Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cleaning is a gateway drug

There's talk lately of a surge in the idea of legalizing marijuana, and it's brought up all the old arguments about pot being a gateway drug. I have little concern over whether pot is legalized.

I guess we could make some tax money off sales and maybe save some money on enforcement. It's not like it's not going to be grown and consumed anyway. Will it lead to people doing harder drugs? I don't know.

What I do know is that cleaning is a greater danger to us all. If there ever was a gateway drug, it's cleaning and, sadly, I see no groundswell of support for an Anti-Cleaning Czar to be appointed. I would make a great Anti-Cleaning Czar. Any kind of czar, really.

But back to my case that cleaning is a horrible, terrible, life-altering gateway drug.

This morning, I was doing my thing, gauging just where my benign neglect of the household chores was showing most. I decided it was the kitchen floor. So I set about to rectify the situation. My mistake was starting under the kitchen counter.

The floor there wasn't so bad, but as I approached the area, I was reminded of some dust particulates that had materialized on the actual counter this week. While I don't really know where the stuff came from, I suspected downward drift from the woodwork that trimmed out the wall that used to be there and now lets you eat cereal while talking (and viewing) someone in the living room.

So I got up on the barstool and wiped it down. No. I don't remember the last time I did that. But cleaning up there led to the counter and tile work, and that led me face to face with the wall under the counter where you prop or kick or swipe your feet while sitting there eating your cereal and talking to folks in the living room.

I have attempted to clean that portion of the wall many times, but it resists my efforts. What else is a girl to do but paint over it?

That's right. I went downstairs and unearthed the paint can our remodeling crew had used 11 years ago. It was labeled kitchen paint. It wouldn't last forever. In fact, it had a covering not unlike the film that settles over a pot of Jasonville-made potato soup that's sat out too long. Or oyster stew. Or any soup my mother made. I'm sure she used Crisco in everything.

Underneath that skin -- which was kind of gross if you must know -- was paint segregated from its oil as solidly as the South before Rosa Parks and Company set things right.

But I was high on cleaning. Nothing bothered me. I skinned that film and stirred that paint to within an inch of its life. I brought it back upstairs and commenced to doing my best impersonation of Tom Sawyer.

And yes, Alison fell for it.

She helped quite a bit but was more interested in getting back on the roof. We'd spent part of yesterday putting up Christmas lights, and she had scampered up the ladder after me. Painting was fun, but not as much fun as the roof, she said.

We painted until Jeff got home. He's never impressed with my spotaneous home improvement projects, and pointed out that I was going to have to finish the upper part of the wall because, well, it was connected to the lower area I'd started with.

Well that led to the next wall over because I got a little over zealous with the stroking. And that led to the wall next to that where the big-ass refrigerator is.

I could see the fear hiding on Jeff's face. It wasn't doing a very good job of just standing behind the disgust and frustration. In fact, it was jumping up and down, saying, "Goddammit Cheryl, I helped with the lights yesterday. I'm not moving that damn refrigerator today."

But like a goood soldier (or rehab nurse) he just let me work it out. Clever me, I painted above and beside the fridge.

"It's not moving for a long, long time," I said. "No one's going to know I haven't painted the whole wall."

Note to anyone who visits: You'd better damn compliment (or ignore) the state of my kitchen walls next time you're over. I don't need the compliments (which are richly deserved) and I sure don't need him to hear you point out the flaws. And don't even think about trying sneak a peek behind the fridge.

There's nothing there for you to see, see. It's all just shiny and white in and around there now.

I never did get back to the rest of the floor.

And I rest my case about cleaning being worse than pot. It seems all innocent and all, but then it gets you hooked on the chore one level up. And then before you know it, you're onto something else!

I guess the good thing about being addicted to cleaning is you don't get the munchies after so there's no weight gain. You do, however, find yourself noting other places that need work once you sober up.

Alison has already pointed out the need to repaint the walls going downstairs. I'm thinking about something bold... Don't tell Jeff.

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