It’s that time of year again!

Anyone who has been to my house knows I’m not a clean freak. There’s a ten-minute period in April every year, however, when I feel intense shame at the filthiness of my windows. The sun is at precisely the right angle to pierce me with scandal, dishonor, and mortification.

Luckily it doesn’t last too long. The shame, that is, not the grimy windows. Those are here for the long-haul, I fear.

I don’t remember my mom being all gung-ho, gathering us together for some kind of annual Tackling of the Chores, and I don’t remember doing that with my kids.

So why then do I get so preoccupied with spring cleaning?

In Jewish custom, a house gets thoroughly cleaned before Passover to get rid of any trace of leavened bread. Catholic tradition encourages house cleaning during Holy Week to prepare for Easter. Before the Lunar New Year in Asian cultures, they sweep out disease and bad luck before the new year. In the Middle East there’s a deep cleaning tradition that translates to “shaking the house.”

We don’t do any of that at my house.

As soon as we had an empty nest—and soon after, a dog whose entire job was to shed and be adorable—my husband and I splurged on a housecleaning service until the pandemic put the kibosh on that sort of thing. Since then, we’ve done it ourselves. We sat down one day and negotiated who hated certain chores the most, then crafted a monthly schedule of sorts, assigning what needs to be done to the person most likely to do it. It works reasonably well for us.

But come mid-March every year, I find myself adding a list of spring cleaning jobs. Unsticky the top of the fridge. Degrease the kitchen cabinets. Wash those windows.

More often than not, something more interesting comes along and I shorten my list dramatically. I mean, I can’t actually see the top of the fridge without standing on something, and that’s just unsafe for a woman of my age. The cabinets will get greasy again since they’re right next to the stove, for heaven’s sake. (What psychopath thought that placement was a good idea??) And the windows? Well, I’m reminded that we have these things called doors attached to my house. I can go right outside whenever I feel the urge to take a look.

So here is this year’s list of What I Will Sweep Away During Spring Cleaning:

• My diminishing belief I will ever get the chance to tap dance on Broadway
• My crocodile tears when I “forget” to set the timer when I sit down with a crossword or jigsaw puzzle
• The urge to buy beautiful strawberries that I know are not ripe
• News about the solar eclipse
• My hope that the Denver Broncos won’t break my heart again this year
• Lists

What’s on your list?

2 thoughts on “It’s that time of year again!”

  1. pretty much the same as yours. as for the kitchen cabinets, I’ve become a strong believer in letting that hood fan try to pull all that grease into the filter–not on the cabinets around the stove. not sure it’s working, but it definitely deafens my autobook when I’m cooking. i keep promising to tackle one room at a time and CLEAN! that means get rid of all the junk. unfortunately, there’s a man in the house who lays claim to the junk. problem solved.

    1. I’m very lucky to have a simpatico spouse. Neither of us are very much into “things.” But I do NOT understand that kitchen grease. I barely cook! Where does it all come from??

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