All the answers to life, all the information you’ll ever need to know, lies at the end of grocery store aisles. Everything from slut to straight news, from scintillating star revelations to fact-based headlines — mix thoroughly with the latest diet craze and you’re set for stress-free days, enjoyed in a gleaming-clean abode, your skinny posterior at rest in a room straight from House Beautiful.
Every grocery-store trip I make ends with me glancing through People to see what new book they’re reviewing, and Real Simple to pick up tips on housework while Spark handles checkout.
After 45 years of marriage, I know better than to mess with his skill at loading items on the conveyor belt. Instead I head for the magazine rack, occasionally buying a publication to get a sure-fire recipe or info on travel.
Recently an article with infographics caught my attention; it walked readers through steps to achieving a tidy, clean kitchen. For some reason, it hit home, especially the part about reducing clutter.
Our kitchen bar is the catch all for everything — stacks of books, an open laptop, junk mail and bills, roses from the yard with drooping faces, and business cards with dates on the back I’ve been meaning to jot down on my calendar.
Real Simple advised the first thing to do is to toss and organize. The stars must have been aligned because I took the magazine’s advice.
For days now I’ve been Susie Spotless, not just hitting the high spots but making a concerted effort to change my ways the whole house over, to put things back when I get them out, iron the shirts I take out of the dryer while they’re still damp, put my makeup away after I use it rather than leaving it scattered about, and unload the dishwasher instead of waiting two days in hope that a certain someone will assume the responsibility.
I also spent time researching the best way to get water spots off our shower doors, doing test strips with ordinary household products I had on hand. The master shower smelled like a salad bar after I rubbed it down with vinegar (didn’t work) and a half of a fresh lemon (still spotty). I opted out of adding croutons.
While I didn’t have success on the spots, I did find a product that’s supposed to work called the Bar Keepers Friend. For me that friend would be a brew — a wheat beer, but you’re not supposed to drink when you’re behind the bar, and I doubt beer poured on the shower doors would work, unless it was the ale with an attitude we had the other night after my cleaning mania ramped up and I convinced Spark we could move my home office upstairs and our guest room down before our grandkids, Miles, Reed and Phoebe came to spend the night.
This little project involved carrying hundreds of books and moving furniture, so Sunday evening we rewarded ourselves with an ale so stout it tried to climb out of the glass. It was delicious, but had a rude name I can’t print in this column. After we ate supper, we zipped home to collapse on our recliners.
Monday morning saw me back at it again. Cleaning not drinking. There were still more baseboards to do, so I started on another room, scrubbing them with a little brush to remove the grunge. I have to work fast before the neat-nik wears off.
If that happens, it’s back to the grocery store aisle. Maybe we can pick up some “Arrogant @*(#@ Ale” while we’re there. One can only hope.