Not deferential enough: The Tingle

Posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in Opinion

Not deferential enough: The Tingle

by Gina Hamilton

It's spring, and the middle-aged woman's fancy lightly turns (or perhaps heavily turns) to spring cleaning, also known at Turning Tide Cottage as the Tingle.

What that means, usually, is that everyone else makes himself scarce. And I use that pronoun advisedly.

I'm a random housekeeper most of the year. I do dishes every day and clean counters in the kitchen, and scrub toilets, sinks and tubs about once a week, make my bed every day, and sweep and vacuum every couple of days. I do laundry. I dust about once a week. I occasionally wash slipcovers. I clean up after the animals. In short, I do everything I must do so we aren't living in a pig-sty; but throughout the winter, I can't get too motivated to do a lot more than that. 

But come spring, I make my List. It's huge, it's comprehensive, it's elegant. It deals with absolutely everything that needs to be dealt with in the house. 

And it scares the pants off my husband and my son and heir. They always look at the List with trepidation, yea, even fear. However fearful they are, it's time. The winter-odor of dogs and cats and unwashed blankets and comforters has reached a tipping point. The weather is good; it is long past time for the screens to go back into the windows and for everything to be opened up to the sweet spring scents outdoors.

So as soon as the Easter baskets go away, the Tingle commences.

This year, I figure, it will take about 60 man-hours (or more likely, woman-hours) to complete the List. Some of it's already been done. But some of it is pretty major stuff, and so it might take longer. Walls need to be washed; acoustic tile ceilings need to come down (and ceilings painted, and walls too, probably). Floors could use refinishing, though that may wait another year. But a good scrub-brush cleaning is in order, and an application of the Orange Stuff to seal said floors. Books need to be sorted out and taken to the book sales. Rugs need to be hauled out, cleaned, put back. Furniture needs to be washed with Murphy's Oil Soap and everything needs to be exposed to the purifying effect of sunshine and sea air.

So let the Tingle commence. And by summer, Turning Tide Cottage will be very sweet and tidy, and it will be clean enough to mess up again with tomato sauce and jams and jellies. Just in time.

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