Monday, November 2, 2015

Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils

The only way I can justify not going to the Y, which is anathema to me, is to choose some big project that needs to be done around the house. And since on this second day of November the highs are to be in the mid-70's, I decided it might well be my last chance to clean windows this fall. There are five large windows like this one (Do you see the pond reflected in it?); one small kitchen window and two storm doors.
Shouldn't be that much of a chore, should it? And a few years ago it would not have been. But now I have to pace myself. I can work about an hour and then I have to stop and rest awhile. So far this morning I have cleaned the upper insides of all the windows.
The lowers tilt in for easy cleaning. (Easy?) I've done the window in the dining room and the little one in the kitchen. Before I do the others I'm going to go out and sweep the screens. That's my next task after this rest break.
The deck has been cleared of all the furniture, flower pots and Isabel Bloom statues ready for the snow shoveling Bud will do this winter. I tell him he could just let it melt, but he likes to keep it cleared off.
As I was taking pictures I noticed what looked like little foot prints on the deck. Oh, no, not the raccoons again! But it was just impressions, stains, from where fallen leaves had rested.
Tall step ladder is set up ready to do the windows on the north side. That outside cleaning will take place this afternoon when the day is at its warmest. Meantime, I'm going out to sweep those screens.
(This post is being written on the installment plan.)

Two more lowers done inside; two to go. Onions and carrots added to the roast in the oven. That is one thing I won't have to do - worry about "what's for lunch?" Once I add the potatoes after I do those last two inside lowers, lunch will take care of itself. Nothing like a one-pan, slow-cooked, pot roast meal.

We've had some frosty mornings but I moved the potted plants under the patio roof some time ago. Even the impatiens are still blooming.
And the geraniums look the best they have since I potted them in June. I think they like the cool weather.

You know the problems of cleaning windows, don't you? First off, with all the curtains and blinds open to clean them, all the dusting one needs to do shows up. There is no end to housekeeping (which is probably why I have always more or less ignored it).
Secondly, washing windows is like washing your car - it almost guarantees that it will rain. Yep, there's a 100% chance of rain in our forecast for Thursday. Oh, well, they'll look clean for a couple days at least.

When I clean windows I can't help but think of the two times I was involved in the business of new construction cleaning. The first when a fellow-employee at Graham Group in the early 90's decided she needed some extra income and wanted to know if I was interested in working with her. I was. She got a contract to do houses in a new development on the SE side of Des Moines. When it came to doing the windows one of us would take the inside the other the outside of the same window. I always thought I was particular about how well I did windows until I worked with JoAnn. I would believe I had done a good job and she'd be tapping the window pointing out a tiny smudge I'd missed on my side. That partnership only lasted a couple of months.

The second time I was the boss of my own cleaning company with the contract on a new apartment complex in Newton. There are a lot of things I remember about that experience, but the one involving window cleaning was how high up some of the second story windows were and no way to clean them from the inside. Climbing twenty feet on an aluminum ladder is something I'll never do again! (B-T-W, the cute name of my company was RILClean. A play on my initials and Real Clean.)

Getting close to time for that pot roast to come out of the oven. One more thought about clean windows: When a long-time neighbor died and his grand-daughter and family moved into his house I used to marvel at how clean the windows were. She must have cleaned them every few days. They were so clean you could see the sparkle from the highway as you went past at 55 mph.
The begonias and sprengeri in the planters on the deck rail are still hanging on. I would love to bring the asparagus fern inside for a winter house plant but I know it would just dry out and drop those little leaves all over the carpet.

It's almost three. The windows are done, the ladder is put away. I'm pooped. As Grandma Lynam used to say when she completed a task, "That's did and done." I'm just very very grateful I can still do the windows myself. I hate to think about the day when I will have to have someone else clean them for me.

One more flower photo. That 20 cent packet of zinnia seed was one heck of a bargain. I'm sure I will have all kinds of volunteer zinnias next year.
I plan to go to the Y tomorrow - right now I feel like that would be the lesser of two evils!

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