As a woman of the liberated sixties and seventies I never thought that at near sixty I would scurry to my writing device, AKA laptop to write a blog post, well hold on . . . who thought of blogs, the internet, OK other than Al Gore. But to write, in whatever modern fashion, a musing on the power of laundry and polish, that would have been unthinkable to me back in the day. Not this modern woman. And yet here I sit, a second cup of black coffee at my side having finished a round of bed changes and making my mother’s walnut furniture gleam.
I am doing this not because it is Thanksgiving or my in-laws are coming, frankly I wouldn’t do it then. I am doing it because we have rented out our house in the country and in two days the tenants arrive and I think, well they paid nearly all our yearly taxes, that is the impetus for the rental, and they should start off fresh and shiny clean.
I came up here alone as my family has other work, or they are living in another country, I bought that excuse. So here I am after enduring another torrential Hudson Valley pelting rain, house shaking thunder and horizon illuminating lighting. I am here doing housework or what used to be called women’s work. The term changed, but here I am. To be fair, normally the inside of the house falls to my husband, who the kids and I call, Mr. Itchy, since he is allergic to so much outside. But he is honestly in Cleveland and that is punishment enough, plus he returns with a check.
So I am here and happy. The wash is churning, the wood seems to smile, beaming from knot to knot, enjoying much-needed nourishment. I am about to take clippers in hand to snip bouquets for the bedrooms. There is a simple and finite sense of satisfaction that emanates from this work. I don’t think about an edit to move the sheets into passive voice or consider that repolishing the table from the right to the left would yield a more satisfactory “kick”. This is work I just do.
Now I don’t want to be disingenuous about the joy of housework; if this was all I did and did not have the interstitial moment to sit and scribble while the wash does itself, I do not think I could wax so joyful. Terrible pun but I am going to leave it in.