My Darling B and I each took a personal day from work to stay home yesterday and do a little spring cleaning. Yes, we know it’s January. Our house needs so much cleaning that we have to start spring cleaning in January. You’d understand if you saw our basement.
We moved for the last time in our lives eight years ago, but we still have big, plastic tubs full of stuff that we had been loading onto trucks and moving from one part of the world to the other. When we bought Our Humble O’Bode seven years ago (we bought it one year after we moved to Wisconsin; stay with me here) and busted a hernia moving all our stuff in, we promised each other that we would never move again. And so far, we have stuck to that promise. We have lived here in our little red house longer than we have ever lived in any other place, house or apartment, since we’ve been married.
But that left us with the big pile of stuff in the basement to deal with, and by “deal with” I mean ignore. I built some shelves along the walls, we stacked the tubs and boxes up on the shelves, and then we didn’t touch hardly any of it again. One of us will occasionally say something like, “We should do something about all that crap in the basement,” then pull a box down to peek inside, make a few more lame comments about “doing something,” and finally put the lid back on and put the box up again.
A few weeks ago I suggested piling it all up in the back yard, pouring gasoline over it and setting it on fire because, honestly, in eight years we have never needed any of that stuff. We hadn’t even opened some of the boxes, so could we please just get rid of them already? And B said, Tell you what: Let’s take a personal day and spend a long weekend going through a bunch of it, sorting out what we can give away and clean it up bit by bit.
And that is what we did. To maximize our long weekend, we took the day after MLK Day as our personal day, giving us a four-day weekend! Imagine all the boxes we could go through in four days! Now, imagine us sitting on our asses for three days, drinking coffee, looking at cat videos on the internet and completely ignoring all that junk in the basement, because that is how we actually spent Saturday and Sunday and a big chunk of Monday.
In the mornings we did most of our coffee-drinking and cat video-watching, because that is how we roll in the mornings. Once we’d had our fill of coffee, though, that’s when the ass-sitting got real serious. I finished a book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson (the most amazing memoir I’ve ever read in my whole damn life! You should read it. Now. Go. I’ll wait.) while My Darling B searched for and then downloaded about forty-two dozen apps for her tablet. It was an action-packed weekend here on the ranch, I can tell you.
But wait, there’s more! I spent most of Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday morning in my basement lair, playing with my toy trains. It’s a disease and I’m not proud of it, but it’s who I am and it’s not going away. I’ve learned to accept it. Also, it’s choo-choo trains! It still boggles my mind that there are people who don’t get that last part.
B had a project she had to work on Sunday and finish up on Monday, so she wasn’t there when I started cleaning up the basement by myself Monday afternoon. Only started it, mind you. Swept up the floor, really. Oh, and emptied a tub. It sounds like a whole lot more than it actually was.
But on Tuesday … ah, on Tuesday we really kicked it into gear, maybe because we work better under deadlines. B even shot steroids up her nose so her dust allergy wouldn’t leave her flat on her back. That’s how serious she was about cleaning up the basement. The few times I tiptoed down the stairs and stuck my head around the corner, she looked like the Looney Toons Tasmanian devil in there, just a big whirling dervish with arms and legs sticking out. By the time she was done, there was a big pile of stuff to cart off to the donation bins of Saint Vinnie’s, and the basement was ever so neat and tidy. Deadlines, I’m tellin’ ya.
I spent all day Tuesday in our bedroom, dusting. Really, that’s all I did, technically. Literally, I think what I was doing could be classified as earth moving. Honestly, I should have started with a shovel, but I didn’t want to scuff the floor. Instead, I started with the vacuum cleaner, because there wasn’t enough spray furniture polish in the world to pick up all that dust. After moving most of the boxes out from under the bed, though, I was frankly a little worried the vacuum cleaner might not have the horsepower I needed to finish the job.
The dust under the bed was just the beginning, however. I should have been satisfied after cleaning that up, but I had to go and move the book case, just to see what was back there, and OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS. And I should have never moved the chest of drawers.
Four hours later, after filling the vacuum cleaner and emptying the broom closet of every last cleaning rag, I was done, or at least I was done dusting. I still can’t blow my nose without getting black boogers, so I can’t really say I’m done yet.