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By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

Kitchen done, my clean freak emerges


October 8, 2020

It’s a minor miracle, but the kitchen is done, finally! The correct glass panels were installed on Monday, the silicone holding the glass in place has dried. Our new sod has taken, so we have ceased the twice-daily watering, and the muddy footprints have subsided.

Now that the major remodeling is complete, I knew it was time to clean the house from the construction mess. I mean really cleaned, including windows, baseboards, the works! I hired a cleaning crew, especially to clean the windows inside and out, and boy did those windows need it. The windows hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned since their original installation 3-4 years ago, and the two-story windows are too treacherous for a clumsy, not so young lady, such as I.

After the cleaning crew was finished, I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. It’s amazing how heavy dust can be when there is so much of it! The feeling of clean living caused me to become obsessed. I walked around with dust mop, Swiffer, and sponges like they were attached to my body. I was like a crazed Mrs. Clean. `

I became such an ambitious cleaner that I mistakenly threw out the pattern I need for a scarf I’m knitting. I’m sure it got mixed into a stack of newspapers I tossed. I am also missing one tennis shoe, which has got me stumped.

I know the weather will change soon, and I will have a floor covered in muddy, rainy, and snowy footprints. I have tried every inside and outside doormat available; none are useful. There is just no panacea for mud in wet weather.

Add to the mud, I know us; we will have coats, sweatshirts, and sweaters hanging from chairs, dust from the heaters landing on every piece of furniture possible, the kitchen floor flecked with food since Mugsy is just not a great Roomba. I think the only thing I can do is declare a truce on a dirtyish house.

A little discouraged about maintaining a clean house, I figured a good distraction would be to “clean up” the garden and clear out the dead branches, plants, and flowers. As I age, looking at a lot of dead stuff starts to be disheartening, a little too close to home? However, it is encouraging to see the zucchini and cucumbers still flowering and producing fruit. It gives me a feeling of immortality. I wonder if science can replicate the genetic makeup of zucchini and weeds. Nothing kills them; they are immortal. Bonus, the weird random squash we are growing turned out to be acorn squash, yay!

Daniel and I have different outlooks on what is clean. His definition of clean is organized; mine leans more to the dust-free, clean floors, clean sinks, toilets, and showers. He can live with dirt, just not disorganization. Although I prefer things to be organized, clean is the priority for me. You’d think that we would have a perfectly clean and organized household. It doesn’t work that way—it’s not as organized or clean as either of us want, but it’s comfortable, and that’s what matters most.

I have cleaning frenzy days; he has organization frenzy days. Then he cooks a good meal, we have a bottle of wine, and all is good. I’m not sure if that means we have learned the art of compromise, or the art of surrender, or we have learned the art of “yeah, whatever, it’s just a house.” Whatever, it works.


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