Monitor Board of Contributors: I’d rather do my spring cleaning outside in the spring air
We just adopted a new cat. She is rather skittish and has spent a lot of time under the couch and behind the washing machine as our old cat attempts to make friends. Or kill her. I’m not sure, as I don’t speak Cat.
Because she is so skittish, I have not vacuumed. After all, I want her to relax in her new home. It would be inhumane to scare the poor thing.
Okay, fine. The cat is just one more excuse not to clean my house. Ironically, she is also the reason I am now reconsidering.
When the new cat hides under the furniture and behind the appliances, I feel obliged to check on her. I lie on the floor to lift up the skirt on the couch, getting abrasions on my face from all the sand on the rug. After leaning over the washing machine, I find lines of dust on my clothing and spider webs in my hair.
Such is the state of my house. It is time to clean.
Who came up with the concept of “spring cleaning?” Does it make any sense to stay inside breathing in well-aged dust bunnies when one can be outside sniffing more potent allergens, like pollen? Is there any point to mopping up mud when the dirt roads leading to my house will not dry out till August?
A couple weeks ago, daffodils bloomed outside my front door. I could barely see them, though. It’s been a while since I washed my windows. We haven’t had a dog since 2006, but there are nose smudges at about knee level on our sliding glass doors.
I have tried washing my own windows. I take off all the grills and lean them against the furniture. Having exerted so much energy, I then go have a snack or go grocery shopping or drive to Vermont for the weekend.
Days or weeks later, the windows are still dirty and the grills are just part of the décor. When you hang mismatched socks on them, they’re art.
Eventually, I realize I must either scrub the bathtubs, get the dead flies out of the light fixtures, or clean the windows, so I get back to the windows. After I almost break the first “EZ-tip” sash, I manage to clean the inside of the panes. A streak here, a bit of paper towel there, but the azalea bush comes into focus.
For the outside, I attach a bottle of cleaner to the hose, stand back and spray. A cascade of dead hornets flows down the side of my house from behind the shutters. The soapy water helps, yet I still have to balance on a stepladder, which is straddling the rhododendron, and scrub a spot where my window was apparently in the flight path of a small bird.
I once hired a company to clean my first-floor windows. They did a fantastic job. In a couple hours, the glass literally sparkled. Not one bit of dead insect or pancake batter (don’t ask) or sticker residue was left. I felt guilty at the indulgence, though, and until I contribute more to our household income or win the lottery (which apparently requires buying lottery tickets), I feel obligated to do it myself.
The truth is, I’d rather be outside. I’d rather be cleaning dead bugs from the pool filter than my window sills. My yard is typically well-kept and while I wouldn’t eat off the floor off my horses’ stalls, at least they aren’t sticky.
Those dust bunnies I’ve been breeding aren’t hurting anyone. Maybe last year’s dead ladybugs will discourage the next crop from vacationing at my house.
As for the sand on the floor? Well, I probably should get that up before it accumulates enough to function as a litter box. I don’t want to confuse the new cat.
(Melissa Jones lives in Hopkinton.)