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"Whistle While You Work" by Sherrill Pool Elizondo
Categories: Stories and Memories
I have been cleaning my own home for 43 years though by now I could well afford a maid. Even while living with my parents I often cleaned house for Mother. I would say that my mother, rest her soul, had to be one of the worst housekeepers on this planet. I guess it was not a priority with her and, with keeping up with kids and being a secretary in my father's business, I am sure that she had more than her share to do. I remember in high school that I started doing some housework. I recall mostly cleaning the house before company coming for a visit or on the holidays. I guess it was seeing some clutter in my parents' home that made me abhor it so and to this day I would rather put items away in a closet than see them piled up on counters and chairs. My grandmother had a skirted slipper chair and my mother eventually had it reupholstered for her bedroom. You could never really sit in this chair let alone see the chair, as it was piled high with clothes at all times. A few years ago my brother brought me the chair and it is in very good condition because of lack of use and it sits in one of the spare bedrooms now without anything on it!
It might seem to some that I love cleaning house but as the years pass I am finding it more and more to be a difficult, tiresome, and boring chore! Still, I love a clean home. It was simple keeping small apartments tidy and even a small house with 3 little boys was not too bad. The larger house with three active sons, all their friends, and all the pets presented more of a challenge and I never got much help. I was always the "chief cook and bottle washer" in our home. I was not the one with a full time job so I felt it was my place to get it all done weekly. When I went to work part time, I was still doing the same and running boys to all their activities and am now wondering how I did it. I guess I was younger and had more energy! It amazes me though how women, who hold down full time jobs and have children, manage all the chores without some help from the husband and children or outside help. No one should try to do all of that on their own because is too much responsibility and work.
I don't know why in recent years I have chosen Mondays to do housework. Maybe it is because of family coming over on weekends that I decided this was a good time after they left. For a while, in this big two storied house, I tried dividing up the work on two days which meant I was still at it on Tuesday. I don't really like to do that as I would love to get it all done and presentable on one day! I go to a Jazzercise center almost every morning so I never change out of work out clothes when I get home on Monday…what's the point? So, that means I am usually showering and dressing in the late afternoon before preparing dinner or going out. Added to that, I am one of those who has certain days to change bed sheets and wash them, certain days for the towels and bath mats, and I always have a small load of clothes to wash every day or at least every other day even if there are only two people in this house! I must be crazy and I know that there are pills for this but I will keep my little harmless obsessions with cleanliness!
I no longer have pets so this has cut down on daily vacuuming or going over floors with a swifter but it amazes me how much dirt we can actually track into a home. Dust…well, I never could figure out how dust could be a problem in East Texas unlike other places in Texas where I have lived. I do know that using one of the more expensive air filters that reduces dust, allergens, etc. really works on cutting down ANY dust. I was told by an air conditioner repairman that you should use the cheaper ones and just change them monthly as the higher numbered one is hard on the unit. Well, I have tried it and changing them monthly if not sooner is a chore. So, sometimes I use the better ones every other time or most of the time and change them about every two months and that is without ever opening windows and rarely using candles. Shortly after I moved to this house, an aunt told me not to even try to clean it in one day and that is what I try to do even after a workout every single week. I figure that staying on top of it prevents having to do some really major cleaning and I get bonus exercise.
Lately I have been using my reading glasses more and more, as the doctor says I am not ready for bifocals. Better to not wear them housecleaning though, as that is when I really see what is really NOT clean! So, I put them on and take them off and go up and downstairs and wonder why I am doing this especially when no one is coming over. I don't even leave my home with unmade beds! I don't know if this is a "disorder" or not but I do like my order! I keep thinking that if I hired someone to do the work that I would just have to explain too much about the cleaners I use and more….like what to use and not use when you have travertine and other types of natural stone. I would probably be following her around for a while making sure she did everything right!
My house never looks perfectly clean enough for me and I will admit that I do not clean many places in the house thoroughly. There is much I just let slide lately and I most certainly do NOT do windows nor do I iron anymore! Maybe come spring I will hire someone to clean the windows and play like I am like Cinderella going to the ball…until then, every Monday and/or Tuesday I am the one who puts on the music really loud and curses (NOT whistles) while she works….Snow White was one crazy girl for taking care of those guys and their messy house but that's another story.
by Sherrill Pool Elizondo
Categories: Stories and Memories
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