Posts Tagged ‘spring cleaning’

My favorite thoughts about spring cleaning are the opening paragraphs of The Wind in the Willows, which I will quote at length, because it is worth so doing:

The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring- cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said `Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
`This is fine!’ he said to himself. `This is better than whitewashing!’ The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

To help motivate myself to accomplish all the bother-and-blow of spring cleaning, I have proposed the following solution.  I will hire 4 boy teenagers and 4 girl teenagers to complete a series of listed tasks, in exchange for minimal amounts of money, and each task will be assigned points.  My minions will compete to complete the tasks as quickly as possible, because the person with the most points at the end wins the prize.  In order to aggravate Becky, I have separated the tasks according to stereotypical gender strengths and color-coded them pink and blue accordingly. Michael will be overseeing the gentlemen and I will be overseeing the ladies.  I am posting the two lists below so that you can tell me if I have missed anything! Also, if you think the points fail to correlate equitably, I am open to changing those too.



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I’ve had this post sitting open on my desktop for two whole days, but it is hard to write about something that is happening. The weekend, now more than over, has seen an abundance of happening. As of Friday I finished my first year of teaching (at the end of a stretched day of teaching, promotion and open house); Friday and Saturday saw the graduation of many of my close friends; I spent several evenings with Carsten’s parents (in town for his graduation); Sunday was properly opened with the first of many summer runs stretching into summer breakfasts over the newspaper.

Monday, I celebrated by a ceiling-to-floor, move-every-piece-of-furniture, Sue Card-style Spring Cleaning. This, I thought with vindication, was the cleaning I’d desperately wanted to give Took Hall, but couldn’t due to the limits of time and fingertips. The room is momentarily pristine and newly arranged to house various stacks of summer reading.

At some point during the weekend I said good-bye to teaching. I said good-bye to lesson plans, to driving to south county at 6:45am, to telling junior-highers to be quiet and keep writing. I’m sure I’ll miss it all in about a month, but for now I am happy to be facing the summer.

Summer. It has been a stress-filled time in my life the last three years. Summer jobs, in their brevity, tend to encourage the extremes of my nature. The end of August has been celebrated with tears and exhaustion. But, this summer shall be different. I’ve scrubbed the old pattern from the chalkboard, and am poised, chalk in hand, to scrawl new lines.

More will be posted on this topic later, for now it is enough to say:

Good-bye Ms. Card, I’ll see you September 2.


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