Monday, November 8, 2010

A Cleaning Frenzy

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.

9 comments:

  1. This was a great post! It makes me think of things my mom did when she would want the house in tip top shape! I think you write well and know how to tell a story. If you wrote things like this along with food posts(which you already do once in a while) I would totally read them! Or also the posts you did of the fall foliage pictures... Anyway, my point is that I will still keep reading even if you're nit blogging about food. Being a Cuban in the Midwest, I'm sure, is not all about food. :-D so don't feel bad about taking a break from recipes!

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  2. Thank you Sharline, and I'll post more pictures of my surroundings soon...some trees are completely bare now.

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  3. :) this makes me smile! I had my cleaning frenzy this weekend (my chairs are still stacked over my dining table...and for a moment I thought, perhaps I should move out for a few days to keep it this way!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Thanks for the comment Denisse. I know what you mean, and you know that as soon as those floors are sparkling someone is going to tramp on them with mud on their shoes (in my case, my husband... never fails!) LOL

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  5. Interesting post, Ivonne. It's funny to read about how our mothers & grandmothers would throw buckets of water inside the house and "go to town" mopping-lol!
    I do like the concept of de-cluttering though to freshen things up and the older I get, the less decorative things I want to add to my rooms. Of course my house, right now, is already full of paintings, hanging and leaning in every corner it seems, but that's another story!

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  6. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU?! NO WIRE HANGERS, EVER!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOL XOXOXOXOX

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  7. Did this story remind you of Mommy Dearest, dear? LOL XOXO

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  8. I always use Ajax! but we don't have any here. I have this obsession that if i don't use bleach when washing the dishes (don't have dishwasher) that they won't be clean. haha something my Mother has passed down to me!


    Ps. I put the like button like you suggested!

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  9. Our parents pass down the strangest things. I think it's safe to skip the bleach on the dishes! LOL

    I pressed your "like" button!

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