The Gift of Not Seeing Dirt

I could not sleep the other night and kept thinking about the freezer, go down and get berries out so you can have some with your morning yogurt. I couldn’t shake this idea and so I got up at 2 am and went down to the basement. Low and behold, there stood the upright freezer- open for 3-4 days. The interior was a nightmare of frost.

In the morning, I asked my husband if he would help me defrost it that evening. It is stuffed full of basil from our garden for making pesto in the winter- strawberries, raspberries, peaches, peppers, green beans, the list goes on. It is only one of two large freezers that we store our organic food in that we (my husband mostly) painstakingly grows all summer long. Luckily for us, we have a ton of coolers to throw these giant zip locs in of food so they don’t defrost while we execute the defrosting. I heat up pots of water on the woodstove. Carry them down the open wooden basement steps, splashing hot water on my husband’s neck who was underneath getting more coolers out! Whoops! I thought I would help- after all I DID THIS three days ago when I got out frozen food, he told me.

As Todd worked on some evening woodworking projects nearby to check on the defrosting progress, I came down with a butter knife to begin chipping off chunks and make it go faster. He yelled, “be very careful, those wires are very fragile.” It suddenly struck me, when the last time was that I had a butter knife in my hand and was defrosting a freezer. Thirty five years ago!!! I was single and had the same tool of choice in hand. That resulted in stabbing the freon container in my fridge and needing to get Mr Teter on a house call to repair it and fill it back up. My God, has it been that long since I did this chore? No wonder I stayed away after that. What a pathetic specimen of a housekeeper you are, I told myself.

I said to Todd, “Oh my God, I haven’t defrosted a fridge or a freezer since we are married.”

He said, “I know, I do it all the time.”

“How many times have you done it? I asked “and how come I don’t remember you doing it?”

“You were probably out hiking somewhere,” he replied.

I told my girlfriend Maryalice this and she laughed hard and said, “That’s why you are my hero.”

Wow, not too many would agree with that statement. Certainly not my parents who figured they failed in this department way back when I was a teen and they were still alive. My dad would follow behind me when I lived at home and say, “Cynthia, don’t you see that lint on the carpet? Pick it up when you see it.”

Dad did not believe me that I actually DID NOT SEE DIRT. I do not hold it in my mind’s eye and so it doesn’t appear. Only when I must turn my attention over to it when someone of note is coming to visit. At those times, when I vacuum the floor and dust and the guest arrives, I announce that I have not had the chance to clean (even though I just did clean- MY KIND of cleaning ) and that I am not a good housekeeper.

“My sister once got me a T-shirt that said, “A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.” You have to watch who you wear that one in front of. Women liked the one that said, “A man’s house is his castle, let him clean it.”

I guess that has been the philosophy that I have adopted. As I moped up the pools of freezing water with towels, swept the concrete floor with a dustpan and brush, I was reminded why I hate cleaning. I just don’t find it much fun. And I try to avoid activities that are not much fun.

I like to wheelbarrow firewood. I like to mow the lawn. I like to pull weeds. I always make our bed and keep the house picked up. There is magnet on my fridge that says, “I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, just not how it applies to me.” I DO like to cook, however and feel it is my responsibility as a work-at-home wife to have a good wholesome, healthy meal on the table WHEN MY MAN COMES HOME from work! I always prided myself as being a “good enough wife,” just a lousey housekeeper. I am a good homemaker I believe because we have so many who love to come to our home to visit and stay. So I would say I excel there! I am not a bad writer or photographer either and have an important message to share to the world and I do work hard at loving people and to be there for my friends. I am a very good mother too. My God, we can’t be good at everything! I selected housekeeping to be my drawback, downfall, weakness, whatever. We all have a certain amount of energy to expend in the world, on our projects, our passions. Having a floor that is so clean that you can eat off it is not my desire. I don’t sweat it and I am fortunate enough to have a husband who picks up the slack.

I like the quote as a life philosophy when it comes to cleaning or anything we don’t LOVE,

“Don’t try to be such a perfect girl, darling. Do the best you can without too much anxiety or strain.” Jesse Barnard. Now let’s go for a hike.

9 thoughts on “The Gift of Not Seeing Dirt

  1. Wow You need spellcheck I saw at least half a dozen misspelled words

    But love you being in my life by sharing your thoughts and stories

    Hugs!

    Al Sochard 603-305-1306

    >

  2. We just had a freezer story too Cindy ! Our beloved chest freezer of 44 years died last week. As I was going thru the stash, it was a trip down memory lane. I remembered picking the berries and sour cherries and processing all of our tomato products ! And I found some mysterious somethings that I composted . It was a lot of work too and Mike was out of commission due to his knee surgery (he was very happy) . I throughly enjoyed reading your story, thanks for sharing xoxo
    Annie Schnur

    • i have a good freezer story- when my dad died, and my mom was cleaning out the freezer, she found a large fish that he caught while deep sea fishing. She could not throw i out as it had dad’s handwriting on it. When she died 3 years later, we had the same fish problem and so when Sierra was born shortly afterwards, we took it and sierra’s placenta and buried it under a peach tree in our orchard to nourish it and help it grow. recycling energy and good vitamins.

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