TIRE SHINE VS. THE KITCHEN TABLE
And Other Illusions
The summer rain storms haven’t started yet; the humidity can be low here in Florida . . . occasionally. It’s a beautiful time to be outdoors. So why is it also the time for the dreaded spring cleaning? I say “dreaded” because for me any kind of cleaning is dreaded. Cleaning is never ending, it gobbles up hours out of each week, and you just have to do it all over again, and again—and again.
Then the mom guilt sets in. Did I ever teach my kids about spring cleaning? Did I tell them that at least once a year you need to take down the drapes and have them cleaned? Clear out the refrigerator and the cabinets and the closets? Get rid of all the plastic containers without lids, the clothes that don’t fit, and the bottles of salad dressing that expired last winter? Did I explain to them about the baseboards and windows? Better yet, did I SHOW them how to do it? I really don’t remember.
At this point, I can only hope. And at this point, I still have to do the cleaning whether or not my kids do! It’s enough to worry about my own house. I can’t start worrying about theirs.
At one time I had a plan . . . a few years ago I had this really great idea . . . a way to skip the spring cleaning entirely. I’ll clean things when they are dirty, a little at a time. If I REALLY do this all year, I won’t have to do the spring cleaning, right? Great idea, right? It would have been if I actually did it. But (sigh!) springtime has rolled around again, and my windows are grimy, my fridge shelves are sticky, and I’ve hung on to all sizes and shapes of plastic containers with the hope I’ll find the lids!
In my reality, closets are used to hide all the stuff I don’t want to have laying around. The notion of cleaning them out, a little at a time, has long gone by the wayside. So, here’s my dilemma—do I sacrifice an entire weekend, maybe even two, due to my cleaning neglect and just do it? OR can I kick the can down the road a little longer and do something a lot more fun on my precious weekend? It’s so easy to think of fun things to do! I once heard that “when you’re gone, people will not remember if you had a clean house.” Morbid perhaps? I think not! I’m striving for the epitaph of “fun” or “cool” or maybe (do I dare say it out loud?) “a loving, generous woman of integrity.”
There is one area that makes a huge difference in the appearance of my house. The kitchen table. The kitchen table is the depository for everything as we walk in the house. When the kids were home the kitchen table was always covered with homework, science projects, half-full glasses of water. What was it with the half-full glasses of water? Not only were they on the kitchen table, but they congregated on every other side table and flat surface in the house!
But I digress . . . back to the kitchen table. When the kitchen table is clean and set with a nice centerpiece, the whole house looks clean. It is the best illusion I’ve ever discovered!
I was talking with my husband about this phenomenon, trying to enlist him in my efforts for cleanliness. He, of course, has his own opinion on how to make things look clean. We still have surprisingly traditional roles at home. He does the lawn care, the automobile care, the bathrooms (can I get a woo hoo!), and takes out the garbage. So his focus is on those areas. He pointed out that his discovery, which rivals mine, is tire shine. He says that when the tires are slick black and shiny the whole car looks clean and new!
“Eh, ok,” I say. Obviously the kitchen table is a much better example. We agreed to disagree, which is code for we both think we are right.
And so the debate continues—It is the kitchen table or the tire shine? What do you think?