Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Domestic Goddess Jane Asks, “Where Can I Return the Crown?”

 Despite the special guest appearance by Old Man Winter yesterday who briefly visited and rudely left behind a blanket of snow on the ground, it is spring.

Who made up these equinox rules anyway? Maybe back in ancient times they didn’t have snow, let alone snow in March. Or maybe those wacky calendar inventors drank a little too much grog the day they decided that spring should officially arrive on March 20th. After all, what did they know – they used to think the world was flat.

But I believe everything I read, especially if it’s printed on the Shutterfly calendar my sister prepares for us every year, which has been dubbed “The Chloe Calendar” because it features my most favorite niece Gertrude. Er, I mean, Chloe. My most favorite niece Chloe.

So when I read that spring arrived March 20th, I immediately hauled out the big red bucket, bottle of Spic 'N Span and the mop. I donned those lovely yellow Playtex rubber gloves that flatter no one, although spring chickens might find them rather attractive, I suppose.  And I went to work on scrubbing the winter right out of my home.

Yeah, right. Like I’m that slap-happy about house cleaning. Ever. I tend to revolt, even when Martha Stewart-types wave their Swiffers high in the air, signifying to all domestic goddesses everywhere that Spring Cleaning has begun.

“Start Your Engines,” my foot.

I resist the urge by rolling over and burrowing even deeper under the covers. Hey, I figure if hibernation works for the polar bear, it should work for me, too. Besides, no one could ever mistake me for a “Domestic Goddess.”

Despite my efforts, I apparently came out of hibernation last weekend. I was fooled by the sunshine, even though it was still in the low 30s. So I made a “To Do” list. I started clearing the countertops of all the papers and junk that had accumulated most of the winter. I organized my shoes. I washed, dried and put away multiple loads of laundry. And I hauled out the big red bucket, bottle of Spic 'N Span and the mop and cleaned the floor like nobody’s business.

When I was all done, I heaved a satisfied sigh of relief and put away the mop for another year.

Okay, so I’m fibbing. I hire someone to wash my floors. If I did it, I’d only get halfway through before quitting. And I’d hope that no one could see the clear line of demarcation between pristine and not-so-pristine.

But what I really did was even worse.

I looked down at the tile floor that had been washed only the day before and noticed how dirty the grout was. Big mistake.

And then I found the unused tub of Mr. Clean “Magic Eraser” sponges that I’d bought on a whim the year before to see if they worked on grout.

Really big mistake.  Because they work wonders.

I never knew the grout in my home was supposed to be white. Or at least white-ish.

I could have slapped myself then. Because I realized I couldn’t stop at just a few lines of grout – I would have to clean all the grout. And we have a LOT of it. It’s in our laundry room. And our front hallway that extends in two directions and includes the half bath. And it’s in our rather large kitchen.

We also have three full baths, but I refused to even consider them. Maybe from now on I’ll only extend shower privileges to those guests who can prove that they are legally blind without their corrective lenses. That way I can avoid cleaning the grout in the bathrooms.

Nevertheless, I’d awoken this particular beast and I knew I couldn’t leave those few lines of cleaned grout amid the sea of dirty grout.

It was only then that I realized that (a) we moved into a house with dirty grout because there is no way we could have gotten it that filthy in only a year and nine months, and (b) cleaning grout should have been our first order of business after submitting our change of address card to the post office and renting the U-Haul truck.

I wondered how many people had walked into our home in the past year and nine months and cringed when they saw the dirty grout. Or, perhaps they were like me and were grout oblivious? I could only hope.

So I grumpily knelt down on the hard tile floor and started scrubbing. By the time I finished the laundry room and the entryway, I’d gone through a number of those sponges and realized that one multi-pack was not going to cut it. An imminent trip to Costco was going to be required.

Fortunately, I had reluctant reinforcements the next day and, after our trip to Costco, three of us cleaned the rest of the grout. We managed to get through all those stinking lines of grout with the Magic Erasers, although some areas received a bit less attention than they should have.

But no worries. I can take another pass at it since I still have some Magic Erasers left. And since I’m ignoring those Martha Stewart-types and making up my own Spring Cleaning rules, I’ve decided that Spring Cleaning season is not officially over until the first day of summer. So I’ve got plenty of time.

On the other hand, the next time I get the urge to try on a domestic goddess crown and clean grout, I think I’ll whip up a batch of grog instead. My knees are shot and I’d rather drink than magically erase dirt any day.

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