Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gird your loins and break out the feather duster

One side of the office I sit in for eight hours a day, five days a week is floor-to-ceiling windows, facing the street. The blinds are beige and all tilted at the same angle. Someone comes late at night to clean them. Someone else comes twice a year and washes the insides of the windows, then the outsides.

Dozens of beige, chest-high cubicles are laid out around the office like Tetris shapes. Someone comes by once a week and dusts the desks. My photos and calendars are askew on Wednesday mornings. Someone vacuums the carpet every night. Three times a day, someone cleans the restrooms, wiping down the granite countertops and washing the mirrors of hand-washing splatters. Someone empties the garbage and refills the towel dispensers and cleans the toilets.

Every night, someone cleans the kitchen floor and runs the dishwasher. Someone wipes down the counters and cleans the coffee pots. Each week, we rotate for kitchen duty, and someone always loads the dishwasher and refills the fridge with soda or re-stocks the granola bars and bags of chips. Every week, a janitor cleans out the refrigerators and the microwaves and someone else stocks the first aid cabinet.

Every week someone clicks a few buttons on her computer and a Costco deliveryman shows up with supplies of paper plates and plastic forks and cans of soda and bags of coffee and snacks. Someone comes through once a week and carefully dusts the plants and waters them. When a light bulb goes out, a man in a blue collared shirt shows up with a ladder and a new light bulb.

The order and sterility and beige-ness of this place is so different from my home, with its corner dustbunnies and pile of laundry on the family room floor waiting to be washed. The blinds in the kitchen need cleaning and the windows need a good wash. Cat litter migrates from the two cat boxes, onto the kitchen and bathroom floors. Hair from my morning blow-drying sessions lay on the tiles. Empty glasses and soda cans appear on all available flat surfaces.

The bathrooms need a good scrub and the shower needs a lot of attention. Laundry needs to be washed, dried, and hung up. Garbage cans are full of tissue and need emptying. The linens need to be changed and dust is building up throughout our home. Dishes are never, ever quite done, and the coffee maker needs a deep clean.

I'm making mental notes of these things, realizing while I'm no Suzy Homemaker, I'm also about to become Suzy-Who-Stays-Home-And-Writes-While-Her-Self-Sacrificing-Husband-Keeps-Working.

My excuses for not cleaning are about to become moot, and I'm realizing I am about to become my own janitor, my own window washer, my own secret magic elf who cleans the microwave when no one else is around.

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