A while back I read an article in a home decorating magazine giving advice on how the change the look of a room. CLEAN IT. Yes, this is what the article said. Well I was a little taken aback, and a bit insulted. How dare they imply that their readers kept their homes messy or worse... dirty! I continued to read the article and it said to start by throwing out/recycling all the "trash" that we let sit around, you know newspapers, unwanted mail, MAGAZINES; putting away all the stuff we let sit atop any surface... a notepad, pens, keys, a purse, reading glasses, etc. Then the cleaning..... not just the vacuuming and the mopping, or the dusting and the polishing, but clean things we often ignore: the lampshades, the LIGHT BULBS, the dust the accumulates on the edges of the baseboards, the door knobs, etc. I thought to myself "It would take a team of OCD cleaning fanatics to get it all done." Then I remembered my grandmother.
I don't know if this is just an old Cuban lady thing (my mother would do it too), but every few months my grandmother would get into a cleaning frenzy, usually on a Saturday morning. She would start by demanding that all the furniture be taken outside so that she may properly clean the floors. As children we knew to either grab a broom or get out of the way. The terrazzo floors were scrubbed with Ajax and a stiff broom. She would literally throw buckets of water on the floor and we would scrub the floors until bright and white, sweeping the water out the front door. We'd wait for the floor to dry, but this was not the end of it... next came the buffing and the waxing. (My grandmother was a Fuller Brush representative. Eventually she discovered the machines that did this work, but it wasn't enough to know that you could rent one... she bought one!) Many hours after that first bucket of water hit the floor the furniture would come back in, piece by piece, and we would plop ourselves down on the sofa with our coca-cola (to regain our strength) and glare at the shiny floors.
As the holidays approach I tend to get into a cleaning frenzy; I recall that magazine article as I walk past the lampshades, but most of all, as I stack chairs atop the dining table, I remember my grandmother and the pride she took in her clean floors.