Clean by the numbers

Today’s might seem like a mundane topic. I chose it for several reasons. For one, this blog is about language and life and sometimes life is, well, mundane. Thank goodness. The second reason is that it gives me a chance to mix a few numbers in with the words for a change.

We have been in our house 20 years this month. Our house was built in 1912. Much like a 98-year-old person, a 98-year-old house needs a lot of care and attention, even if the results aren’t readily visible.

The big news for us is that, after two homes and almost 25 years of marriage—including 25 sweltering summers in the swampy Washington, D.C. area—we are soon going to get central air conditioning. We will also be waterproofing our damp basement. Big dollars, little aesthetic value, but a welcome change.

Those of you who know me personally know I am a clean freak. My fastidiousness is outdone only by my germophobia. Even so, there are areas within this 98-year-old house that get neglected.

Saturday I spent six hours cleaning the basement, five of which were spent scrubbing the cement floor.

As I view all unpleasant tasks as learning experiences, I thought I would share with you what I learned on Saturday.

  1. Five hours of basement mopping burn as many calories, and yield as many sore muscles, as three months of Jazzercise.
  2. A new sponge mop is good for two to three basement cleanings. When you haven’t cleaned the basement in three years, the equation is: 1 mop = 3/4 of a  cleaning.
  3. Eradicating visible mold from concrete walls takes one-half of a large bottle of Tilex and two gallons of elbow grease.
  4. The drip pan of a dehumidifier should be cleaned more often than once every 20 years.
  5. When a husband comes downstairs to “help,” his patience with your goals and methods lasts approximately 15 minutes, fewer if you have been off coffee for 15 days. Never mind how I know this.
  6. Even though we had only one child, we will have enough toys, books, games, puzzles, art supplies and Pez dispensers for 12 grandchildren.
  7. The moment you empty two litter boxes is the same moment in which two cats hear a call of nature.
  8. Finally, if you “accidentally” suck crickets into a vacuum cleaner, they will continue to chirp for up to 45 minutes.


Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas

3 responses to “Clean by the numbers

  1. Jo

    I think there must be a 12-step program for you somewhere… don’t you know that basements are supposed to be creepy? Following your reasoning, I’d have to toss out those sticky pest strips that hold the remains of countless crazy- hopping camel crickets I’ve been admiring for months.

  2. Did not know about the crickets but I have personal experience with #1. I can play tennis all day long, but cleaning house wears me out!

  3. elaine Krauss, Richmond

    I have actually seen that happen so many times (#7) as a past cat owner and dog/cat sitter!! ohyezz.

    and as for that other blog , about l800 centurywords….glad they have ALL been phased out!! our generation will have to tend with: “I feel Snooki” I suppose.

    this is new for me…replying to your blog…I hope it came through…. Elaine

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