Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 30, 2006

Never look up

When husband Art and our girls decided to take a trip recently, I opted to stay home. I had promised my mother I'd take her to a class reunion the weekend they left on their trip and I also thought it would be good for him and the girls to have some father-daughter bonding. Besides, I had never had the house to myself for an extended period and I knew it would be good for my soul to have some quiet time.

My friends were envious. "Wow, you can just kick up your heels and do whatever you want for a whole week!" one said. "You can eat when you want, sleep when you want and make your own schedule without others putting demands on you."

But when I told them I was going to spend the time "spring cleaning," their attitude changed. They thought I had lost my mind.

But I never seem to get to certain chores with a houseful of people bustling around and I was actually looking forward to getting them done.

My grandmother Ethel made daily rounds of her home with her feather duster. My mother dusted her furniture once a week. Maybe there's a pattern there because I'm lucky if I get to that job once a month!

Regardless, I knew for sure I'd have a couple of layers of dust to remove. But I wanted to go deeper than that.

First, I decided to wash the curtains in our bedrooms. I took them off the rods and threw them in the washing machine. With no material draping the windows, I saw how dirty the blinds were. So I took them down and cleaned them in the bathtub. Once I removed the blinds, I noticed cobwebs in the corners of the window frames. Out came the window cleaner.

Then I looked up. The ceiling fan blades were dusty. I wasn't going to have the fan whirring dust all over my newly-cleaned windows, so I pulled out the step stool, positioned it under the fan and gently reached up to wipe the blades.

That's when I came face to face with the light fixture. From this angle, I could see tiny dead spiders with curled up legs. I unscrewed the globe and took it down. I tapped the little corpses into the trash, washed and wiped the globe and replaced it. Of course, this meant doing the same thing with the ceiling fans in the other bedrooms.

And so it went.

Once I cleaned all those things, the dust had settled on the furniture and floor. Time to get out the dust rag and vacuum cleaner.

But first I had to de-clutter the dressers, night stands, cabinets and floor. As I started that process, I found books that had been lost under the dust and clutter - several were on how to de-clutter your home. There was Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui, The One-Minute Organizer, The Idiot's Guide to Organizing your Life, Organizing from the Inside Out, Sharing a Place Without Losing Your Space and The Only Clutter Control Book You'll Ever Need. Ha - obviously not!

Maybe I am nutty, but my home-alone time wasn't such a bad thing. I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor. Maybe now I should make daily rounds with a feather duster - as my Grandma Ethel did. Then I wouldn't have such a frenzied approach to cleaning.

Or not! The next time I get the urge to deep clean, I think I'll just take the advice of my Aunt Edith.

"Never look up," she warned. "Once you do, you can't stop."

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