Over the last month, I have been slowly moving our stuff from the old house to the new. But I have to be honest, after we got the rudiments of our existence installed in the new house and began sleeping there, I didn't want to go back to the old house. Ever. I didn't want to haul all that stuff (where on earth did it come from?) here and clutter up a house that was virtually empty of all but the essentials. I didn't want to attempt the seemingly futile task of cleaning up behind us. In the year we lived there, all the cleaning in the world didn't seem to put a dent in the dust bunny population or the grime that just seemed to appear out of nowhere.
So with most of the stuff out of there, I was facing the grim task of trying to make the house presentable once more for prospective buyers coming to look for our landlord's best deal. A hopeless task.
However, I was brought up to do the right thing, and to do it to the best of my ability, so I steeled myself to go and clean. I was telling my mother just how much I was looking forward to the deed when she volunteered to come and help.
Yes, my mom is crazy like that.
Between us, we put in about 56 hours of hard labor. Mom cleaned the kitchen, and I cleaned everything else and hauled stuff out of the house.
Cleaning is an oddly satisfying thing to do. I used to clean houses to earn extra money and I was very good at it. But the thing I liked best was finishing. Having taken a total mess and rendered order and sparkle and dead germs, I could close the door like a period on a sentence and pretend that it would stay that way forever and ever. Of course it never did, which is what kept the spare change rolling in. There's also a zen-factor. You can fill your brain with thoughts or you can empty it and the result is the same - shining toasters.
But Mom? I believe she had an ulterior motive. A few months ago, she attended a day-long workshop on making your environment greener. As in less polluted. One of the workshops was Cleaning Green, where you got recipes for making your own cleaning products. Add to this her recent obsession (according to Dad) with a program on BBC America called "How Clean is Your House" and you've got a cleaning dervish on your hands. The house was her big experiment.
But I have to say, the results were magnificent. That kitchen never had it so good.
I always wished I'd gotten around to painting the kitchen, but it was a daunting task that I just didn't have time to do. Painting would have involved scrubbing the walls, which were absolutely COATED with nicotine. Having been a fairly recent ex-smoker, the very thought of scrubbing that gunk and the associated smell put me off it. Mom, with her magical potion, made short work of the walls, which brightened the whole room. And look at how the cabinets glow!!! Those also wore the smoky coating.
I must say it now - my mom may be crazy for volunteering for this torture, but she is crazy like a fox! The knowledge she stores in her head is absolutely amazing.
My efforts. Not as shiny, but lots of elbow grease went in here too!
AND FINALLY, WE ARE DONE WITH THAT HOUSE!!!!