The good, the bad, and the dust bunnies

Clean.  For such a simple word it comes with an exorbitant amount of responsibility.  To keep something “clean” means it must remain free of dirt and…gulp…dust.  EEGAD!  Impossible!  Dust is everywhere!  The desire to have an eat-off-the-floor clean house is most often offset by my desire to actually enjoy living my life.  Hours toiling away, room by room, floor by floor, does not make for a happy life.  Oh I understand the need for cleanliness, but why can the job never be done?

My mother was obsessive about her cleaning.  Hmmm, come to think of it, she still is.  My mother will sit with you at the kitchen table, wet cloth in her hand, and while she is loquaciously speaking, her hand will be moving slowly in circles, seemingly cleaning of its own accord.  I recall my mother always cleaning something.  Her goal was to have the most immaculately pristine house.  “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” was the phrase she quoted.  (When I was really young I used to imagine my mom standing next to God with her handy cloth in hand.  Maybe God would have her clean heaven too since she cleaned with god-like precision.)  I had hoped that when I moved out and had a place of my own I would scour and polish with the same vim and vigour.  I didn’t inherit the obsessive cleaning gene.

The bane of my purifying existence is dust.  I can dust one room and come back an hour later and guess what?  There is a new layer of dust already starting to accumulate.  What is it about dust?

It goes back to biblical times.  Genesis 3:19 – “...for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  So according to that statement there is always someone either coming or going in my house because I have dust everywhere!  I try to ensure my home is a dust-free zone but I just can’t seem to win.  If you think regular bunnies multiply quickly you should see the dust bunnies in MY home.  They are procreating wizards.  It is for this reason that I am always on the hunt to find the newest, latest and greatest, house cleaning miracle mop / broom / cloth that will make my dust-duty bearable.

(Side note:  why is it called dusting?  Wouldn’t that mean that you are putting dust all over your house?  Why wouldn’t you call it anti-dusting or un-dusting?  Just a thought.)

To all you ad agencies spending oodles of money showing happy, smiling women and men (or children or dogs) in the act of (un)dusting…I’m watching.  I want to see the dusty grey hardwood floor suddenly have that path of brownness after the magical swish of the mop / brush goes through it.  It’s like watching Moses part the Red Sea.  A miracle!  Over-exaggerating?  Not I.  I really DO get that excited.

The Swiffer Sweeper.  This was an invention like no other!  When I first saw this advertised on tv I HAD to get one.


After I had de-dusted the apartment in record time, I made sure to tell everyone at my workplace how great it was.  I called family and friends to expound the virtues of this prodigious product.  I would excitedly mention it to strangers while shopping.  When I believe in a product I make sure everyone knows it.  No longer did I have to crawl around on the floor to scoop up dirt and hairs.  No longer did I have to keep using a brush and dust pan to scoop up dirt.  (Anyone who has used a dust pan knows there is always that wee little bit at the end that you cannot get into the pan no matter how much you try to sweep it up.)  With my Swiffer I could stand up and dance around the apartment dipping and sashaying into corners.  I had my own miracle going on.  So imagine my pure delight when they created the duster.  Wha-what?  Oh yes!  Cleaning blinds and table tops and shelves and bookcases.  The bunnies were being evicted.  No more Mrs. Nice Guy.   Bwahaha!

As time passed I bought other products on the market.  There is always something newer and better out there.  I still use the Swiffer Sweeper  and the Swiffer Duster and the Swiffer Mop.  I don’t use them as frequently since the price of the refills have gone up astronomically and also because new products have entered into my humble abode.  My cleaning artillery has grown exponentially.  These products rotate and take turns as the main warriors in my endless Battle of the Dust Bunnies.

I was introduced to a new method of dealing with these pesky, lightweight intruders.  It was my wonderful aunt who told me about it.  I couldn’t understand how two sisters (she and my mother) could have such differing views on housekeeping.  My aunt’s plan was quite ingenious.  Oftentimes her method of housekeeping could cost more than my usual tried and true methods, but her way was much more pleasant and less stressful.  It can be summed up in one sentence.  “Key in the lock and off you go.”  She had to explain it to me, “Life is short,” she had started to tell me.  “Some days you just have to put the key in lock and go shopping.”  What?  How would that clean my house?  “Sometimes you just have to forget about cleaning and go out and unwind and relax and enjoy life.”  So, she was telling me to NOT clean my house.  Looking at my bewildered face, she laughed and said, “the dust will be there when you get back.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Life is like that.  It’s about choices.  Some days you will need to wage war against the non-paying dust bunny tenants.  Some days you will ignore the layers of grey dust on your shelves and floors and go out exploring.  The dust will be there when you get back.  Yes, life is like that…the good, the bad, and the dust bunnies.

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