Cleaning up

By Barry Hill


One of my least favourite chores is cleaning.  Well when I say ‘least favourite’ I don’t actually think it is in my list of favourite chores at all.  What’s the antonym of ‘favourite?  That’s where ‘cleaning’ will be in that list.


Part of my loathing (that’s the word!) is that a lot of it is just guess work for me.  And because it is guess-work I have to make more of an effort.  For example, when I’m vacking I do one stroke then the next stroke has to overlap the first stroke, but I can’t see where that stroke was, so I just about go over the same area as the first stroke with the second stroke.  Then the third stroke just about goes where the second stroke was and so on.  Put it this way, if I was painting a wall the same, it would be an inch thick before I was done.  What could take a sighted person ten minutes takes me twenty or more. 


There’s also the problem of working around things.  As you know we have a dog.  As such we have dog toys on the floor.  I keep my shoes and boots under my bed have my talking book machine on my bedside cabinet and my computer sits on the floor next to my desk.  Dog toys have trailing tails and the like my shoes have laces my talking book has headphones and my PC has charger cables hanging off it.  Remember the vac?  Well it’s pretty vicious.  It has to be to get the dog hairs up.  However, as well as being good at pulling barbed hairs out of the carpet it’s good at eating cables, laces, headphones, and dog toys.  Sometimes I manage to wrestle the vac and get the items back unharmed but there have been many times when it’s like a useful white paper being sent to the European Parliament by a well-meaning back-bencher – All you get back is a chewed-up piece of tat that’s no use to man nor beast.


When I lived on my own with a yellow lab I thought it was a good idea to use the upright vac upright on the stairs.  Genius, eh? Well, not quite.  What I would do is to stand the vac on each step and drag it backwards and forwards.  It wasn’t until weeks later when someone asked if I was trying to turn my burgundy steps blonde that I figured out what was going wrong.  You know how the adverts for Dyson vacs brag about a million and one patents?  Well one of them might be that when you stand the vac upright the beater stops, and the suction is diverted to the hose that I’m being too lazy to wrestle with up and down the stairs. 


I’ve thought about buying one of those robot vacs.  They can detect obsticles and just vac around them.  You programme them to do the vacuuming in the middle of the night then just empty them in the morning.  They can’t do steps though, so I’d have to buy three of the buggers to do my little house.  Wonder if they can detect dead dog toys and charger cables? 


The other problem I have with cleaning is cleaning products.  We have spray bottles for this, for that, and even for the other.  I’d tell you what they are for but frankly I don’t actually know.  I suspect that if I could read the ingredients then I’d discover that they’re all similar.  Go on, have a look at yours.  In fact, my theory is that the manufacturers start off with this huge vat of clear cleaning solution that will clean just about anything then they syphon it off into 30 or 40 different smaller vats and add different perfumes and colours.  Oops, I think I might have single-handedly killed Lever Brothers. 


Got to say if it was down to me I’d use the ‘All purpose’ spray for everything.  I mean it’s all purpose so why have that and another one for cleaning windows, another one for the sink, another one for the floor, and another one for the shower.  Same with cleaning cloths.  We (and when I say ‘we’ I mean my wife) buy multi-purpose disposable cleaning cloths.  They’re great.  They clean just about anything.  But they don’t clean leather chairs, real wood furniture, screens, or my arsehole.  Oh no.  We have to get separate cloths for each of these tasks.  Granted it’s probably a good thing that we have separate ones for cleaning bums. 


Ya know I think we have at least three cupboards of cleaning products.  My granny had three cleaning products and one of those was elbow grease!


It’s not just my wife who is obsessed with cleaning products.  We bought a steam mop.  This time the royal ‘we’ is actually me.  I thought it would be easier than dragging the mop and bucket all over the house.  It is actually a lot easier than the mop and bucket and it feels quite manly operating it, but it’s not ideal mostly because we can never find the special cloth that goes on it.  Mental note: Buy more special cloths.  The other problem with it is that the bath isn’t big enough (the bath on the steamer not our bath – we don’t have one).  Consequently, there’s only enough steam in it to do the kitchen floor then we have to let it cool down before we can open the special nanny safety valve to fill it up again to clean the bathroom floor.  It takes half an hour to cool down, so a quick job takes nearly an hour.


If I win the big one the first thing I’m going to do is to employ a cleaner.  Well, maybe not the first thing.  To be honest, it will probably be on the list of things to do when I get home from the six month holiday.  Still I bet the wife will want to clean up before they come.  Well she can do it herself.






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