It’s that time of year again! We’ve leaped ahead into Daylight Saving Time and spring re-blossomed in Michigan just over a week ago, with a lot of blue skies and sunshine! But my enthusiasm for this week is mostly because it’s also National Cleaning Week (March 28-April 3, 2021)!
Can you sense my excitement? Call me weird but I love to clean and especially to organize. I actually enjoy flipping the bedroom mattress at the onset of both, spring and fall. Likewise, I also get enthusiastic about cleaning out cupboards, closets, and drawers while rotating the seasonal linen and clothes.
Cleaning was not Mom’s forte. It’s not that she didn’t do it, she just didn’t LIKE to do it. Not everyone finds joy in cleaning or organizing. In fact, most people would probably agree with Mom, in not caring to do such chores. Many will find numerous reasons and excuses to put them off or avoid them all together. Mom used to joke that a good excuse was one you could use over and over again!
Even though the first TWO weeks of March is recognized as National Procrastination Week; it is, by no means, limited to only then – especially for procrastinators, as it can be celebrated whenever you get around to it! Is there a chore (aka: housework responsibility) over which you procrastinate or avoid altogether? Here’s a humorous memory I shared about Mom and her least favorite chore…
FROM MY MEMORIES…
As seen in my 03/25/19 blog post…
One particular memory I have of Mom, regarding cleaning is from shortly after her stroke in 2015. Mom had to go through a lot of therapy, including physical and occupational. One of her therapists called me one day, very concerned about Mom’s sudden dislike of her since they seemed to get along so beautifully during her first couple of visits. I met her at Mom’s place during her next scheduled visit to see just what she was describing to me.
The therapist went through everything she did during the previous visit. It all seemed to be going fine, at first; thus, I was beginning to think that either she misinterpreted Mom’s reactions to her, or it wasn’t happening on that day because I was there.
Then, after having Mom do some simple stretches, the therapist asked Mom to make her bed as part of her daily exercises. In an instant, Mom’s mood went from ‘sunny-and-75’ to [a ‘winter-storm-warning’]! Right away, I started laughing out loud, while both, the therapist and Mom, looked at me very strangely. I guess it was an inside joke.
Mom hated cleaning – well, ‘hate’ is a strong word; let’s say she clearly ‘disliked’ it. I’m not saying Mom didn’t clean; but that never meant she had to like it! Mom was brought up in a generation that just did what they ‘had to’; keeping a clean home was just something that they’re parents taught them to do as responsible, civilized people – at any age.
In fact, I think making the bed was at the top of [Mom’s] ‘torture’ list. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the situation, as did the therapist when I explained it! Not everyone gets a joy out of cleaning any more than they have to!
I read an awesome article about American’s least favorite chores and what they would give up to avoid them, which I recommend reading! It was called “These Americans Would Give Up Alcohol And Sex To Never Do Chores Again”, by Marie Haaland (Aug. 8, 2019) at SWNSdigital.com.
In general chores or housework responsibilities are comprised of, but are not limited to, such things as cooking, “doing” the dishes, laundering, making the bed, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing/wiping/cleaning (the majority of which happens in the kitchen and bathroom – including walls, window and door frames, window panes, other glass, computer and TV screens, mirrors, sinks, tub/shower, toilet, table and counter tops, cupboards and drawer fronts, appliances, light fixtures, fans, trash cans, etc.)
There’s a few other groups of responsibilities to add to that basic list if you also have to homeschool your children, care for a yard/garden or have dependents such as pets and/or small children. Among the many truths that have come to light this past year, during the nationwide, pandemic lockdowns, one of the most prominent is that housework is a tiresome and unrelenting mass of responsibilities.
According to NationalDayCalendar.com, the most disliked cleaning tasks are as follows:
- cleaning the bathroom (52%)
- kitchen cleaning (23%)
- dusting (21%)
- mopping (20%)
- doing the laundry (17%)
Sorry, Mom – making the bed did not make it onto this list! However, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.
To make cleaning less intimidating, while observing National Cleaning Week, NationalDayCalendar.com also suggests, that we “tackle one room at a time, start from the top and work down; dusting ceiling fans, door moldings and window tops. Don’t be afraid to move furniture…”
Additionally, we should also share our favorite cleaning tips on social media, using #NationalCleaningWeek or #CleaningWeek for others to follow. Mom liked to say, “Great recipes are meant to be shared.” I think Mom’s good friend, Linda Cobb (aka: the Queen Of Clean) would agree that so are great cleaning tips!
Like many standup comedy routines, Mom often stretched and twisted our family’s boring reality life a little bit to generate a few laughs from her syndicated columns and cartoon panels. So I’ve re-used a few, today, in regard to cleaning. Here is a copy of some of Mom’s comical household tips…
Maybe it’s because of being OCD but organizing is like a favorite hobby to me. I just love having a place for everything and having everything in its place! However, when it came to Mom’s desk, she preferred what she called an “organized mess”. She had her own chaotic filing system, but SHE always knew where everything was!
That is, until I had taken it upon myself, one day, to clean and organize Mom’s office and desk as a good deed. Afterward, I was banned from her part of the office and she bought the following sign to keep on her desk.
My kids and my husband like to tease me that I’m CDO, rather than OCD, because I like things in alphabetical (and numerical) order. What can I say? I really enjoy organizing and I’ve been known to dump things out of cupboards, drawers, and closets just to re-organize them – and not because I was stuck at home during the Covid-19 “lock down”.
For me, it’s like re-doing a puzzle over and over because I enjoyed solving puzzles. As Mom proved time and again, in her recipe sleuthing, there’s more than one way to solve a mystery. When Mom was trying to imitate a dish as close as possible to the real thing, she didn’t stop at just one way.
She was always refining her imitations until she felt they were spot-on! And then, sometimes, for various reasons (like ingredient availability or diet), she’d revamp them again, proving that there was usually more than one way to reach the same goal.
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in… “No Laughing Matter”; a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer
(date unknown; circ. 1970s)
GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to Women’s Lib, I don’t think they can help me. I think they’ve done enough for me already! Frankly, I think I was doing alright before they came along. At least I could get a seat on a bus. Now I’m lucky if a man will offer to hold my packages for me.
I can also remember when cutting the grass was considered “man’s work”. These days my husband flips me two-out-of-three to see which of us gets the lawn mower and who will fix the iced tea and sit on the patio chair to watch.
Last week, I was visited by a new militant group of women in our neighborhood who are protesting the proposed 4-day work week for MEN. They advocated a simple test. If you cannot get through a two-week vacation and the Christmas holidays with a man who over-waters your house plants and alphabetizes your refrigerator then how can you get through a three-day weekend, 52 weeks out of the year?
For you must then decide if you have to run the sweeper [aka: vacuum] while he’s taking a nap, or does he have to take a nap while you’re running the sweeper. Arguing with a husband (especially when he’s your own), is like taking a shower/bath in a scuba outfit. But I have a theory!
There are some things in this liberated life, which a woman just cannot control. You have tasted instant failure when neither of you can agree on who gets custody of the only controls on the electric blanket; and if it’s fair that she who makes the garbage must also carry it out; and whose mother calls more – yours or his?
This is the same man who warned me not to go into labor on his bowling night and who, on Christmas, gave me a monogrammed tool box and a gift certificate from Sunoco for an oil change and lube job, and a can of Easy-Off in my stocking.
The liberating females of our society have missed the joy of knowing what it means to live with a man who claims he’s always out of socks, but YOU know there are two more pairs in the drawer and [of course] only YOU can find them!
Most husbands are generally quite liberal with their wives in spite of the ‘Lib Movement’… I’ll have you know that my husband has always allowed me to make all sorts of important decisions – like: ‘Does that child need a nap?’ ‘Should that baby have her pants changed?’ ‘Do you really need another new pant suit?’ ‘Must your mother call here every day?’ ‘Should we recognize Red China?’ ‘Will they find Howard Hughes?’
The only liberation I want is to get away from the kids once in a while, without having the school counselor label me as a parent who doesn’t care. When you cannot free yourself from the oven encased in molten lasagna and apple pie fossils, you know that liberation is but a piper’s dream in your soap opera saga.
On the other hand, my husband takes a realistic approach to my emancipation. He claims women have never had it so good… (What does HE know?) His trying to tell me about women’s rights is like trying to tell General Eisenhower about World War II. However, I look at it this way: ‘Either give me liberty… OR GIVE ME A CLEANING LADY!
TODAY IS ALSO my regular monthly visit on the “Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene! The show airs from 11am to 1pm, Central Time; I’m usually on during the first half hour of the show. If you’re not in the Appleton, WI area, to find the station on your radio, you can listen to the broadcast, live or later, through WHBY’s website!
In honor of National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day…
Here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for one, plus her Thin Vanilla Icing recipe as seen in her self-published cookbook,…
Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, pp. 67 & 100)
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
March is still observing… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month!
Furthermore, Thursday is the beginning of April – the monthly commemorations of which embrace… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Autism Awareness Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Straw Hat Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!
Additionally, some other celebrations of note this week include:
Saturday is… National Chocolate Mousse Day, National Find a Rainbow Day, World Party Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the 1st Saturday of each month]. Also, as the first Saturday in April, it’s National Love Our Children Day and National Handmade Day, as well!
Sunday is… National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National Hug a Newsperson Day, National School Librarian Day, National Vitamin C Day, and Easter [which changes annually – April 4, 2021]! It is also the start of National Public Health Week!
…13 down and another 39 to go!