Lather, soak, rinse and repeat

I hesitated at writing this column, as it seems like yesterday I was writing on this same subject.

Turns out it was two years ago, the last time my daughter moved. Fortunately, she hopes to stay a decade in the new condominium. I will need that much time to recover.
I feel pretty sure I will not be able to stand upright in the morning, if I make it out of bed at all.
Even if my legs work, my hands have gone on strike demanding multiple treatments of moisturizer, several max doses of acetaminophen and at least one expensive manicure. Did I scrub a lot?
Did I scrub top to bottom? I feel like it just finished the squat thrust portion of the Big Tony’s Boot Camp, followed by the mud run.
Thinking like my mom, I cleaned places no one had ever looked at before.
That quaint little granny flat is cleaner now than it has ever been and will ever be again. It took the entire weekend. And let me add, that San Marcos has really, really hard water.
The true hilarity is that my own home desperately needs the same level of effort I put into cleaning daughter’s flat, but is unlikely to get it.
Mother love creates small miracles and that is what this past weekend was, for the next tenants. The truth is, I simply channel my mother, who used to come over and clean my oven, and knew how to leave Air Force quarters spotless every three years.
She kept our house so spotless I believed that dust never built up and soap scum did not exist. Dirty bathrooms? Phsst. Dirty sliding glass door tracks? Nope. Animal hair? Uh-uh. Spider webs? Heaven forfend.
There were rarely dirty dishes in her kitchen sink. Her silver didn’t even tarnish.
I had some big surprises once I moved out on my own, but then I was young and energetic and lived in tiny apartments. I modeled myself after mom, back in the day, and was a true clean freak, even (briefly) after having children.
I remember downing massive quantities of caffeine at 7 p.m. and turning into the white tornado until midnight. My back hurts to even reminisce about it. Then one day I woke up and realized I loathed every aspect housecleaning and really needed to just back off.
Yes, I had help for a while and it was heaven, but budgets don’t always allow for such luxuries, and I am back to being the mistress of my abode. Bother!
I now fall back on my favorite motto. “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who very much wants a larger, more ambitious Roomba. Contact her at


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