The cleaning was the hardest part

A goes to B, and B goes to C

The cleaning was the hardest part when I was preparing to hold my near-annual hearts card game on Saturday, March 2. My wife talked about vacuuming the living and dining room floors. But from my point of view, I needed to take another tactic first.

The first point of attack was to figure out what were in the four bins that took root on the second-floor landing. Two were my wife’s stuff so that I could ignore them. The third contained miscellany from theater programs to the bulletins from funerals, plus pens, coins, and newspapers too old to bother to read, among other things.

The next bin contained clothes I could not fit into when I put them there. But since I lost a bit of weight in 2022, most of them now fit! But where would I put them?

Sans closet

Here’s the saga of my ever-shrinking closet space. When we first bought the house in 2000, my clothes were in a closet in the smaller spare bedroom. But a few years later, that room was renovated to become our daughter’s room. My wife acquired an armoire for me; it was never adequate, especially when the clothing racks in the attic collapsed. Since 2019, that room has become my wife’s office, as my daughter had moved into the guest room.

So, where will I put all those new old clothes? I asked my wife if she would remove her clothes from the armoire side panel. She said that they were my apparel, and she was correct. But there were boxes of eye care medicine that WERE my wife’s, all from 2021 and thus expired. There were also her jewelry boxes. With these gone, I was able to squeeze some clothes in.

But this was not enough. I needed to deal with – oh, the horror – my JUNK DRAWER! Specifically, the top drawer of my dresser. I found enough loose change to take someone out for dinner. Sample-sized toiletries are now on a box atop the armoire. I also had expired meds and enough other crap I could dispose of that I could put my socks and underwear in that section, making room for more T-shirts below. I have a LOT of T-shirts.

(In case you were worried about it, we’re not throwing away the expired meds but rather taking them to a pharmacy with a bin designated for disposal.)


Now, I can go down to the first floor and tackle those boxes in the dining room. I found our 2022 tax filing and a bunch of mail, some unread, from about a year ago.  Some family friend of my wife’s had given us some coins; I don’t know if they are of any value, but they don’t need to be clogging that floor. By the end of the tedious process, everything was off the floor, some in the trash or recycling, the rest upstairs.

The bay windows still have a bunch of stuff in front of them. That was intentional. The cats had mauled the window treatments so badly that the boxes looked much better.

This process took about twelve hours, and frankly, it was exhausting. Thank goodness for lots of music. I cannot clean without music. My wife can listen to people talking on NPR, but I cannot. I need Tom Petty or Johnny Cash or George Harrison or movie soundtracks…

Our garbage gets picked up early Friday morning. By early Saturday morning, the large recycling bin, emptied 24 hours earlier, was full again.

THEN I vacuumed the floors, and we had a lovely time playing hearts, eating O’s lasagna, and solving the world’s problems.

Stormy weather, movie bingeing, last-minute cleaning

I went out to five movies in eight days.

My wife left me. So did my daughter. But they came back. They went, with other church people, to an Intergenerational Work Camp in Kinston, NC. They left on Saturday, July 21.

While the others started their return on the 28th, my family went instead to visit my “baby” sister Marcia and her daughter Alex in Charlotte. Then they visited my wife’s brother’s family in southeast Pennsylvania before returning to Albany Augudst 1.

This meant that I fed the cats, cleaned out the litter box, watered the plants, plus the usual stuff, such as taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn.

And shoveling the dirt off the sidewalk, which only happens after the sidewalk floods, and them the water recedes. Ever since the city “Fixed” the sidewalk a few years ago, this, along with patches of ice, has been a regular occurrence.

When we had severe weather on Friday, July 27, I was at work in the middle of the day. But except for one rumble of thunder, I was largely oblivious to the storm. I did note the massive tree branch, at least five meters long, that fell from our oak tree and somehow wedged onto the fence; I need a neighbor’s help to dislodge it.

In the next couple days I noted a number of other tree branches down in and around Washington Park, at the UU church, at our local police precinct, and elsewhere. Street lights only three blocks from me were out, though not the ones nearer to me.

No wonder people were calling and emailing to see if I ere all right. I was fine, really, though I got soaked riding my bike from the Colonie movie theater to the bus stop.

I was surprised to find that being home alone is not as fun as I remembered it from my single days. I did like going out with my friend Uthaclena one weekday evening, and seeing Janet Jackson at SPAC another night.

Still, I went out to five movies in eight days, four of them on weekends. I SUPPOSE it could mean that I missed my family, at least just a little.

I spent much of the Monday before their return picking up stuff. Who left that water bottle on the floor? Hmm, no one else to blame.

The New Dishwasher

I was REALLY BAD at health, and the cleanliness of the fingernails was largely what we were graded on.

Our previous dishwasher, which was only about eight years old, stopped working last month for no particular reason. So my wife has ordered a new machine. Meanwhile, the dishwasher, primarily, is me.

Initially, this bugged me somewhat. It was just one more thing in an already busy day. But as I thought about it, it really wasn’t taking more time than the machine. After all, we’d load the washer and then almost all of the items on the lower level would get clean, but only about half of the things on the top, so someone -usually me – had to rewash them anyway.

Besides, I rather like washing dishes. Maybe it’s the Pisces in me that loves the warm water.

And as I was cleaning them this past weekend, I flashed back to my childhood, when washing the dishes was my primary household task besides cleaning my room. I was, even then, very good at it. And it had other values.

Back in fourth grade, our teacher used to check our fingernails to see if they were clean; even then, I thought this was bizarre. Mine usually were untidy from playing in the dirt. And she would send reports home along with our grades; I was REALLY BAD at health, and the cleanliness of the fingernails was largely what we were graded on. BUT if I had the chance to wash the breakfast dishes, then my fingernails would be satisfactory.

Come check my nails; they are REALLY clean these days.

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