Every fall, I do as my mother did and scrub this house until it squeaks. I don’t do as thorough a job as she did, but I give fall cleaning a pretty good try.
Mom washed windows. Check.
Washed and ironed curtains. Check.
Scrubbed screens with soapy water and hosed them off. Check. (I miss my boys, who long ago flew the coop, and I suspect they wanted to move away so they didn’t have to scrub those screens.)
I swept the ceiling for cobwebs. But I don’t wash down the walls. Mom used to have a neighbor come over for wall washing. They’d visit while they worked at our house, then a few days later, they’d tackle the neighbor’s house and in that way have fun while they worked.
I listen to books on my iPhone while I work. With ear buds in, I’ve been listening to Pride and Prejudice today while I washed inside windows. I cleaned blinds last week to Laurie R. King’s The Bones of Paris. Before that I heard Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies while I cleaned the screened-in porch. I take that back. I listened to Brooklyn Follies while I scrapped and painted the carport.
Before you get the wrong idea, I don’t like cleaning. But I do like books, so I make the annual fall process as painless as I can.
What I really like are clean windows. One January I was hosting the Drama Group here, and I was cleaning the place before those old gals came. The day before the meeting, we had a 45-degree sunny day. I took advantage of it and washed windows outside. We have huge windows, and I use a squeegee and wide scrubbing brush on long poles, like a professional window cleaner does, so it really doesn’t take me too long to do the windows.
Drama Group was cancelled because the sunny day was followed by snow the next morning, and it was a glorious feeling to have a clean house, look out clean windows at huge falling flakes, and be totally alone. I read a book, glancing occasionally at the snow with a big smile.
Today when my webmaster (my son Morgan) texted “No essay,” I panicked. I always put a new essay up on my site the first of the month. And I do not miss writing deadlines. Well, I haven’t missed one so far, and I’m not going to start with an essay that I write for myself.
So, here it is. I wrote what I’ve been doing the last two weeks. (I’m not as fast at this cleaning business as I used to be.)
If you have the time and are in my neck of the woods, come on by. I’ll fix tea and cookies, and we’ll sit and look out my clean windows. Or if you’d rather, I can get you a clean rag and we’ll wash the walls as we talk.