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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

What Should I Call This One?

When I took this picture I was just testing out some of the features on my iPhone12pro, in this instance it's ability to take really sharp close-up images. As I was looking for an idea to jump start my musings for today, I thought this one could be interesting. Maybe I would walk down memory lane and talk about when I took typing in high school? (That one has some real merit and I may share my memories of that and typewriters in my life at some point.). Maybe I would have some commentary about computers and technology and how much they mean to me? Maybe something about the alphabet? So I uploaded this image to my "create a new post" page and was horrified to see how dirty this keyboard is! That made me think about cleaning. So I think I will offer a few thoughts about that. For only a brief few years when I lived in Virginia and had a day job that was almost seven days a week, I have always done my own cleaning. I have never liked it the way my Mother did. She was pretty obsessive. But I like things to be clean and tidy, and some of my Mother did rub off with me in that I will never go to bed without putting the clean dishes away or making sure the kitchen is ready for a new day. I always make my bed every morning. I wipe down the counters in the bathroom after I brush my teeth and wash my hands. I don't wear shoes in the house. I have a little hand held vacuum that is used daily to clean areas that need a bit of "spot" work, like the area around the cats' litter pan. I find that if I do a little cleaning as I go every day I seldom have to work very hard to keep things reasonably straight and clean. And, of course, it is much easier now that it is just me and two cats living in the house. But I can easily remember the days with a husband and children and pets coming and going and how much more work it was then. My husband retired at the age of 52 when I was still very much employed with my own sewing business and a part-time church job. Before he retired, though, I had hired house cleaners to come once or twice a month to clean, and while they weren't always that good doing it, it was better than me having to add house cleaning to my other long list of things to be done. Shortly after my husband retired, we launched into a five year home renovation project that was completed the spring before our daughter graduated from high school. During the renovation period we had stopped having the cleaning service for obvious reasons. So when that project was completed, I asked my husband if I could contact them again to start cleaning. His answer was a very quick, "No!!." He called them the "vacuum cleaners from hell," and did not want them banging their cleaning machines into freshly painted baseboards and scarring the newly refinished floors. Well, I certainly did not want to have to take on the full burden of house cleaning again, so suggested that we make a bargain to share the jobs. I gave him some choices, and he picked doing the floor cleaning, mopping and vacuuming. That still left me with a bit more of the share, but it was better than nothing. The shared tasks continued more or less (sometimes much less for him) for quite a few years. But one Christmas I got a gift that changed all of that and sent me a strong message. My husband gave me my first Roomba. When I opened it, I was surprised that he was giving it to me when his job was to do the floors. When I said, "But you are the one that does the floors," he grinned and said, "Not anymore." I must admit running the Roomba is pretty cool, and it does do a reasonably good job of keeping the floors clean, but with this "gift" I was once again becoming the total house keeper. Housekeeping, I know, is not decided by gender these days, thank goodness. And I am proud of both of my sons who do an exemplary job of doing it. And, in retrospect, I guess I can't fault my husband too much. He grew up in a household that always had the "help" for that sort of thing. I know that he was only protecting our newly renovated home when he no longer would allow me to have a cleaning service. And, after all, he did try to sort of keep up his end of the house cleaning bargain for several years before seeking the help of a robot. Thankfully, I really don't mind cleaning, and these days it isn't that much of a chore most of the time either. But I can't help but shake my head a bit remembering my husband's brief time helping just a bit.

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