Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chores (Pt. 3)

Counter tops are likely to be wiped, if not wet washed or Windex-ed, unless they are buried under dirty dishes and pizza boxes. It's hard to throw your mail down on a sticky surface - although so few things come by USPS these days that it probably doesn't matter all that much. But the occasional wedding invitation or postcard from someone who's having waaaay more fun than you are deserve more than lying in last night's splashes from dinner. So, for most of us, sticky kitchen surfaces aren't an issue.

Dusting, however, is a different story entirely. Dust is one of those things your Dad's mother noticed when she was visiting your house. It's what lets you know that you really don't need to keep saving those video cassettes since you haven't touched them in 2" of light grey flakes. Changing a light bulb reveals how infrequently you get up on the ladder to wipe down the shade. TBG was driven crazy by the fact that the cleaning people did not dust the top of the refrigerator. He got over that once I made him bend down and see the world from my level and realize that neither I nor the similarly sized cleaning ladies could see the top of the fridge, nor the dust thereon.

To dust effectively, one must move the objects resting on the surface to be treated. That's ok for a coffee table (might as well go through those magazines and discard the ones from 2008) or a night stand (getting those water bottles back to the recycling bin is never a bad idea) or a desk (touching those items labeled "don't forget about this" is probably a good thing, too). But bookshelves and display shelves are more of a challenge. You can push the books back a little and dust from their new spot forward, but eventually they hit the back of the bookcase and you have to start again. Items out for display require gentle handling and usually have little pieces that are easily knocked askew when coming face to face with a dust rag. Yet, maybe the reason you sneeze every time you sit down at your desk is because those little pieces are cradling oodles of dust designed to annoy your nasal passages.

I like the idea I came up with in the Big Cuter's room, where his miniatures were on shelves surrounding his computer and the series of office chairs he killed over the years. Moving the pieces was not an option. They were arranged "just so" and the fact that I couldn't tell an Eldar from an Orc presented issues when I tried to put them back. But they were played with infrequently (though passionately) and I was rarely alerted before they were replaced on those dusty shelves. A real Mom's Dilemma. My needs vs His needs. My eyes strayed to the can of compressed air next to the keyboard, and, with a quick zetz the problem was solved. And it was fun to do.

Which is why Swiffers are so great. Remember the commercial with the woman who was Swiffering her friend's house instead of sitting at the table drinking coffee? That's me. I love the satisfaction of picking up dust and seeing it stick to the folds in the duster. The extension wand lets me clean the tops of my ceiling fans, and my contacts thank me for removing the motes which would otherwise drift into my eyeballs as the fan began to whirr. There's nothing to spray, nothing to wash or put away safely til next time - you pop it on the handle, use it and toss it. Even I, the Recycling Queen, cannot object to that bit of one-use wonderfulness.

Too bad I can't Swiffer my laundry.

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