A good spring cleaning: Is it too late or too early for that?

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well. I finally began my spring housecleaning. Do people still do that? Like, I mean, give the house a deep-down cleaning in the spring. Like sun all the quilts and pillows and beat the rugs and stuff like that. Well, anyway, once in a while the house has to be really, really cleaned. Like shampooing the carpet and scrubbing the porch.

The reason I am having to do this belated house cleaning at all was because one of the offspring called and said he is coming home for a surprise visit. He knows that it had better not be too much of a surprise or there won’t be anything to eat. Like his favorite food.

So, oh just drat! I have to clean house. When they come at their usual time, well the house is draped in red, white and blue, or harvest stuff, or Christmas decorations. Decorations cover a multitude of dirt. But, just drat, there’s not a holiday in sight. So.

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Shampooing the carpet is double work. Because before I can shampoo it, I have to vacuum it. Well, just crud. Both, vacuuming and shampooing require pushing this big, heavy, noisy machine around. But the good thing is, the dogs and cats don’t like the racket so they go far away. Sometimes if they don’t want to go outside and I want them to, they hide under the bed. Well, I just simply turn the vacuum cleaner on close to the bed. They head, very quickly, for the nearest door. But, I expect them any day now, while I still have the vacuum cleaner still running, to come home with their friend, the veterinarian, just to prove to him how mean I am to them.

But, anyway, I shampooed the carpet first, to get that heinous job done. And then as a reward, I got to scrub the porch. Now you know how I love washing the porch. You just put on some old clothes and turn on the water. The dogs and cats don’t like water, either, so I have the whole porch and water to myself. Except, once in a while a fly-around-thing, like a wasp, or horse fly, or something decides to play tag with me. I just turn the hose on him, full blast. Well, fly-around-things don’t like water, either. So he flies off, in a snit, and, once again, I have the porch and water to myself.

Man! The porch is so dirty, it looks like abandoned property. Crud blown in by every wind since I don’t know when. Which direction do those winds come from? The west? Well, I have most of the top soil from Louisiana and Mississippi deposited on my porch and furniture. Along with half the spiders and insects. The insects are now only skeletons trapped in the spiders’ webs.

Now, there’s a saying in the genteel south, “Mules sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow.” Well, let me tell you, this stuff dripping off my chin is definitely not ‘glow’ and it’s not perspiration. And it’s definitely not water from the hose.

And wouldn’t you know it. Wouldn’t you just know it! Right on cue, up drives Ima perfect. And she’s glowing. Not from the heat. But because she’s been shopping at a ritzy store that is going out of business. “Oh, Crud! I found so many bargains; I did all my Christmas shipping. And I’m so glad to see that you’re doing your holiday cleaning early.” For crying out loud, it’s the middle of summer!

Hubby, in his consoling, understanding, placating way, tried to calm me down. “Why are you getting into such an uproar? You raised him; he has seen the house in its natural state before.”

Yeah, but I always told him that he did it.

Madoline Thurn is a weekly columnist for The Times.