Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My love/hate relationship. With cleaning.

There I was, perched on the next to top rung of the step ladder, holding on for dear life while I attempted to clean the ceiling fan in my house. In the best of circumstances, my balance isn’t very good. I can fall over while striking a yoga pose in the gym. In fact, my friend, SY, had just told me about her housemaid who was on the ladder cleaning her fan when she lost her balance and snapped off a blade. So, gritting my teeth and sweating buckets, I cleaned the fan and vowed to get a part-time maid in to help me with my chores.

I can spend hours in the kitchen, preparing food and cooking. I don’t even mind the loads of dishwashing afterwards. I can also while away the day tending to my plants, and actually enjoy getting down and dirty. But ask me to sweep, vacuum and mop the floors, scrub the toilets, wipe the windows, or worse, tackle the ironing, and I balk, putting off the chores indefinitely. There was a time when I would ignore the sticky floors and wear house slippers so I wouldn’t feel them, and only clean when dust balls started to float through the house.

Now that I work from home and don't have a full-time job, I no longer have the excuse that I have no time for chores. So I try to make life as easy as possible for myself when it comes to cleaning. I call the look of my home minimalist. It basically means that I maintain very little flat space that requires dusting, and even the flat space that is available is devoid of ornaments, framed photographs and any other gewgaws that need to be dusted as well.

I swear, it gets dusty in my house the second after I wipe down all the surfaces. So I run the vacuum through the apartment indolently. I sweep with a paper mop that magically picks up all manner of dirt, dust and fluff. I grudgingly use a wet mop when the floor starts to get sticky. And even more unwillingly scrub the toilets and clean the shower stalls.

I have to admit that once I get started, I can’t stop. When I clean the kitchen shelves (very rarely) I won’t call it day until every surface is tackled and looks spick and span. It’s infinitely satisfying when I eradicate every smudge, every stain. Of course it’s not something I do every day, every week or even every month. My OCD behavior doesn’t extend to cleaning. But I knew with my advancing age, creaking joints and lack of balance, I needed outside help.

So I enlisted the help of Ifa, a part-time maid who was recommended to me by one of my neighbors. She turned out to be this tiny little young woman. She did, in fact, look like quite a babe dressed very stylishly. Admittedly I was a little dismayed because she didn’t look like she was ready for hard work.

But work she did, efficiently and methodically, and with minimal instructions from me. In just slightly more than two hours, Ifa cleaned the fans (and lights) and all the glass doors, a task that would have taken me the whole day.  She wiped down all the surfaces, swept and mopped. I immediately told her to come back regularly to tackle all the chores I so hate doing myself.

Yes, I can clean the house by myself. It’s not so big a task as to be unmanageable. Because my son, B, no longer lives with me, the apartment doesn’t look like a tornado came through it. But I have to admit that certain tasks take a toll on my body, and others like standing on a ladder reaching for the fan are beyond me. Thanks to Ifa, my relationship with cleaning can now take a break!

1 comment: