Saturday, August 2, 2008

Technology to the Rescue

I hate housecleaning. There I’ve admitted it, right here on the world wide internet.

Like so many things that are good for you, I find washing dishes and mopping floors mind-numbing and tedious. I get no joy making stains disappear from my counter tops or removing greasy dust from my kitchen blinds. To me, scrubbing out a toilet is akin to walking forty minutes on a treadmill while staring blankly at the wall.

Still I’m honest enough to admit that cleaning is necessary. Especially at my house. My children would happily wear the same t-shirt for seven days in a row, never allowing the scent of week old sweat to bother them in the least.

Of course, these are the same kids who would literally die of thirst in front of the water dispenser if they couldn’t find a clean glass in the cupboard. Far be it from them to actually pull a used cup from the sink and wash it.

The option to quit housework is simply out of the question, and so I’ve searched for something to hold my minds attention while my hands complete their repetitious tasks.

First it was music. Upbeat dancing music to be exact and I’m not ashamed to admit that the mop made an excellent dance partner. Across the floor we’d slide my hips shaking seductively to the beat. (I’ve been told that other loose parts of my anatomy also shook in less flattering ways, but I didn’t care). That may have been the perfect solution had it not been for that darn, wet, soapy floor.

The twisted ankle did get me out of housecleaning for a good week and a half but my husband insisted I find something other than music to help me keep my home tidy.

I considered a small portable television propped up in easy view of the stove, but my family has had bad experiences with televisions and kitchen work.

When I was young and my brother just a toddler, my mother use to watch TV while she cooked dinner. The program, (I don’t know what it was, but I’ve always suspected a soap opera) was interrupted by the noisy yowling of the family cat who wanted to go out in the back yard.

Without missing a beat or taking her eyes from the screen, mom scooped up the noisy animal, opened the door, plopped it on the patio and returned to the sink. A few minutes later she was again disturbed by the sound of the cat meowing near her feet.

My mother looked down and sure enough, little Fluffy was curling around her ankles. If the cat was here then what had she put outside. Glancing at the door, she saw my little brother, his chubby hands pressed against the glass of the door, peering in at her with a look of confusion.

Television was out of the question. Then the answer came. It was perfectly simple, physically safe and not visually distracting.

Now as I clean the fridge or make the beds, I’m listening to Dean Kootz’s Odd Thomas or Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespassing on my mp3 player. Miss Marple and I solve crimes while vacuuming the stairs and if I’m feeling really intelligent, I will search for clues with Mr. Sherlock Holmes. There is no chore so icky that a little murder and mayhem won’t brighten it up.

Audio books have been my savior. I get so lost in the plot that I’ve been known to work for hours on end. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I actually find things to clean.

The only downside is that I’ve had to give up talking to my husband and children. I mean you can’t follow the story line and explain what you’re cooking for dinner all at the same time can you?

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