Archive for January 24th, 2011

Monday is washday

Dawn at the Havens:

Dusk the same day:

Yeah, maybe Monday is washday according to the old ditty, but in this household pretty much every day is washday.   I almost never have an “ironing day” which I believe is Tuesday according to the traditional list.  I dispensed with ironing long ago as pretty much unnecessary.

Anyway, yesterday, what ever other day it was, was “Clean-the-kitchen-floor Day.” For some mystical reason the definition “kitchen floor” includes the utility room floor for cleaning purposes, probably because it is covered with the same flooring.   I was moved to contemplate the necessity for establishing this Day by the fact that our new coffee pot has a disconcerting habit of dribbling from the basket when you are carrying it to the compost bucket to empty out the old grounds in a way the old one never did.   I had actually seen fit to verbally notice the phenomenon of coffee draped all over the utility room floor, which of course made my poor husband uncomfortable.  Then I went out to  fill the bird feeders and in the process found it necessary to clean the bird bath and fill it with fresh water.

After I had gone back and forth from the kitchen sink to the snowy/slushy/muddy yard about three times in my rubber boots, the coffee was the least of that floor’s troubles.  As I mused on the state of the floors, having said to myself “It wasn’t that long since I mopped this!” I realized upon further reflection that the last time the mop was applied to the linoleum was about three weeks ago, so no wonder the danged floor was just one big footprint.

I got busy.  As I swept the floors, I started thinking about what a ritual of cleansing and putting to order this activity was.   I remember Starhawk talking about kitchen witches and how our ordinary tools become powerful tools of ritual.   There’s a very good reason that witches are associated with brooms, and cleaning, and establishing order and boundaries.

So I started getting into the ritualistic aspect of cleaning my floor and the space in and around it.   The pile I was sweeping into the center of the room in a spiral dance with my broom was composed of all sorts of interesting bits including sesame seeds, little bits of fluff, crumbs of cheese and bread, onion pieces, carrot skins, bone shards (courtesy of Ruby), the occasional raisin, pieces of wood, and lots of dirt.   I found myself musing about the scientist who had studied common household dust and found it to be composed mostly of spider exoskeleton and cosmic dust particles.   He wasn’t studying this house, I can assure you, which has a liberal coating of ash and dog fur as well as the spider parts.   I don’t know about the cosmic dust.

I realized that my dirt pile had nothing bad in it and a lot that the little birds would find fabulous, so I threw the dustpan full of sweepings out onto the gravel patio.

Then I mopped the floor.   Again, my mopping became cause for much musing, beginning with the fact that I have the same mop I have had for years, literally.   I do not understand why people have been convinced that a disposable swiffer thing doused in chemicals does a superior job of cleaning.  I dunked my cotton string mop in the hot solution of vinegar in the sink, and vigorously wrung it out.   I rejoiced in the nice anti-osteoporosis exercise I was doing right then as I slung the now damp mop down onto the floor and began to scrub off the weeks of dog foot prints, slopped coffee, tea, and wine, the dusting of flour and corn meal which I discovered had been polished into the flooring under the flour canister.   Lots of corners to dig something out of — a cake consisting of flour, corn meal, nuts, dog hair, spattered grease, and salt; humidity gelling it into a solid even the mice weren’t interested in.

I know I did the same digging the last time I mopped.

I began to see myself as Ms Housekeeperwoman, Fighter Against the Forces of Entropy.  No cape though, it would only get in the way.   Her tools are a mop and a rag, her ammunition — vinegar and a step stool.

So lets see, after all that mopping and whatnot, I found I had to make a trip out to open the cold frames.  When I came back in, I took off my boots, and as I was doing so I looked at the freshly cleaned floor.  Jeez!  My boot prints, Jim’s footprints left as he brought the wood in to feed the fire and Ruby’s wet little mudpaws, all adorned the doorway from utility room to kitchen.  Already!   In less than five minutes!

I sort of lost it.   I turned around and went straight out to the pergola where my mop was hanging to dry and damp mopped up the newest footprints.

I did not put my shoes on, and so one might say I was certifiably insane to walk barefoot through the snow, but here is the photographic evidence to prove it.

I say in my defense that I was driven to it!

Anyway, the floor is still clean this morning although I did have to sweep.

Entropy never rests!   Ms Housekeeperwoman’s job is never done!   Eternal vigilance!

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