Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Put Down That Q-Tip and Step Away from the Window

The Blue Sky Jeered: “Nanny, Nanny, Boo-Boo”
Setting Priorities on a January Day

I don’t know about you, but the first thing my houseguests check is the windowsills. That’s after they’ve inspected the bathroom corners, which, of course, I have disinfected to the point of being surgery-ready.
This is precisely why on a recent Sunday I spent an hour cleaning the windowsill in my bedroom. It’s a north-facing window that gets no sunshine, and when I opened it the other day, I spied mold. “Horrors!” I thought. “I have to clean this right away. I have company coming in three weeks.” I opened the window wide and the area behind it where the screen is attached had corners globbed with black goo. Dots of the foul stuff were festering on the screen frame. I got to work.

Bleach spray in hand, I sprayed and wiped. I couldn’t reach the corners and I couldn’t get into the edges where the screen met the frame. “This is a job for Q-Tips,” I said aloud. I got out a fistful of swabs and set to removing every spec of grime, dust, dirt, and spider web.
I knew the job would be much easier and quicker if I simply removed the screen. I would have easy access to every nook and cranny because the screen created each of those nooks and crannies. However, I remembered that my screens are part of a Mensa-inspired puzzle; once the screens are removed, they cannot be refitted properly. It makes no sense, but it’s true. I have the mosquito bite scars to prove it from past failed attempts.

It was of utmost importance that I get the area cleaned. I was positive that at one point three weeks from now, someone would go into my bedroom, move my rocking chair, part the curtains, open the window, and spy the mold. It was a dirty job, but it had to be done, never mind that stain on the living room carpet the size of Rhode Island. I have my priorities.
Even on a beautiful January day in Central Florida, I have my priorities. Unfortunately, I was looking through the screen, so I saw that beautiful Florida day. I saw the blue sky, I saw the poufs of clouds. I felt the warm air. I sprayed some more bleach and picked up another Q-Tip. I felt harassed and heckled each time I lifted my eyes from the grunge and looked out the window. The blue sky started jeering “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo,” at me for being inside and cleaning.

“I’d Like to Buy a Day.”
“No, You Can’t.”

The day was so perfect that the frigid folks in New England would be dancing in the streets, flinging aside coats, hats, mittens, some even stripping down to their long Johns. It was the kind of day that if a Wheel of Weather game existed, someone with a huge stash of cash would say, “I’d like to buy this day.” But this day was so spectacular, they’d be told, “Sorry, you can’t afford it.”
I ignored the taunts and plunged ahead. I decided that if only I had a bamboo skewer from the kitchen, I could make short work of the job. I could get into the tiniest of crevices and be certain every centimeter was clean, really clean.
I got up and started to turn toward the kitchen. As I did, I heard a mocking voice coming from the window. “Nanny, nanny . . .”
“Oh, hush!” I said. I tossed the cotton swabs, paper towels, and blackened, bleach-soaked rag into the trash. “I don’t have to buy a day. It’s mine for the taking. I win.”
I got dressed, left my room, left my house, and went out to meet that sky.

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