The joy of cleaning

posted by Josh Conley

032913dev-featureI say I feel like I should start this whole post with a massive disclaimer that as far as general cleanliness, we are not the whitest shirts in the closet, so to speak. You don’t have to look very hard around our place to see the proverbial ring around the collar and pit stains. We’re not afraid of germs, we don’t own any hand sanitizer and we have a fairly liberal policy toward transient dust bunnies.

Yet, paradoxically, one of our new hobbies around here is cleaning. Yes, I said hobby. I’m not talking about picking up toys, wiping down high chairs and scrubbing out bottles—that’s routine stuff. I’m talking about the unbridled joy that can only come from mopping and vacuuming and toothbrush detailing. Let me explain.

There are two types of cleaning in this house. The first is the Angry Clean, which happens when we get upset with A) the kids, B) each other or C) both. Example: You got to sleep in this morning AND go to the gym and now you want to take a shower? Well guess what, now I’M going to DUST THESE BASEBOARDS, BUDDY!! Yeahhhh. And don’t try and stop me!

It’s childish, I know; usually happens when the balance gets out of whack, and the martyr of the day takes another one for the team. Of course, it secretly serves as a time-out for Mommy or Daddy as well. Sorry, it is physically impossible for me to soak a crusty onesie right now; I’m DOING THE DISHES! It’s like those Choose Your Own Adventure books, except you never find the treasure.

But the second type of cleaning is the one I want to talk about, and that’s the good stuff. The scrubbing. The polishing. The buffing and waxing. The stuff you can only do when you have the place to yourself. One of these rare occasions fell into my lap last Saturday and it was like being whisked away to an isle of paradise, if only for a couple hours. An isle complete with hot, soapy water and deep-cleaning toilet scrubs. Man, it was good.

I started with a little dishwashing. Really laid the liquid on thick. Massaged those slotted plastic spoons, got in between the tines of each fork. Squeezed a bubble bath into the frying pan and gently coaxed the egg whites from its edges. I wiped the counters down, then the fronts of the cabinets. Tended to the needs of the oven.

Then I got the broom and set to exfoliating the floors, softly scooping the dirt piles into the dustpan. One at a time, every room in the house, in no particular order, in no particular hurry. Then I mopped the kitchen, one tile at a time, lovingly, bringing it to a near-blinding gleam. And then I hit the bathroom.

Absolutely coated the mirror in Windex, wiped away the spots and splash marks. Sprayed down the silver spigot and tap handles and brought them to a new-quarter shine. Got in the cranny behind the fixture with a scrub brush, then hosed down the sink and gave it an ivory sheen. Then I set to the toilet, outside then in, till it glowed like the North Star. It was phenomenal.

I’m not quite sure why this entire experience was so gratifying. Maybe I really do love being clean. Maybe it was the unending quiet hanging in the air. Maybe it was the fact I could put my headphones on. Or maybe I just need to get a hobby. But whatever the case, who knew cleaning could be so great?

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