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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reflections on Cleaning Up (Literally and otherwise)

A few weeks ago, I was working on the basement "retreat" (studio/office/whatever) so that I can really work in earnest, unbothered, on my very own dedicated work station (my new iMac computer). It's really impressive, knowing I can make a space useful and beautiful. . . and even smell nice (I bought a diffuser for the odors). It's almost there. . . now I have to re-organize stuff so that it's in the right place and all. Plus, of course, I'm tossing obsolete stuff. . . it's about time! Good to clean up my act, for sure!
In fact, all of my latest actions are a metaphor for change -- and stripping down things so that I can be more productive, efficient, cleaner, and happier! At least, that's the idea!
I came across an old burgundy-colored Kenmore canister vacuum that my mom gave me back in the '90's, I guess. . . oddly enough, before that vacuum, I'd never owned one. I felt I was living the bohemian life, doing music & writing, living pretty much hand to mouth. I had some misconceptions: like, earning enough money to pay taxes was bad (!!!), and that vacuum cleaners were too expensive to own. What did I do before owning one? Was it dreadfully dirty in the apartment? Hmmm. . . . wasn't that clean, I can tell you that, with all the tons of nooks and crannies the old apartment contained.
Well: I had no carpeting, so sweeping, mopping, and the occasional carpet sweeper (on the few area rugs I had) really worked well for me -- well, sorta. ON occasion, I would borrow my upstairs neighbor, Andy Aaron's, vacuum cleaner (bless you, Andy!). I have never been great at cleaning, or gung ho at it. Funny, because when I DO a good job at cleaning the house, it feels super. . . I feel powerful, in control, and happily secure in knowing I can really have an impact on my immediate environment in an easy, beautiful way.
But I have had a lifelong aversion to vacuuming. . . sort of a distaste for it more than anything else. They're loud. You get dirty, changing attachments and the dirtbag. AND, they are just so, er,bourgeois!! But now that I live in and own a house (isn't THAT bourgeois?!), and have a husband who is VERY knowledgable and quite capable when it comes to cleaning things, I don't mind 'em. IN fact, I have five vacuums -- still have the old Kenmore canister that my mom gave me 2 decades ago, with a good floor & other useful attachments (and three extra bags). Then there's the big shopvac (bought for Matt), the little shopvac (bought for $5 at an auction), the Eureka Optima (a small, green upright -- bagless -- I bought at a Target four years ago for around $90) and the big Dirt Devil (a big, black upright -- also bagless -- I bought for $25 at a tag sale). Pretty impressive for a girl who'd owned nary a one 'till she was 35!!
The bagless vacs need the filters cleaned almost as much as you use 'em (we probably have a way dirty home -- with all the foot traffic and Mister Kitten's plentiful soft long fur), and the kids might sometimes vacuum (bless 'em!), but never clean 'em out. SO, on a cleaning day, I focus on cleaning the vacs first. Oh well! I am very glad to have them, whatever their (and my) shortcomings.
OK now, back to work. After basement duty, I'm heading out to errands. . .
And I still aspire to be financially able to hire people to do my housecleaning. Ha!

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