’s house. I filled out the forms on line and everything.They declined.You can see where I am going with this. Yes, there is always Hoarders, one of the scarier shows on television actually.
Meanwhile, I continue to keep to my own backyard so to speak and worry about the state of my own home.I am the only person I know who gives her tiled entryway and kitchen floor a good clean by boiling it.Well, by pouring boiling hot water on it to be more precise.Hint to ambitious homemakers: don’t try this one at home folks; at least not with kids or pets around and not a good idea unless you have the thick, enduring Italian tiles I have as flooring and only if you are very coordinated.The trick is to pour a small amount of boiling hot water on 2 by 2 foot square and mop it up after a minute or so before moving on to the next section.This is what I do to keep my floor pristine clean and that’s not easy given that Claudia The Baby’s strategy for letting me know that she’s done with eating is to throw whatever is left in front of her onto the floor.The dog knows this.
I learned when I went through chemo just how important really clean can be.Those clean habits stuck with me and this is probably why I still clean the floor this way, at least a couple of times a year and most especially during Spring Cleaning. I keep the rest of the house clean as well and as I have told my BFF, this is a huge difference between a home that is cluttered and one that is not clean.Clean implies no dust or dirt, shining, dusted and wiped with disinfectant; cluttered is simply having too much stuff.I aim for clean AND not cluttered because clutter also does double duty by attracting dirt and dust. And then you end up having a lot of stuff to clean.
I cleared out and reorganized my entire kitchen pantry including laying new shelving paper.This is likely not earth shattering news but I emailed my BFF the accomplishment anyway because I often do things like that to her. Poke, poke.I was frankly shocked to discover that I will not need to buy any pantry essentials for oh, say, the next three or so years.That and canned goods expire a lot sooner than I thought.Even so, my pantry is now the envy of any random Food Network celebrity chef.Tidy, tidy, tidy.I suspect that having felt so out of control when fighting cancer makes me want to control what I can now and since I can somewhat control my environment, I am aiming for really organized and super clean. The office is next. This should prove a bit easier since Claudia The Baby does not throw food on the floor in that room though she’s been known to hurl her bottle across the room when I try and put her down for a nap in there.She has an impressive throwing arm for a 19 month old.I should let the Phillies know this very soon.
Then there is the freezer in the garage which, now that my daughter has moved out with her family, may actually prove useful. Once I figure out what is actually in there of course. Right now it just looks like Antarctica during a really bad snow storm. Lots of ice and frosty chill but you really can’t see anything important.
And I can’t wait until I divide up all the holiday decorations and deliver the lion’s share to my daughter.This should afford me even more room in the garage.She knows I’m plotting this.I know this because she keeps asking me not to bring her anything.How cute is that.
Now if only I can find a way to persuade her take some of the books I need to unload.