Housekeeping in the High Plains – Forget About It!!

– L. Arthalia Cravin

This is not a socially relevant column—it’s just a distraction from the usual pricks of life that we encounter along the way. My gripe, this time, is with trying to keep a clean dust free, house. It ain’t easy.

Not too long ago a preacher suggested that the one way to stop gossip in its tracks is to tell whoever calls you with another “guess what I heard” that you have to go dust. He told the congregation that such a response would in fact be the truth because there is never a time when you cannot find dust somewhere in your house.

Last week I decided to do my annual “top to bottom” house cleaning. I took down all the curtains and washed the ones that didn’t need to be dry-cleaned. Then I cleaned all the mini-blinds. What I thought would take a half day took two days. The only way to clean mini-blinds is to either take them down and wash them outside, or spray them in place and wash each slat—one by one. If you have mini-blinds in your kitchen you have extra work to do to get rid of the grease and grime. After I cleaned the mini-blinds I took a look inside the window frames and low and behold spider webs everywhere. And I have storm windows. While I was vacuuming the spider webs from the windows I noticed spider webs in the upper corners of the walls. It got worse as I looked behind pictures and mirrors on the walls. Spider webs there too Who knew? I’ve always heard that there is a spider somewhere within 10 feet of you no matter where you sit in your house. I believe it now. You would be surprised at where you find spider webs in a house that you clean every few days. I found spider webs inside shoes that I had not worn since last year. And don’t get me started on those pesky dust bunnies that seem to accumulate everywhere—under the beds, under and behind the dressers-just about everywhere you can think of. Then there are all the fans that need cleaning every few months. If you doubt what I say, run your finger across the blade of any ceiling fan in your house and see what you get. And if the fan is near a kitchen you will get dust and grease combined—dusting alone won’t remove grime. And, if you use those little portable fans, take a look inside at all the dust on the blades and inner workings. I regularly take mine apart and clean the blades. Think that’s not all, run your finger across the top of the door trim of any door inside your house and see what you get. Do the same with any picture hanging on a wall. Dust,dust, dust.

And now to the other “dust catchers” in your house. If you have lots of whatnots on shelves, on the walls on the dresser, or wherever– these little cute “objects de art” accumulate so much dust it makes you want to just throw them away. Using a feather duster every week will not keep these things dust free. I have a neighbor who washes all of her little bells, figurines, and other ceramic gifts every year. But it gets worse. If you have books on assorted shelves and tabletops you will be shocked at the amount of dust that accumulates on top and behind your books. Try taking all the books from the shelves and dusting each one and then you’ll know why trying to keep a clean house in the High Plains is almost impossible.

What I now know after my most recent “clean house” venture is that there are levels of tolerance of dirt that we have to live by. The old white glove test where you run a gloved finger across a piece of furniture-well, that’s out. You will wear your finger out if you live in the High Plains. If you dust today, believe me you will see dust in that same spot tomorrow. I play piano and have two guitars and a ukulele and I am amazed at the amount of dust I see on instruments I play all the time—and I constantly dust them. It’s hopeless. I’ve just about given up on even trying to keep my house dust-free. No matter where I sit I now know that somewhere within five feet of me is dust. I now really appreciate what women endured during the Dust Bowl days. Just imagine removing dust from your house with a shovel. We’re not there yet, but the way the winds blow in the High Plains I keep a shovel ready.

Copyright 2012 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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