Remorseless, but lacks method

July 30/10 cleaning by Judith Doyle (2010)  CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr
July 30/10 cleaning by Judith Doyle (2010) CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr

By that time Sophie had swept and scrubbed herself into a state when she could hardly move. … That was Sophie’s trouble. She was remorseless, but she lacked method.

– Diana Wynne Jones, “Howl’s Moving Castle.”

Yesterday, I appeared to pledge to the internets that I would spend the weekend in a state of jellified ooze, absorbing nutrients and entertainment by osmosis, to enter of state of s(ub)lime relaxation.

That did not happen.

My parents were scheduled to return from vacation Friday afternoon. Friday morning, drinking my first cup of french pressed coffee, I noticed the bare soles of my feet made “sucking” sounds as I moved across sticky patches of the kitchen floor. “This is not good,” I thought.

As in every teen movie (possibly ever), I said to my brother, “We need to clean up before the parents return.” (The difference in this case is that we are both college-educated adults, who *should* be responsible enough to maintain a home in a relatively livable state for a week or so.) We have been washing the dishes, taking out the trash and recycling, bringing in the mail and newspaper.

But there were still drifts of detritus/crumbs/sticky spots on the kitchen table, the counters and especially, the floor. First, I cleaned off the crumbs and sticky stuff from the table and counters (figuring whatever fell onto the floor would be picked up by the vacuum.) Then, I vacuumed the kitchen floor. Finally, I spritzed the sticky spots on the kitchen floor (around the sink, fridge, stove, table, trash) with hardwood floor cleaner. Since I couldn’t find the dust mop, got on my hands and knees to wipe the floor clean with old towels.

Then I drank a 2nd cup of coffee and:
1) cleaned out the kitchen sink and backsplash
2) folded laundry
3) washed all the towels/rags I used to clean the kitchen
4) worked on my mom’s knitting project that involved double-pointed needles that had been vexing her.
“Can you take it into the knitting studio and ask for help?” she said.
“Ha, I bet I can figured it out,” I replied nonchalantly.

The process resembles what the sheep in the drawing is doing:

Alice and the Knitting Sheep by John Tenniel, from "Through the Looking Glass" (1871)  via Wikimedia Commons
Alice and the Knitting Sheep by John Tenniel, from “Through the Looking Glass” (1871) via Wikimedia Commons

After some trial and error, I finally figured it out. Working on double-pointed knitting needles (in the round) is a somewhat advanced skill. You have to be able to maintain the appropriate amount of tension on the yarn, while juggling 5 double pointed needles in a circle (instead of the just the normal two knitting needles.)

Then I realized we didn’t have anything to eat for dinner and my parents would be home in an hour! So I defrosted a package of frozen chicken quarters in the microwave (yay autodefrost poultry settings!) and threw it in the oven with garlic powder and paprika. Then I cut up a salad of cucumber, tomatoes, radishes and bell peppers.

And collapsed into a chair.

While I was pleased with my knitting victory, some edible food and a clean-ish kitchen, I was now absolutely exhausted, but still twingeing with my caffeine-induced productivity.

I took a look at the newspaper (which I finally brought it by late afternoon). My horoscope said:
“You intuitively know what to do. Pace yourself and recognize that you are not a superhero. Tonight: Know when to say, “Enough is enough.”

To which I said, “Amen.”


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