Dorothy Cannell : My 2014 New Year’s resolution was to get dug into 2013’s spring cleaning. Several years ago I read or heard that the best way to preserve wood furniture was to paste wax it once a year and in between dust as needed. I used this method once using Johnson’s lavender wax (as my mother had done) and the whole house smelled lovely. But then I discovered this product had been discontinued and the heart went out of it for me. No other wax scent would take me back to my childhood. Also, my husband has an enthusiasm for picking up a can of Pledge and squirting at random. I suppose it’s that little boy with the water pistol thing, which broke the rule and undid all of the three-day hard work. (Okay, a lot of tea breaks.) So that was the end of the annual paste waxing.
His passion for certain household cleaning products should be legendary. In all our years of marriage I have never seen him return from the grocery store without a sensation of trepidation, if not doom. And too often it is as I feared. With a magician’s flourish he will produce from the bag a giant sized bottle of Pinesol (or three regular) accompanied by the words: “You didn’t say we’re out, but we can always use it!” Not really, I think, seeing we already have sixteen bottles in the cabinet under the sink, but at least it isn’t Comet cleanser of which we have enough to scour sinks for an entire city.
I admit here, before every woman in the world hates me, that there are pluses to having a husband to take on the job of pushing a cart up and down aisles searching out items carefully hidden by management in an attempt to turn a chore into a game. It would be even better if he did the putting away after unloading on the kitchen counter, but from his blank stare it becomes obvious he’s a man lost in a wilderness.
Back to spring cleaning. Denied the fulfillment of polishing I didn’t sanitize and scrub anything that didn’t move. On a day early in January when said husband was off playing bridge I cleared out not only the cabinet under the sink, but also the one in the laundry room and two in the basement. With four filled boxes disposed of, it dawned on me that I had worked myself to a standstill. I’d have to wait to dig into cleaning until supplies were replenished. Still, I was left with a sense of fulfillment. I pictured the inscription on my tombstone. ‘She hoarded not earthly treasures.’
My next endeavor in this regard was to admit my own frailty when it came to purchases that never got their lids opened and clear them out of the bathroom. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but with me it’s face products advertised on T.V. as wrinkle removers, eyelid lifters, jaw and neck firmers, promising to make me look ten years younger in a week. My imagination briefly gets the better of me, but when it comes to the bother of cutting away the rigid plastic covering, let alone slapping it on, I find myself saying ‘tomorrow … next week …next life.’
Awash with the freedom that comes with de-cluttering, I decided I would embark on culling the bookshelves. That was still early January. As of today I have set aside three books to go the The Y where they have a ‘help yourself’ table and two to go the library. I have also re-read (and, yes – replaced) on the shelves all my Agatha Christie books, several Rex Stouts, and am presently dug into Fallen into the Pit by Ellis Peters. With time marching on and a deadline in view for what I am now writing, I’ll have to put off spring cleaning until the fall of 2015.
So far the purging of the Pinesol has not been discovered, but there is always the possibility the police will be summoned to investigate and no product on hand to remove fingerprints from cabinet doors.