Twice this week (already) I’ve apologized to visiting friends about the state of our place. I never used to do this. It’s even my policy not to do this: I’d rather play with Amie, read a chapter of a good book, or write a couple of lines, than obsess about the dust bunnies floating free under my sofa.

My mom cleaned every day. Every day with a bucket of suds and a mop. At least the entire first floor (which spans about the surface area of our present apartment). The windows on the first and second floor were washed every week. The third floor got cleaned every month, even though no one went up there, until I took it over in my early twenties.

I used to like the smell of bleach and window cleaner (none of that stuff is allowed in my own house). The stone floor would still be shining wet and my dad would come in from the garden in his slippers, which he wore to mow the grass, dragging grass and mud across the floor. It upset me more than it did my mom.

They’re still living, just the two of them, in that +3000 sq.f. house. But my mom doesn’t clean like that anymore.  Except, I suspect, when we go there on a visit. Or maybe it is that pervasive general memory that I have of a house smelling of clean: I project it onto the factual place, which might be dusty or gritty, just a little bit, in the corners, along the edges…

Shall I do some cleaning today? Put aside the book and the blog, the journal and the laptop?

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