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Columns

January 15, 2013

My Point Is...If Cleanliness is next to Godliness...

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Like most other people, I take some refuge in enveloping myself into certain television shows after work hours are over.

My “have to see” prime time shows include “The Good Wife,” “The Mentalist,” and my granddaughter’s latest raves, “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS.” Of course, my eyes are glued to Soapnet in the evenings for my daily dose of “The Young and Restless,” a soap opera I have watched periodically since its debut on network television many years ago, before Nikki and Victor ever met.

Palmer’s favorites include “Pawn Stars,” “Pickers,” “Moonshiners,” and most recently “Duck Dynasty.” While I find the first two interesting and can tolerate limited viewing of “Moonshiners,” I find conflict with “Duck Dynasty.” I just find no gratification in watching heavily bearded, obese men in overalls outline their lives, despite the country humor. I’d far rather be living the lives of the rich, powerful and properly spoken residents of Genoa City on my soap opera than comparing my life to “Duck Dynasty.”

Withstanding that, another show that has brought me great anguish is “Hoarders.” If I had a dollar for every person who has suggested that I “need to watch” that show, I’d easily afford a house large enough to store all my collections and treasures and “gonna do” craft projects.

Maybe being so multi-talented (cough!) is what instigates the urge to constantly collect items for my latest project. Maybe being an adult with undiagnosed ADD is another reason that these collections are spread in various storage spots.

Occasionally I reach the limit with the not-always-so-kind concerns and expressions from friends and family and dedicate myself to organizing these projects.

The problem is cleaning and me don’t get along well.

I’ve jokingly said I’m allergic to cleaning. True enough, a good round of dusting and vacuuming always winds up in a sneezing spree. I’ve sucked up socks, hair bows and many other household items into a vacuum cleaner hose and had to find a wire hanger to prod the stubborn item out. Once at The Sentinel, I was attempting to clean and just as I reaffirmed my dislike of cleaning, I sucked the cord of the blinds into the vacuum cleaner, causing the blinds to jerk sideways and nearly fall. I was immediately instructed to turn off the vacuum cleaner and resume my writing duties.

That doesn’t work at home.

With the winter season of mud in full force, mopping and vacuuming is more than a futile effort. Couple those with two-year-old Autumn playing with every toy she has on her weekend visits, keeping a walking space through the living room is next to impossible. She definitely inherited her Nana’s ability to make a mess — and tells me “made a mess” often.

My biggest problem with cleaning though is that it is never done. It’s an endless cycle, the “black hole” that has no stopping point. Example, as soon as the kitchen is clean, it’s time to start cooking again.

Another issue is that, for me, cleaning is dangerous.  

I’ve learned the secrets of kitchen safety. 1) Don’t ever lift the lid on a boiling pot without stepping back. Ditto for opening the door of the oven while you are baking. 2) Always cover frying foods that contain fat (i.e., bacon and hamburgers) with a splatter screen. 3) Group your knives together when washing dishes, and wash them separately under the faucet rather than risk getting cut while they are in the dish water. I learned this the hard way, although Mom adamantly taught me this early on. 4_ If you spill something in the floor, wipe it up immediately or you will probably slide and fall a few minutes later.

But even with all those safety measures in place, it doesn’t always save me from the physical pain, not to mention the emotional trauma.

I was carefully putting my Christmas yard decorations into my storage building recently and tripped on a board in the floor raised just a sliver above the adjoining board. As I lurched toward the large cardboard box where I store my Nativity figures, I hit the plastic container where other Christmas items are stored and I now wear two scrapes on my right shin as proof. Two days later, I was moving a partially defunct stereo and dropped one of the speakers directly on my left foot, leaving a gash. Regardless of the shoes, the slowly healing sore is where the shoes slopes downward toward the toes, catching the brunt of abuse when I walk.

Adding scratches, bruises, and various nicks on my body seems to be standard operating procedure for my cleaning efforts. I recall the expression that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” but I’ve known some people who were very clean but were not Godly at all.

But if there is some truth to that adage, I guess the good Lord will have to take my human faults into consideration and hopefully will understand.

Until then, I continue my vigil in hoping that my hatred of cleaning — especially washing dishes — will result in at least having a dishwasher someday that is not named Nita.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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