time to start our annual Spring-cleaning. |
I realize it’s not officially
spring yet, but have you noticed that the official “seasons” of the calendar have
nothing to do with Texas and Texas weather. If it weren’t for the school calendar
(oh, it’s homecoming, must be fall), I wouldn’t even know what season we’re in.
What is it, late fall now?
Since I’ve broached the subject, I might as
well float my idea for an n accurate seasonal calendar for Texas. Summer runs
from March through October, post- summer is November and December, we’ll have
a three-day weekend in January for winter, and then February is pre-summer. Since
we spend most of the year sweating anyway, especially us fat guys, and all the
year mowing, we might as well just admit it’s always a varying degree of summer.
So, to be correct, it’s time for pre-summer cleaning, a very big deal around the
Gosselink household. The wife spends the entire three-day weekend of winter planning
our pre-summer cleaning. Late in the evening on that Sunday, she emerges from
the office with her long list of my cleaning chores. Marking the end of winter,
this event is kind of like our family’s Groundhog Day, except without the animal
cruelty and pasty guys in top hats.
Once this enumerated, prioritized,
and cross-referenced list is delivered to me, I do the first thing on my own unwritten
list, lose hers and come up with a good excuse. “Yeah, honey, I was just about
to start cleaning but I can’t find the list. I think I saw a grackle fly out the
window with it. It took your breakfast taco too. Yeah, you’re right, it was big
grackle, chicken sized, I’d say.” I love the grackle excuse. It works for pretty
After buying myself another cleaning free weekend while
she’s rewriting the list, I have to buck up and get to work. If I try to lose
the list twice, she then delivers it to me verbally as I’m cleaning, so it’s not
just work, it’s work with someone constantly yammering at you and giving helpful
hints about how to do it better. This increases the chore irritation factor tenfold.
just realized that this is one of those columns where the wife says she’s not
upset about me talking about our family business, but then mysteriously, my grilled
cheese sandwich, only mine mind you, turns up with one terribly blackened side,
and the remote disappears for three or four days with the station stuck on one
of those home decorating channels. I may need to have dinner at your house).
the cleaning begins, our responsibilities are divvied up according to skills and
abilities. I’m in charge of everything outside, everything that requires dumb
brute force, and anything you can’t train a monkey to do. The wife everything
else. The monkey rule is incredibly effective in projecting success rates.
Since it has rained 149 straight days this post-summer, the outdoor chores are
pretty intense. The last time I saw the dog, he was headed to the high grass in
the southeast corner of the yard. I hope he’s all right, but I’m not going in
Actually, the outdoor chores are pretty cool since most of
them include a loud machine that whacks stuff. After buying a lawnmower with a
cup holder, I look forward to mowing the yard. I defy you to name a more influential
invention than the lawnmower cup holder. How the guy who invented it didn’t get
the Nobel Prize is beyond me.
Sadly, outdoor chores only take a few days,
then I have to move into the house, the wife’s domain with all of her “rules”
and fixation with “common sense” and “doing things right.” This frame of mind
put an immediate kibosh on my “dusting with the leaf blower” plan.
she insists that we start at the top and work our way down in a logical, productive
manner, an approach that goes against my very nature. She’ll get me started doing
something useful like cleaning the ceiling corners of cobwebs, leave the room,
and then the fun starts.
Did you know that if you take the duster to a
sleeping cat’s whiskers, it will do this cool little jump and screech? Or if there
aren’t any actual cob webs to be dusted, if you sneak behind the clothes dryer
and cover the duster in lint, the wife will think you’ve been working really hard
and may even let you have a break. On the other hand, if she catches you, she
thinks your actually trying to be conscientious and a self-starter who decides
on his own to clean behind the dryer, thus causing more problems.
you get tagged with that “conscientious” thing, it’s nothing but higher expectations
and cleaning trouble.
The results of our first weekend of pre-summer cleaning
– one mowed and weed-eated yard, one angry cat, one kind of cleaned ceiling, one
dryer completely cleaned behind, and one slanderous attack of conscientiousness,
and one new accurate calendar. Pretty good start.
I still haven’t seen
© John Gosselink
24 , 2005 column