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Monday, 16 July 2012


By Lyn Burnstine

Once, a long, long time ago, I was watching a daytime talk show – perhaps Merv Griffin’s – and a well-known actress was the guest. I’ve forgotten who it was but I’ve never forgotten what she said when the subject of housecleaning came up.

She said, “Oh, I clean – why I never go by the pictures in the hallway but what I run my finger along the tops of the frames.”

I yelled at the TV screen, “Good Lord, What planet are you from, Lady? You think that’s cleaning? Running your finger over the rim of a frame?”

I was then a young wife and mother and in a period of my life when I maintained a seven-room house plus basement – cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, sewing, chauffeuring and shopping for a family of five and a cat - mostly by myself.

Segue to many years later. I am in a small apartment with a not-very-competent, occasional cleaning lady because I’m working outside the home now supporting myself as well as having acquired some further disabling effects from decades of rheumatoid arthritis.

Daughter #1 says to daughter #2: “Ya’ know, I don’t think Mom sees as well as she did – her house is not as clean as it used to be.”

Daughter #2 told me about the comment, laughing, because she sensed the answer.

I laughed, too, and replied, “Yes, it’s true that I can’t see as well. However, the reason it is dirty is that I just don’t give a hoot any more. The blessed bonus is that I can’t see it, anyway.”

I think of those two episodes often these days as I run a piece of wet paper towel over the rims of my picture frames that my wonderful angel aide had to skip because she has only three hours a week to do almost everything I used to do –laundry, garbage, changing linens, vacuuming, dusting, polishing silver, organizing and cleaning closets, scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen (including the refrigerator, stove and small appliances) and sometimes washing dishes and grocery shopping.

Lucky me! Who cares if she misses a picture frame or two?

My most frequent mantra these days is, “If Jill doesn’t do it, it doesn’t get done.” Oh, and by the way, I can see clearly since my cataract surgeries, so I would notice.

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I can really relate. As a widower with a house for sale before I exit I do a room to room inspection. I have to cats so I must ensure the house does NOT smell of cats.
House for sale in order to move in with ESGF


My helpful tip of the day is to keep 4 or 5 Get Well cards scattered around your living room so everyone who visits will think you have been sick and couldn't clean.

If your house is too clean, no one will invite you over.
It is as good an excuse as any.

Lyn, my friend walked in when I was washing the kitchen floor on my knees. She said "Do you think your husband loves you more for doing that?" That was the beginning of my decline into
being a slug.

Oh I just love the post and the comments - years ago Quentin Crisp wrote "The secret to never doing housework is just not to lose your nerve" - how true is that! But I have to admit I do sometimes lose my nerve and have a cleaning blitz usually when family are expected. Don't want them to think I can't do it and they don't believe I won't do it!

Thanks for reading and commenting. We do become smarter as we get older, don't we?

I unfortunately have never kept an immaculate house. Running 3 businesses, taking care of Dad, plus trying to just spend time at the kid's functions gives me only so much time in a day. I used to feel guilty until one day when I thought about my mom's house, I remembered she always had a teen girl come in to help out. Yet I grew up thinking that a woman should take care of her house herself because that's what everybody does. Finally I got tired of trying to do it all and strove for balance. I figure if people don't come and visit me because of me, then the heck with it. Good post. Very thought provoking.

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