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Blogging By the Sea
Wednesday, September 11 2013

Back when I was a child, my grandmother would sponge leftover breakfast off my face with a spit dampened handkerchief and call it a “lick and a promise.” When applied to me in the entryway to our church, it meant I’d get a bath come bedtime. She also used that phrase in relation to housecleaning when passing a hasty duster over all the flat surfaces in her home on the unexpected arrival of guests or giving the kitchen a cursory cleaning before hurrying out the door for work. Of course my grandmother backed that up with a day of hard labor on Saturdays and ultimately with thorough spring and fall cleanings. I often think of her as I give my house a “lick and a promise” and hurry off to do something more interesting or fun. I haven’t done a spring or fall cleaning in my lifetime and I don’t usually back it up with a Saturday dedicated to cleaning the house, either.

Instead, my housecleaning seems to take on all the aspects of classic military mission creep. Like this past week, the day I needed to toss a few clothes in the washer before I ran out of clean underwear. Since my bed hadn’t been made yet anyway, I figured I might as well wash the sheets while I was at it. The mattress cover was cockeyed so I go to straighten it and notice how much dust has accumulated between upright posts of the bedframe. Didn’t I just clean that when my kids were here? Oh, wait! That was Christmas! Have I really been sleeping next to all this crud for the better part of a year?

I get the cleaning stuff out and begin running a rag between each of the posts. I love my bed, but it’s not the easiest to clean... and I realize I need to push the bed away from the wall to get at the backside. Which leads to the revelation that the dust on the under-bed storage bins is thick enough to write love letters in. Which further leads to the need to go unearth my vacuum from the over-full storage closet and suck up all the dust bunnies that have grown into lions. By now I have pretty much all the usual cleaning supplies gathered around me and I’ve succumbed to the inevitability of cleaning the entire bedroom. Which means taking down the curtains. All the time ignoring the nagging thought that it just might be dust I’m allergic to.

Hauling down the curtains reminds me that the rods are rusty and I’ve been meaning to replace them. They are rusty because I hate to turn on the AC and prefer to open my windows, which, lets in all the salt air along with the sound and scent of the sea.

“Hey, Duff? Wanna go for a ride?” Duffy loves to ride in the car, whatever the excuse! So, off we go to Home Depot where I find wooden rods with totally hidden hardware. Perfect! Back home, I hunt down all the required tools and begin that project. I’m already a long way beyond my original intention to do the laundry, but as the afternoon wears on, I come upon the stash of totes I hadn’t put away when I got home from summer in New England. I carry them to the storage closet. Which requires me to stop and organize that because I’d left everything pulled out of place when I went after the vacuum cleaner. The big duffle bags I’d shoved under the bed go out to the car to be taken back to my storage unit until next summer. A folder of mail buried under the cushions on the window seat gets taken to my desk and checked to make sure there isn’t something in it that should have been attended to weeks ago. All the odds and ends retrieved from the nooks and crannies of my suitcase and dumped on the bureau get dealt with. The stack of books I’d read but never put away are removed from the bedside table and re-shelved in the library. I replace the white duct tape I use to protect the leading edges of the cheap fan blades (But that’s a whole ‘nother story) in the ceiling fan. I even replace the dead bulb over the bathroom mirror and clean the bathroom.

  By now it is well past three in the afternoon. I never did stop for lunch. I missed low tide and our usual walk on the beach. And I didn’t get the bills paid, which was my intention for the day. BUT! When all is reassembled, the room looks bright, clean and tidy. The new curtain rods are perfect. The air still has a hint of salt, but if dust is what I’m allergic to, I’ll sleep better tonight. And I’m almost certain my grandmother is smiling in approval.

Posted by: Skye AT 01:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 03 2013

After a busy summer visiting family and rusticating on our island in New Hampshire, I am back in the land of running water and hot showers. Everyone around me is pining for cooler fall weather, but I’m soaking up the heat and loving every minute of it. Perhaps they should spend a week or six sleeping in a tent with nighttime temps dipping low enough to necessitate the use of L.L. Bean’s finest winter-weight sleeping bags. Or taking a bath in water that makes one gasp on first contact. Anyway, I am happy to be home in my bungalow by the sea, enjoying the sun, and walking on the beach every day.

The deadline for my first sale to Bell Books was September 1st, so I was pretty busy finishing that project my first couple weeks at home. I also had my writer’s chapter checkbook to balance and a monthly treasurer’s report to submit, a meeting to attend and two doctor’s appointments. In a rush to get to one of those appointments on time, I grabbed a bottle of shampoo my sister had passed on to me and proceeded to squirt a healthy dollop onto my head.

Those of you who’ve been following this blog awhile might recall the post about my sister who celebrated her arrival at the big five-oh, by opting to color her hair. NOT coloring to cover the ever-increasing gray, but to add a flamboyant and totally unnatural tint to her locks. It’s been orange, purple, green, blue and pink. On the day I wrote of earlier, Sarah arrived on the island in a downpour, by rowboat (of course) with rivers of blue running down her face and into her shirt.

So perhaps you can imagine my horror when I gazed down into the sink to see this:

  Sarah’s not the type to pull pranks, but just what was in that bottle of hand-me-down shampoo? I know I’m old enough to be in the “blue-hair” set, but please! Not this shade of blue. A glance in the mirror wasn’t reassuring. I snatched the bottle off the counter. “Color enhancing” read the label. “Helps to remove dulling residue to reveal luminous silver strands.” Well, that didn’t sound too threatening. I started to breathe again. I rinsed, praying I wasn’t going to have to show up for my annual physical with a blue do. My doctor is a very patient man, but explaining my sister might take more time than he had to spare. The conditioner was far duller than the shampoo, but still very definitely blue. I rinsed thoroughly. And rinsed again. Rinsed a third time. I have white towels – no need for everything to turn blue...

To my everlasting relief, my hair came out pretty much as it always does, a heathery mix of sun-streaked blond, hints of my once rich brunette, and far too much gray...I mean silver. Silver sounds so much nicer than gray, don’t you think? Maybe I should keep the stuff after all.

Posted by: Skye AT 01:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida

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