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Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Art of Spring Cleaning

April is always an emotional rollercoaster month for me of joy mixed with tears. 

I LOVE it because my birthday is this month and I believe in celebrating it as it is the ONE day of the year that is MINE.  With that also comes Easter, spring flowers and showers, beautiful green grass, the need to start planting and clearing out the weeds in the yard, laying new soil or mulch, etc. etc.  All Good.

April is also my grandmother's month.  Her birthday is a few days after mine so she and I would always celebrate together... and I loved that because I adored her.  It made us special.  Despite her being gone now (thus the tears), the depth of my love for her and her impact on my life is still amazing to me.  She was/is my person.  My "Go-To" and my heart.  And SPRING was her favorite time of year!  This was when she'd launch into SPRING CLEANING...

Gram LOVED to clean her house in the Spring.  Pretty much anytime really but especially this time of year.  She couldn't wait to open the windows and clean those sills and the windows themselves with soap and water until they sparkled.  Then she'd have Pap wash down the screens that had been in storage and hang them.  But the work didn't stop there.  No, that was just the beginning. 

Gram and Pap would LITERALLY start cleaning their home from top to bottom, inside then out.  Gram would "start high" because the dust would drop down.  She'd climb up on chairs and take apart the ceiling fans and light fixtures washing each piece in the sink.  All curtains and lamp shades would come down for their cleaning.  She'd assign Pap the wall washing and baseboard cleaning... and if he missed anything - NO supper!  That was her grinning threat.  He'd look hurt but then would grin right back at her with an "Okay sweetie, I'll do it good."

They'd tackle the vents and ductwork blowing them out and washing the vents in the sink also.  All bedding would come off and head for washing machine.  That meant the pillows too.  Pap would lift up the mattress and Gram would vacuum and clean the box springs and bed frames.  She'd also vacuum under the bed and he'd be responsible for the walls and baseboards around and behind the beds.  Once that was in process, they'd pull EVERYTHING out of the closets.  All clothes, shoes, etc. until it was empty.  Gram would start sorting and Pap would clean the closets themselves.  The clothing would be placed in piles - some going to the needy, some to storage, and ALL going into the wash.  This was the time of year when Gram wouldn't use the dryer.  Nope.  EVERYTHING would go from the wash to the clothing lines in the yard... "so they would smell good!"  And they did.

After each bedroom was complete, they'd hit the hallway and bathrooms then the living room.  The cushions on the couches would be beaten outside and set out for a few hours to take in the sun and breeze.  Now they'd tackle the kitchen.  First the stove and refridgerator had to be pulled out so the floors could be cleaned along with the outside of both appliances.  Next Pap would set to work taking the stove apart and cleaning it while Gram would clean her fridge.  Once complete, they'd begin with all the kitchen cabinets.  Pap would wash them down with Murphy's Oil Soap and water while Gram would empty them.  Pap would wash the inside and Gram would lay down a new liner and then replace the contents.  If anything looked dusty or sticky, it too would go into the sink for a bath before going into the cabinet.  Then when they'd literally gone through everything, Gram would clean her floor.

Once the upstairs was done, they'd start the trek downstairs into the live in basement where they did their cooking and canning.  Same process.  And of course, once the inside was done then they'd work outside.  Pap would wash down the siding of their home and paint the window sills, etc. while Gram started ironing.  She'd have an enormous basket by now!  She'd hang her curtains while they were still a little damp - that was a secret!  She didn't have to iron them if she did that!  But she'd iron the sheets and pillow cases, all those clothes before going back into the closets and drawers, etc.  Even the things going to the church for the poor... all would be pressed and ready.

Of course this was a several day process but when they were done, that little West Virginia house would SPARKLE.  It was a true labor of love.

Every nook and cranny.  Every light switch and fixture.  Every appliance.  Every article of clothing and pair of shoes.  Every tool - including the lawn mower would get a bath and a tune up.

And they would NEVER complain or grumble.  They LOVED doing it.  They loved doing it together.  They were a team and they enjoyed every minute of it.

They built their home brick by brick.  Gram designed it - where she wanted each room and how she wanted it laid out - and Pap built it with his friends and family.  They took pride in their home and with their belongings.  They were HAPPY... alwaysThey truly made Spring Cleaning into an art form that is now a memory I cherish and a reminder to not take even the smallest thing for granted.  Nothing escaped their loving touch and polish.

They had a vision for their lives and they made their dream come true.  And from the beginning, they cherished their dream, cherished what they had.  They recognized their blessings.

I used to ask Gram and Pap around their birthdays if they wanted anything?  What could I get them as a gift?

Pap would wink and say "I have everything right here.  I have my sweetie, a roof over my head, and food on the table."  Gram would squeeze my hand and generally say "I have what I want" as she'd start fixing me something to eat. 

And they did.

As we all work to achieve it's good I think to separate and distinguish between "things we may want" and our DREAM: with our calling or our VISION for our lives and "things we don't have."  There's a difference between acquiring more stuff and what we need in our lives to be happy and whole.  When you consider your vision for yourself, I'd encourage you to look around at what you may already have... you might be surprised to find that you already have what you need.  It may simply need a little loving polish and some spring cleaning.

I'm starting today.  One room at a time.  ;)



Jerri said...

I am starting today, one room ay a time!
Thanks for the motivation. I generally don't like to do it by myself, I do like the team thing, but I really do like having it done. Funny I always start in the closets {you know all organized and a place to put each thing}! LOL HAPPY SPRING CLEANING AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY EARLY!!!!!!!

Jerri said...

P.S. Remember being in that live in basement and upstairs kitchen!

Unknown said...

You've captured their labor of love beautifully... and after they did their own little castle, they would trounce on over to my house and start on it! I LOVED it, and also enjoyed working with either of them because their cleaning "BUG" was the kind of bug everyone was willing to "catch".:D I was truly blessed by them. They, and I LOVED the smell and sparkle of CLEAN! LOVE YOU MOST...their daughter-in-law.