We knew the windows needed washing – they had, over a few months, gotten embellished with little children’s handprints, big dogs’ paw prints, fly spots, and a few wing smudges from bird collisions. We usually love looking out at our back yard, but now its beauty was obscured.
|The yard looks grey and smudgy through our dirty windows.|
But now, with Christmas on the horizon, we knew we’d be having people in. There is absolutely no better motivation for house-cleaning than knowing that you will be having guests. Besides, we’d heard of a secret weapon for easily cleaning windows: Jet Dry. Apparently, if you added dishwasher rinse aid to your final rinse water, then hosed it down, the windows would dry clean, streakless and spotless. At least, that was the theory.
This sounded too good to be true, but we’re suckers for a good story. We psyched ourselves up and launched a full frontal assault on the dirt. The result was disaster – all we’d done was rearrange the dirt. Maybe the resident sweetie hadn’t scrubbed hard enough? Maybe I’d used the wrong cloth for rinsing? Fortunately our first guests were spared the sorry sight because they visited in the evening when it was dark.
A week later, after gathering up the remnants of our courage, it was time for Take Two. I mean, really, two competent adults with university degrees ... surely they could wash a few windows successfully? Apparently not. I began to feel like Winnie the Pooh, who said, “I am a Bear of very Little Brain ... When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” In our case the “Thing” was clean windows; it was a good Thingish inside of me, but the end result was quite different when our daytime guests looked at it – or, more accurately, through it. They were polite, and never mentioned the streaks, spots, and smudges. But I was mortified.
A few days ago, we couldn’t take the dirt anymore. Out came the buckets, the soap, the sponges and cloths and everything else we thought might work, even a whole new bottle of rinse-aid. It was desperation time. And Hallelujah! Voila! Take Three: Clean windows. It’s amazing how clean windows can change your perspective on life. Nonchalantly we lead our guests over to the windows to check out the backyard view, no longer feeling the need to draw the curtains. Our windows are clean – we may even have enough brains between us to keep them that way.
Just like in real life, I have also learned that sometimes it takes quite a few tries before I get my interior life cleaned up. And just when I think it’s okay, new dirt shows up. Sigh.
That’s life. Cleaning is a never-ending story. But it’s definitely worth it.