Posts Tagged ‘cleaning windows’

By Bob Chrisman

In my mind it’s too early to think of spring cleaning. As I write that sentence my thoughts veer off in another direction. I never clean my house unless company will arrive within a few hours. Those little cleaning spurts only touch the surface dirt and clutter, not at all like spring cleaning, but sufficient to fool guests into thinking I live in a neat, tidy and clean house.

Spring cleaning to me means days of going after the accumulated dirt of the winter. My mother took down all the sheers and curtains and washed them in the wringer washer. She fed them through the rollers to press the water out and then rinsed them before sending them through the wringer and into an empty wash tub. When she finished she hung everything outside on the clothesline to dry in the sun and wind.

As the laundry dried in the fresh air, she donned her rubber gloves and armed with old rags and a bucket of water went after the windows inside and out as my father removed the storm windows and replaced them with the screen windows. He took the screen windows out of storage in the basement, wiped them down and leaned them against the house. He started the removal of the storms at the front of the house and washed and dried them before he took them to the basement to store until fall cleaning.

Mom climbed the step ladder placed next to the house and washed the window panes and window sills. Then she wiped them dry. My sister and I stood inside and pointed out spots that she missed until she handed us a bucket and a sponge and we became her assistants.

Once the window panes sparkled and Dad had installed all of the screens, Mom would open every window in the house to “air out the place.” This airing occurred regardless of the outside temperature and lasted long enough for her to proclaim that the air inside was fresh.

She washed and waxed the wood floors throughout the house in the early years. After we installed linoleum in the kitchen and wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room, she would polish the kitchen floor until it gleamed and take her Kirby upright sweeper to the rug in the living room.

Just writing about it makes me tired. I think I’ll go take a nap and think about spring cleaning on a smaller scale when I wake up. Or, maybe I won’t think about it at all anymore.

-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: PRACTICE — Spring Cleaning — 10min by QuoinMonkey, WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.

[NOTE: SPRING CLEANING was a Writing Topic on red Ravine. Frequent guest writer Bob Chrisman joined QuoinMonkey in doing a Writing Practice on the topic.]

Read Full Post »

Spring cleaning. Where to start. It’s quiet, late in the evening. I’ve barely scratched the surface. I remember window washing, vinegar and newspaper. I remember dusting with Pledge. The smell of Lemon Pledge, etched in the nasal cavity. I remember Johnson Paste Wax, the rotating discs on the buffer. I remember sand and sandspurs, tearing at my toes, clinging to bits of rug. Spring cleaning is symbolic. A ritual of letting go. It doesn’t have to be deep cleaning. Just the letting go.

The rugs that get hauled out to the clothesline. The rug beater, a wooden stick. Puffs of dirt from the prairie. Not my home. A little house somewhere I can’t remember. I don’t think houses are as clean as they were when I was growing up. Times have changed. Roles have changed. Both parents need to work for a living. And still it’s hard to make ends meet. Spring cleaning leads me to a sunny destination after a long Minnesota Winter. Spring cleaning leads me to Spring.

Cleaning the deck windows until they are crystal clear. Power washing the wood. There is something fun about power washing. This year we will need to replace the trim on the south windows. Weather and woodpeckers have stripped them raw and full of holes. I am fond of the woodpeckers. But they can be destructive. Have you ever watched birds do their spring cleaning? Grabbing bits of feather, lint, moss, and making a nest. Preening their young, mites and ticks. Cleaning rituals are not only for humans.

Spring cleaning means tidying up the garden space, uncovering the rosebush, gathering the old brush and weeds from the end of last Fall and tossing them to the back corner. Spring means transplanting the two pines that have sprouted near the coneflowers, watching the dogwood stems turn beet red with sap, waiting, waiting, waiting for the bloom of the peony. A whole year must pass, that’s how long I wait for the next peony to bloom. Underneath the ash, grubs, a few mice and voles. The white winter squirrel, I haven’t seen her this year. What happened? Maybe a hawk or an owl found her to be easy prey.

Another 18 inches of snow last weekend. I shoveled the driveway hill and raked the roof. I am ready for Spring. In a few days, it will drop to 10 degrees again. The wind will kick up from the North; I’ll zip my jacket a little tighter. All that after a day of sunshine at 32. It’s dangerous to wait for Spring, dangerous to wait for the future to arrive at your doorstep. When all you have is right now.

-Related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – SPRING CLEANING (HOMEMADE CLEANING REMEDIES). Also related to posts: WRITING TOPIC — CLEANLINESS, and Wanda Wooley — The Lean Green Clean Machine.

Read Full Post »

My favorite spot in winter, in front of the sliding glass doors facing east. Doors that are also windows, let in the morning rays that warm my legs and give me a good dose of Vitamin D, which I understand is necessary for bones to absorb Calcium.

I look across the pasture, see the big brown horse about midway out. His name is Dooley, but from this vantage point that name doesn’t fit such an elegant creature. His long neck bends toward the grass, horses must be made for grazing. From here he looks like a Prince, a Victory, or even an Othello.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry. That was a song I remember Mom listening to on the stereo at our house on Glenarbor Court. The speaker had a wood lattice cover, like a cross-hatch pie crust, for decoration only. I liked to lie in front of the console and listen to Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell or the scratchy Marty Robbins album and watch Mom walk back and forth from the bedrooms to the washer, changing sheets.

My favorite spot in our last house was also in front of doors-slash-windows. Two French doors that opened out to the back yard. Top half of each door was a series of small boxes separated by white panes that had been painted so many times that paint chips and cobwebs and blobs of dirt had been sealed into the paint, like bees in amber. We bought new doors but even in their smoothness the corners of the panes were hard to keep free of dust and small spiders.

The east-facing windows in this house are hard to keep clean, too. I use vinegar and water one month, then the next try a window cleaner that on the label claims to leave no streaks. They all streak, though, so then I vary the rag. A soft paper towel that leaves behind specks of lint or an old sheet ripped into strips.

When I worked for a frame shop we cleaned the glass with newspaper. The owner insisted it worked the best, although it always made a high squeak that sounded like tree branches against a window. Plus the wet newsprint left black smudges on our hands.

Once the earth shifts this spring, the light will still come in these windows but the sun won’t. By summer the temperatures will cause me to seek out the coolness of my writing room, small and cave-like. It has a big window that’s shaded by a big old cottonwood and a couple of gigantic ponderosas. Ponderosas usually grow in the scraggly rocks of the Sandia Mountains, but these ones in the Rio Grande Valley hit the water table just a few feet down and soar to the sky. I imagine they’re decades old, gentle giants watching me watching them.

-related to Topic post:  WRITING TOPIC — WINDOW

Read Full Post »