Yesterday, my house was cleaned by a team of three hard-working professional house-cleaners. They’ve been cleaning my house once a month for several years. You might think that cleaning house once a month is not exactly exemplary, but I do the everyday jobs myself.
Although dusting furniture is one of my least favorite tasks, it’s a good way to locate things I’ve misplaced and forgotten about. “Oh that’s where my scissors went.” Vacuuming is something I should do more often than I do, because of the dog hair, but it’s quite doable by a blind person. It’s done better if I’m barefoot, because I can detect places I’ve missed that way. I work in a line by line pattern, much the same as you would mow your grass. Because I don’t have the benefit of spotting dirt or stains, I try to keep my housekeeping chores on a schedule. Run the sweeper on certain days. Clean the bathroom on certain days. Other tasks are done according to when I am expecting other people to be in my house. I wash windows when I’m expecting house guests, because they would have more time to notice if they were dirty. I like to have the kitchen sink cleared of dishes and shiny clean before I go to bed or when I leave the house. “What if something should happen and EMT’s should have to be in my house?” My house may not be, and probably isn’t, spotless, but I can’t stand clutter. Clutter, for a blind person, makes life more frustrating than it has to be. My husband was constantly leaving papers, envelopes, receipts, magazines, and other unidentifiable trash around the house. I couldn’t throw anything away, because it might be important. Once a month, when I had reached my boiling point, I’d stomp through the house and gather all the unidentifiables into a grocery sack for him to go through. I recall the time he was sure I had thrown out his tickets to a Bengal’s game, but upon cleaning out the clutter bag, much to my relief, he found them there. How could I know they were worth a fortune, when they were mixed in with old receipts, bills, and ads? As a neatnik, I know that I’m disgustingly diligent about putting things away. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” said my neatnik mother. As soon as I get home from one event, I empty my purse or back pack from that day and prepare the following day’s purse or back pack. My shoes get stowed in their proper cubby in my closet. New mail goes into a box to be read on Fridays with my human reader. Dishes are placed in the dishwasher after each meal or snack. Keys are dropped into a dish, just for that purpose, right inside the front door.
There are some tasks around the house that I just can’t do. When my kids were little, I’d pay them a nickel for each smudge they’d clean off the walls, especially in the kitchen. Marks on walls, stains on countertops, cobwebs, and spots on the carpets have gone unnoticed since my kids have grown up and moved away.
I thought I was doing a satisfactory job of keeping my house presentable, until I heard my friend talking about her father who is 100 years old and doesn’t see very well. She told me that because he doesn’t see the dirt in his house, she has insisted that he hire someone to come in and clean. My cousin told me that when she visited my mother, back when she lived in her own house, that the kitchen was in bad need of a scrubbing, because my mother couldn’t see the stains above the sink. Could they have just as well been talking about me? I new it was the right decision to hire house-cleaning help when my daughter came for a visit the day after they had cleaned. “Your house looks great!” she exclaimed. “The patio doors are just sparkling!” Sold. Sometimes we just have to admit that we can’t do everything.