Spring Unleashes Inner Mr(s). Clean

Kitchen i i

Laura Lorson's spotless kitchen ... while it lasts. Courtesy of Laura Lorson hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Laura Lorson
Kitchen

Laura Lorson's spotless kitchen ... while it lasts.

Courtesy of Laura Lorson
Dog by door i i

Lorson's dog, Finn, relaxes by the door, probably celebrating the fact that he didn't get swept out in the cleaning frenzy. Courtesy of Laura Lorson hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Laura Lorson
Dog by door

Lorson's dog, Finn, relaxes by the door, probably celebrating the fact that he didn't get swept out in the cleaning frenzy.

Courtesy of Laura Lorson
Laura Lorson

Laura Lorson is the local All Things Considered host for Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence. KPR/University of Kansas hide caption

itoggle caption KPR/University of Kansas

There's just something about the creeping of temperatures into the mid-60s and the desire to throw open the windows for a change that sets off a strange chain reaction in me. All of a sudden, the curtains look dusty and the floors need refinishing. The dust that has lived happily under the bed all winter is suddenly an outrage, not to be endured for one more minute. Tablecloths need to be pressed and shelf liner replaced. The gene for spring cleaning ... one that I am confident resides only on the X chromosome ... is somehow activated, and my admittedly laissez-faire attitude about housekeeping vanishes in a frenzy of waxing, polishing and airing of bed linens. The dust on the water valve beneath the toilet is not to be borne. The windows are begging me for a good scrub and exfoliation, and possibly a heated-stone massage. The doldrums and concomitant grime of the winter collectively quake under my gaze, knowing they have no chance at all against me and my bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap.

What looked impossible, Sisyphean, and pointless in January suddenly seems possible. It's like President Obama showed up, elbowing aside the lazier angels of my nature. Can I refinish the kitchen cabinets? Yes I can! Can I steam-clean the carpets? Yes I can! Can I drag myself away from reruns of NCIS to repot the houseplants? Yes I can!

I get home from work and notice that the kitchen floor is a disaster area. Behold! This mild-mannered homemaker who has no compunctions about employing the five-second food-on-the-floor rule, even if it means eating a bit of dog hair, turns into ... Mopgirl! With her trusty sidekick, Broomdog! My husband hardly knows what to think. One day, he leaves the companionably cluttered, reassuringly dusty house ... he returns that night to discover that he is expected to use coasters and he can bounce a quarter off the freshly sunned, hospital-cornered bed. He and the dogs meekly tiptoe around for a week, unsure if it's OK to walk on the carpets yet, afraid to be fingered as the cause of the eventual entropy that will set in around mid-June. Which, of course, it will. As it gets hotter, in high summer, I lose the will to dust. Cereal bowls will be abandoned in front of the Xbox, books will accumulate in rickety piles in random corners, and we will neglect to scrub between the bathroom vanity faucets and the backsplash. Soap scum will have its way with us. But not to worry. I'm keeping score. When the daily high temperature drops back to the mid-60s again in October, it will be time for Housecleaning, Part 2: This Time, It's Personal.

Laura Lorson is the local All Things Considered host for Kansas Public Radio in Lawrence.

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