What else would I be doing at 8:45 a.m. on New Year’s Day?
Why, washing our ancient, battered hallway kilim (a flat-weave antique rug) in the bathtub, of course! (No, really….Woolite, warm water, handle gently as wet wool, especially old fibers, is fragile. Think of it as a very large sweater. After it dries, it has the softness and sheen of new wool.)
I am ferocious about doing housework. I do it daily. I share and work at home in a one-bedroom apartment: no kids, no pets, one partner, who is a pretty tidy guy.
But the dust! The grime! The shmutz!
OK, I admit it….housework combines a variety of totally alluring qualities, especially in combination, which is why I like it so much:
— It’s a free activity. All I need is some Windex, Pledge and paper towel. In a recession, on a budget, this is a relief.
— I can (and do) do it any time the mood strikes me — 6:00 a.m, midnight, whatever.
— It makes me feel virtuous. I’m inarguably doing a good thing.
— It’s exercise. (And I don’t have to leave the house to do it.)
— It produces immediate results.
— Which offer — yay! — immediate gratification.
— I know exactly what I’m doing. It’s hard to screw up scrubbing the toilet, shining mirrors, cleaning the bathtub. Unlike all the pieces of technology that keep piling up in the house (for which I am grateful), that so often confound me and tangle in a mess of charge cords, I know how to clean. I’ve been doing it for decades. I’m good at it!
— The place looks great when I’m done: shiny silver, gleaming wood, fluffy pillows, freshly ironed linens.
— It gets me away from the computer and moving.
— Work? Work? For those of us who work alone at home all day, there are very few ways to break up the day that aren’t a total, remorse-inducing time-suck. Suddenly realizing the laundry must be done thisveryminute is, I fully admit, a highly effective way to procrastinate.
I’m not doing nothing.
I’m doing housework!