Kitchen: Day One: Oh, the zeal with which I zipped out of bed on Wednesday morning to start cleaning the kitchen! Before I began I removed every single item from the kitchen benches and piled it all onto the dining room table.
It looked like I had moved out.
But now I had an empty slate which I was about to turn into a clean slate. I started up high again - the down lights in the kitchen ceiling have screw-in glass shades with little chains to hold them onto the light fitting, and as I stood on the step-ladder directly underneath them I was showered with tiny dead bug bits, and in one case, a rather large dead cricket. Dubious design for functionality there..
Again, hours of cleaning the fly poop off the ceiling, then the grime from the tops of window frames and the kitchen blinds. Dish washing liquid is excellent for cleaning all of the kitchen - after all, it is designed to remove grease and dirt, a layer of which settles with great tenacity on every kitchen surface. Which is why I have no idea why open shelving in the kitchen is so popular - perhaps only in kitchens where the residents eat out a lot.
My favourite bathroom cleaner paste is brilliant for removing this grime layer from the stainless steel range hood, elsewhere, cupboards and benches require only soapy water and enthusiasm. Now, I have been experimenting recently with not using the dishwasher. I did this by deliberately running out of dishwasher powder, and not renewing it, otherwise it is just too tempting.. if I had had dish washer powder on the premises I would have used the dishwasher in a minute to clean the range hood filters, but as it was, I soaked and rinsed them in hot, soapy water, rinsed them and left them outside in the sunshine to dry. Not as hard as I thought it might be. Really, machines give an illusion of efficiency, but my two hands are quite capable as well...
While I am scrubbing the window frames with a toothbrush I conduct a spirited discussion on feminism with The Girl. Now, I am a feminist to my tippy toes, but in no way do I feel that this precludes a life of comfortable domesticity. In my mind, the feminist discourse provides me with the courage, the tools and the legal authority to say, "I am my own person, no-one owns me, or can make decisions for me, and I will be taking my share of the power and responsibility of being a full citizen in my community." In no way should feminism limit any of the ways in which I want to live my life, including the option to scrub the woodwork with a toothbrush, should that be my choice. I absolutely respect the choice of any woman who doesn't have a penchant for perfectly white woodwork either, or who chooses to pay someone else to keep them white. As long as she pays them a reasonable wage with good conditions..
At this point, I feel the need for a little nap coming on, and accidentally fall asleep over my book on the couch. The Girl boils some eggs for dinner, and makes Eton mess with home made coconut macaroons, home made lemon curd and whipped cream for dessert. She is a treasure, and I really think she should stay home and look after her old mother forever. She, however, is a feminist to her tippy toes, and has plans to be off to make a life on her own terms. Damn that dratted feminist discourse..
Kitchen: Day Two:
I wake up feeling like my freshly spring-cleaned house has just dropped on my head. Some days are like that. It is cold, grey and windy today. My interest in cleaning is less than zero percent, and I am having trouble standing up. I wash the dishes, wash some of the kitchen bench bits and bobs on the table, and put them away. Then I get to the toaster, and crumple at the knees. There is nothing in me that cares whether the toaster is clean, now, or ever. I thump it onto the kitchen bench, scattering crumbs, and go and lie on the couch for the rest of the day and read my book. Luckily I remember to pick up the girls from the airport, and The Girl from work. Rosy kindly makes dinner, Posy unpacks her entire suitcase all over the living room floor, all the better to gleefully show me every single piece of glitter and bling she has spent all her birthday money on whilst Away.
I go to bed with a hot water bottle.
Kitchen and Hallway: Day Three:
Sunshine! I wake up feeling better. Not great, but better. Today I wipe down the fronts of all the cabinets while listening to Radio National. Then I sit in the sun. Then I do some weeding. Sun, dirt, garden, bees. Make everything better. The girls have one of their buddies over. They cook, swing in the hammock, walk the dog, make sushi and fruit salad and brownies and play stupid games.
I dust the light fittings, door frames, ceiling and book case in the hallway, wipe down the walls. I decide that spring cleaning is over for this week. Sometimes I just need to calm down. I can go for weeks and months living with hand prints on the walls. Then suddenly I need to clean the whole house in a matter of days?? It's like I am a mad perfectionist, but only at the full moon with Gemini rising..
Instead I go out in the sun and weed around my courtyard hedges (Chilean guava, yum), feed and mulch them, and fork over and feed some vegie garden space that I will plant up in a couple of weeks. I am still a bit manic, but working in the sun with the dog curled up next to me is very therapeutic.
I am so glad I have spent several days madly cleaning. My future self will love me for it. I am so glad I have stopped for now. I need a week end..
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..