🏡 House Cleaning Hacks! | Allergies & Chronic Illness 👊 (1/13/18)

Spring Cleaning in a Life With Chronic Pain

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Those of us who live with chronic pain have looked forward to spring. Slowly, it’s seeping into our lives and we look forward to a respite from the cold, the snow, the wet and the wind. It’s been a long hard winter for so many among us and continues to cause problems today in many areas of the United States. We feel the weather changes in our bodies and we have to use energy we don’t have to cope with all of the surprises and clean-up of severe weather. Life is just more difficult when it’s dreary, cold and wet.

There is, however, a down-side to spring’s arrival as fresh light reveals dust, dirt and swinging cobwebs. Somehow it’s easier in the darkness of winter to throw that magazine onto a pile of other magazines. They should be with their friends.  At our house we receive daily catalogues and they need to be sorted, thrown out or piled up. I’ve discovered, during the winter, at sometime when I obviously was not looking, paw prints, dust and who knows what else has piled up in corners and along baseboards. Someone has to do something about all of this piling, stacking, dust catching accumulation and I suspect it’s me.

I know I could hire a house cleaner to come in but I don’t really like strangers in my home. Part of that feeling is because of my dogs but most of it is just the sense of privacy I possess. I, also, cannot imagine some stranger would know what to do with the stacks of papers, books and miscellany that cover floors, areas by the bed and toilets, etc. Would some stranger know to pick the dead leaves off of the African violets? Would they understand the results of dog spittle on a doorway? Would they know that Jakie likes to wipe his face on the lowest carpeted stair after he eats? (For any of you who don’t know, Jake is a dog, not a person. Aren’t you glad?) Would a stranger know how I want the books arranged on overflowing bookshelves? Therefore, I choose to deal with this messy home all by myself. I consider it a dubious privilege and have to find the easiest way possible to do it.

I know I’ve mentioned to you on previous occasions how much I love owning a Roomba and a Scooba from the I Robot Company. They clean and vacuum the floors and are a must for someone with compromised health. They can be ordered online or purchased for less at Costco, etc. I love the new dusters that come in all lengths and act as dirt magnets, although I do miss the swish and flow of the old feather dusters. Alas, all they did was move the dirt and dust to new locations and that’s won’t do when there’s enough dog hair on everything to grow a new dog. I guess we could pile it all up, wrap it in tape and call it “Dusty.” It would be nice to have a dog who behaves, just once.

I am overwhelmed by the need to get some of this mess organized. Our house is not large and I fear if I don’t get on top of this accumulation of “stuff” that one day I will be unable to find my way to the bathroom. I’ll have to tie balloons on the various doorways to find my way, but I digress. I like the large covered plastic containers you can shove under the bed and bought wooden risers for the bed legs in our guest room to make more space for toys, wrapping paper and that huge down comforter that seems to explode every time I try to confine it. We also use the large containers in the basement, often labeled, so we can navigate through the organized mess at Christmas time. I love decorative tins of all sizes as well as large baskets for floors or hanging. Those large colorful tins that once held immense amounts of popcorn are great for sewing odd and ends. There’s a basket in the kitchen that cradles all of the attachments for my Kitchen Aid mixer. Life can truly be an adventure and there’s no reason it can’t be colorful and esthetically pleasing as well. I love to mix the practical with the pretty.

Spring fever is an old term we often bandy about but it means different things to different people. For me it means primroses, blooming rhodies, blazing azaleas, checking the cupboard for outdated medications and food as well as cleaning out the freezer of any freezer burned foods. I remember many years ago my parents bought a home in Southern California. It was a lovely little Cape Cod-style house and the previous owners had lived there for many years. As I recall, she was a member of the Gerber baby food family. Well, they left an old freezer in the garage as part of the sale of the house. There was fish in that freezer, caught years before. It was all labeled with the dates and I must say, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever held a slab of frozen trout caught in 1935. I worry if food is in the freezer longer than 6 months. I think the unofficial rules are shorter times for meat, longer times for professionally packaged veggies and bread, well, it freezer burns very quickly. Our local seagulls don’t seem to care if the bread they get is freezer burned.

The searing question in all of this is, “Where do you get the energy to do all this?” The answer is, “I don’t, but I do have enough energy for one project.” The days of Mary Poppins and any magic accomplishments are long over but that’s okay. I just call it exercise and get out the cleaning equipment, de-scum one cupboard at a time or carry out one load to the trash or if it’s usable, drive over to Goodwill. As you all know, I follow the same pattern you do which is to work, then rest. Shop, then rest and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. I still “own” my life, my clutter, my home, my freezer and my body. I’m not ready to give any of that up to someone else. Would I still be me if I did?

Naturally, we all go “too far” at times. We recover, depending on how far that was. We may have to rest two days to have one day of accomplishment. Sometimes when I survey all around me in my cave I hear my mother’s voice, “Sue, what would people think?” I have to reply, “Mom, I don’t care what anyone else thinks about my life. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.” I’m dancing as fast as I can.

So, maybe it is a waltz and not rock n’ roll but that’s okay, too.

Last Updated:5/6/2010
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Date: 11.12.2018, 04:55 / Views: 92192