Spring Cleaning

“Dear Karen,

I’m so happy spring is in the air—I’m even looking forward to spring cleaning! At Home Made Simple this month, we’re enjoying the burst of energy and inspiration—and we hope you are, too.

Best Wishes, Julie B.”

And so begins another highly personal, newsy email from my overflowing inbox.  It was in good company with other personal notes from Staples, MasterCard, Parade Magazine, a knitting newsletter and Dudu Bensen, the Personal Assistant to the Late Congo President, Lurent Kabila, who “is writing to me because of the need for a trusted and honest person, with whom he can entrust the sum of US$62,800,000.”

But back to my close friend Julie B.  Last month she gave me tips on cleaning out my refrigerator. “First, unplug the unit and remove every single item from inside the refrigerator and freezer. You’ll need to find a place to keep everything cold for a few hours.”  I got as far as prying the orange juice pitcher off the shelf with a paint scraper before reaching for the Chardonnay. It was easier to drink it now then figure out a place to keep it for the next few hours.

Halfway through my first glass, I decided the refrigerator could wait.  Not too many people actually see the inside of it anyhow, since I’ve yet to replace the broken bulb.  The common areas of my house, where I’ve replaced all the bulbs with the highest wattage possible, (those remote control buttons keep getting smaller) are another story.  And while I can’t say I share Julie B’s burst of Spring Inspiration, I did acquire a bad case of Motivation By Desperation.

I carried my glass of wine to the family room to open the blinds where I saw someone wrote in the dirt, “Set DVR for 9p.m. Sunday to record Hallmark movie.” Wait, I’m the only in this house who watches those Hallmark mov—never mind.  But I meant to say “dirt”, not “dust”.  And debris.  And splatters of unidentifiable goo.  What are those kids doing in this room?  And why did the dogs hide behind the couch when I reached for the blind?

This blind cleaning thing would not be a one step process.  First I had to vacuum the initial layer of dirt which revealed the finer layer of dirt plus caked-on goo.  Next came the bucket of hot sudsy water, 42 rags, stepladder and glass refill.

Two blinds and two hours later I had a bucket full of muddy water even our grass-eating-toilet-water-drinking dog wouldn’t touch. Now, no matter what state of upheaval the house would inevitably be in when he got home that night, I’d have tangible proof for my husband of my day’s efforts.

And I guess if Julie B’s perky emails help get me over my sense of Productive Day Guilt, she’s not so bad.

(© 2011 Karen Rinehart)

Karen Rinehart's columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Her website is KarenJRinehart.com.