Housekeeping

Next chapter: Goal: Do better than “light” housekeeping | News

If you’re passionate about spring cleaning, ready to mix up that perfect mixture of vinegar and water to make those windows shine, if you can’t wait to tidy up the landscaping or clean up your woodwork, you have my admiration.

It’s my second spring as a retiree, and my house could use a little sprucing up, my landscaping a little tidying up, my woodwork a scrubbing.

I let light housekeeping become a permanent state. In fact, using the word “light” as a descriptor is more aspiration than reality.

Not what I thought that era would be like. I figured with all this time in the house and the kids out of the house for a few years now, our house would look like a bed and breakfast foyer, but somehow , I found other priorities than making that happen.

Like regularly hanging out in your pajamas until noon.

It’s not that I can’t clean in my pajamas. I’m just lazy. But also, my mind is as nimble as possible in the morning. It’s when I catch up on my emails, work on book scheduling and advertising, and come up with my best ideas — the ones that seem less than exceptional in the afternoon.

Since retiring seven years ago, Brian has done the vacuuming and most of the laundry, except for what I call the “specialty” loads. It’s the clothes with delicate fabrics and gross stains that require the kind of TLC that Brian won’t provide. He prefers to collect all the dirty clothes and stuff them into the machine.

He’s the Bobby Knight of laundry. No matter the fabric, stains or colors, dirty clothes are all meant to weigh heavy. Then he turns up the heat in the dryer.

Brian is gruff with our laundry and makes no exceptions for fabrics that need a little more encouragement to be clean than, say, poly-blends. It’s like he’s lecturing on sweatshirts and dress pants, church clothes and underwear. “You will all get along. That goes for you lightweights. And for you with special instructions on your labels – keep dreaming. Nobody’s a VIP in this loadout, got it? »

That’s why I take some things out before he gets there. You know, the delicates and hand-washable ones that need a little help. Some of us need more practical support than others. Call me the good laundry cop at his bad.

But dust off? Brian doesn’t dust. I’m not very good at making beds unless someone comes. If so, this is the game, with piles of dressy pillows meant to spruce up ordinary beds.

Today I surprised myself. I took some of my usual morning writing time to thoroughly clean the fridge and freezer, as well as reline the fridge shelves with plastic to spruce up the aging surfaces.

Martha Stewart would be horrified to see what I had in there to throw away. It was equivalent to a kitchen garbage bag full of bulky containers and overgrown food scraps. But the end result is absolutely beautiful: pretty bowls of oranges and apples; the cheeses are all lined up in their drawer with the cheese sticks neatly separated from their perforations for easy grip.

Even the potatoes lie comfortably in single file in their mesh bag with a suite, uh, drawer to themselves.

We can even see what’s in the freezer by looking at puzzle pieces of partial bags of fries and tater tots, fuzzy frozen strawberries, and cartons of low-calorie frozen dinners.

When I finished, I needed a nap. It was 9 a.m.

But I have to sweep and mop the floors, dress the kitchen and dining room tables with tablecloths and centerpieces. After all, it’s Saturday, and the ladies from the church are coming tomorrow for a dinner meeting.

I keep opening and closing the fridge door for inspiration, and to remind myself that I can do it! What happened to the lady who wanted to open a B&B nine years ago when she wrote her first book?

I don’t know why I became so, shall we say, relaxed about housekeeping. I always thought I would accomplish a lot if only I had the time. But 15 months after my retirement, I now know that now is not the time. There are just other things I would rather do.

Like writing this column.

It’s time to get back to it and destroy this kitchen. Then I have to make sure I have everything put away for Christmas. It’s almost Easter.

Donna Cronk, retired Courier-Times Neighbors editor, writes Next Chapter for the weekend’s second and fourth editions. She is the author of the 2022 memoir, “There’s a Clydesdale in the Attic: Thoughts on Holding On and Letting Go”. It is available on Amazon and from the author. Connect with her at [email protected]

Donna Cronk, retired Courier-Times Neighbors editor, writes Next Chapter for the weekend’s second and fourth editions. She is the author of the 2022 memoir, “There’s a Clydesdale in the Attic: Thoughts on Holding On and Letting Go”. It is available on Amazon and from the author. Connect with her at [email protected]