Thursday, July 10, 2008

To Peg, The Last of the Great Housekeepers

Can you identify the object pictured to the right of this post? Me neither.
Peg and Al, God bless their souls, lived next door to us for 16 years. They were in their eighties the entire time. Peg was the last of the Great Housekeepers. She cleaned everything inside and outside of her home every single week. When I say everything, I mean she (are you sitting down) pulled the washer and dryer away from the wall every week and cleaned the walls and floors behind them.
When I said, a few posts ago, that I hadn't cleaned under my bed since the Cretaceous period, I was lying. It was the Jurassic period.
Every Saturday at about 10:30 I'd be sitting on the lanai in my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, feet up, drinking coffee and doing a crossword puzzle. She'd be on her lanai cleaning the screens, ceiling fans, ceiling, floors, windows and furniture. When she turned on her sprinkling system it was probably not so much to water the grass as it was to clean it. Made me tired just looking at her. I should have asked her if she was free on Thursdays.
I can't really say I was intimidated. You have to care one way or the other to be intimidated. As long as things are relatively tidy over at my place (meaning there's a spot to set my coffee cup down), and the dust is neat, and the cobwebs aren't hanging in anyone's face, I'm good to go. I'll clean the top of the refrigerator if a tall person is coming over.
As time progressed Peg and Al's health deteriorated. They would call 911 once or twice a week. Sometimes for Al, sometimes for Peg and sometimes for the both of them. If it was for Peg they'd usually just pack up Al and take him along for the ride.
I don't know about other places, but when you call 911 here in Palm Harbor, you get an ambulance, a giant fire truck and sometimes a police car or two. You end up with anywhere from 4 to 9 firemen and EMS folks coming in the door. Peg made them all take their boots off. It didn't matter if one or the other of them wasn't breathing. Boots off first and then CPR.
Peg and Al eventually had to sell the house and move closer to their children. The house, with the original pristine pale blue carpet was listed as " AAA picture perfect move in condition."
Last summer, Peg and Al quietly passed away within 2 months of each other.
If it is true that cleanliness is next to Godliness I know Peg is in a AAA picture perfect, move in condition place in heaven. I, on the other hand, am sitting here in my robe and fuzzy slippers hoping that God has taken working women and busy mothers into consideration and adjusted that adage to: "If your dust is neat, and your cobwebs aren't hanging in anyone's face you're still good to go."


I am Boymom said...

My Grandma was like Peg. I'm glad she's not alive to see my house, she would faint under the strain of the less than perfect vision. Oh wait! She wouldn't faint, she would pick up a mop and start cleaning, and lecture me the entire time about how I need to keep my house in better shape and talk about getting some nice curtains to cover the sliding glass door so people couldn't see my unlandscaped backyard. Gotta love'em.

MuseSwings said...

Curtains? For sliding glass doors? What a novel idea. I don't have any on mine either. After 17 years I still can't decide on a "window treatment". Thank you for stopping by! Good to see you!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Hoo boy, where to begin. This is a post I could have written (minus Peg the Perfect Housekeeper).

Books: I re-read alot. Sometimes because I am convinced there are no new books that would interest me, sometimes because I just miss the book, or the characters, or just want a guaranteed 'good read'.

Graham Greene's "Travels with my Aunt", Rumer Godden's "Greengage Summer", John Mortimer's "Summer's Lease" and all my Barbara Pym novels regularly get dusted off and re read.

I have the complete set of short stories by Somerset Maugham and they are my standard bedtime reading. I like to read his south seas tropics stories in the depths of winter, as they take me away to warm and sunny climes. Favourites include: "The Three Fat Women of Antibes" "The Winter Cruise" and "The Sanatorium".

Now as to housekeeping, I think the best thing is no bright lighting in the corners, avoid looking under the beds, and mop only when the floor gets sticky.

I do admire spic and span housekeepers though, and long to be one. Reality however has other ideas....

Esther said...

I think I'd be with you on the lanai with my feet up! A great laugh-out-loud post for someone who also hates housecleaning (that would be me :).