Finding it a little difficult to slow down. Friday was anxious because we thought the new carpet had faults in it - there were pale lines across it at regular intervals, and I was in despair at the thought of having it all pulled up again. When The Carpet Man eventually arrived he assured us it was normal compression marks for a wool carpet that had been stored at the bottom of a pile of carpeting - they will go away soon. Oh, the relief! The Man is having Discussions with the tile company who don't want to take back the extra tiles from the bathroom that they said they would take back... the ordinary annoyances of a building project. But all that stress has to be directed somewhere, and yesterday that was cleaning projects that I have been meaning to get to for Quite Some Time.
That meant tackling the months of accumulated grime on the range hood, and cleaning out the filters underneath it. The part about cleaning that I quite like is how easy it is once you actually start. Tackling big cleaning projects is my personal bogeyman, much more painful in the anticipation than the execution. The filters went into a sink of warm soapy water to soak, and the fan casing inside, well, it was appalling, covered in awful greasy gunk (do I cook with all that fat really?), however it came off really easily. My method for cleaning is start with a damp cloth and work up from there in the arsenal of cleaners - water, the universal solvent - does the trick surprisingly often. I used a tiny amount of dishwashing detergent on the fan casing though, figuring it is designed to break down fats.
I used a damp cloth dipped in bicarb soda for the range hood. I know from past experiments that bicarb is a miracle worker on stainless steel, and it did just cut through those vile layers of grease and grimy dust just like those miracle cleaning ads, only bicarb actually works, and I've never seen it on TV! While I was at it, I tried the bicarb on a streak of nail polish that some bad child had left on a drawer, and also on the black scuff marks left by school shoes on the white breakfast bar. Success on both counts. I know it's been said before in many places, but bicarb really is the hero of the cleaning cupboard. And it's invaluable because it doesn't scratch shiny surfaces like my glossy new kitchen. And I can buy it in bulk for a couple of dollars a kilo from my local wholefood shop. Love it!
Of course, while I was standing on a ladder I realised how dirty the top storey cupboards were, so cleaned them too, and then I saw the top of the blinds, oh my, a project for another day. I think this week I will just stand on a ladder and clean everything above head height all over the house. I noticed the top of the bathroom walls were going mouldy the other day. It is troublesome to be short. On the other hand, not being able to reach the ceilings even from the top of the step ladder makes it necessary for Someone Else to clean them. Not all sunshine and lollipops being tall either, then.
So I finished yesterday with a shiny clean kitchen, even washed the windows while the range hood filters dried. I do feel a little bad sometimes about all the new and unsustainable materials we have used to fix up our house, although we have tried to be reasonably responsible in our choices. Having done that though, I do feel that we now have a responsibility to look after what we have, and make it last a long, long time. All those plastic-wrapped cupboards and steel appliances are an investment, both financially, and in the capital resources of the planet, and I intend to make them last with maintenance and care.
Eventually though, there comes a moment when cleaning becomes an impossibility due to sunshine and the garden. I went outside and weeded and transplanted tiny parsley seedlings from where they have self sown to where I want them to grow, and Posy sat in the apple tree and made me play 'I Spy'.
Tired, but determinedly cheerful mother of four. One grown up son (The Boy), one grown up daughter (The Girl), two girls at home, Rosy (16) and Posy (11). Trying to buy a little less, make a little more, live a little lighter, not mess up the children too much..