Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home is where the mop is

I just finished mopping the floors, at least the ones far enough away from the bedrooms. After two events in four days, they needed it. Badly. I spent the whole time thinking about my friends who have housekeepers. It's a scarily high number.

I've come close to getting a housekeeping a few times, even took down the number and nearly called. It would give me more time to write--maybe even make a buck or two--and more time to rest in the short periods that I have free. But the truth is, I like to be the one cleaning our house. Not that I like cleaning. I mean, I do like the end result of shiny floors and shelves put back in dusted order, but it's time consuming and tiring and endless. Ever so endless. But I like to do the cleaning. As I clean, I think of the feet that came across that floor: friends and their children happily running to the playroom, a holiday party with a house fully filled, Ivory dusted kids coming in from making their first little snowmen. I think about the cookies that made those crumbs, the hands that left those fingerprints. I realize how solid our home is: how the floor feels under my hands (scratched and dented as it might be), how tight the corners and doors, how much space is ours.

Cleaning makes me realize and appreciate what we have. I know there are lots of factors that play into people getting housekeepers, such as age and jobs and physical capabilities and time, but if I'm not doing it, someone else would be. They would still put out an insane amount of time and effort just to take care of of something for which I no longer made time. Only it'd just be a job for them. So at least when I clean, I come away remembering I have something, a whole microcosm of tangible and intangible memories, right here at my fingertips. Pass by the rug and remember sitting on it and entertaining M in an empty room as the floors were installed around us. Dust off the shelves to find myself staring at the old photo of B and I back when we were just kids ourselves. Clean out the playroom to find a leftover party treat. I know they're just things--trash, dirt, relics--but at the same time, they aren't just things. I love that I still remember, sometimes, that they are underneath. I'll live to regret this, I know, but I kind of hope that if it ever gets to be too much for me to handle myself, that I'll realize, maybe, that I didn't need quite so much in the first place.


feistywon said...

Wow, that's a great way to look at cleaning the house. One that I can aspire to but I know down deep, I'll never get there. But I'll try...

Kristi said...

You just gave me a whole new perspective on my freshly mopped hardwood floors. I like your style.