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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Perceptions of time and space

clean house ready for knitting in
  Ever since I was a small child, Saturday was House Cleaning Day. We weren't a large family by baby boomer standards: 4 girls and 2 parents. And our house wasn't any sort of mansion, though it did have 4 bathrooms. I haven't any real idea of how they wanted to run that house, because after I grew up and watched how they lived, uncluttered by children, I realized my mom was the tidy one and dad was an absolute pack rat slob. My mother never seemed do be doing any housework, though the house was always company clean. And I assumed, at the time, that it was because every Saturday, accompanied by lots of shouting and bustle and threats, we had to Clean House.

There was no playing till everything was done, which, mostly was each of us cleaning our own rooms. Each of us also had to take on one of the major tasks, like bathrooms or ironing (remember, this was before permanent press cotton and everything had to be starched! ask me how I know.) or vacuuming. Since I was required to practice my violin 3 hours every non-school day, it was often pretty late in the day before I got to do whatever I wanted to do. Yeah - pushy parents. I often think that I didn't get to be a kid till I grew up.

But that is just another one of those skewed perceptions, because of course I did play and of course I was a kid and in fact, once I had a house of my own to take care of I realized that Mama was doing housework all the time. She just didn't make a big deal out of it. And she never put off cleaning up a mess until it became a Mess. or even a DISASTER.

I never mastered Mama's way with staying on top of housework and I never lost the scolding holler of Dad about Cleaning This *%$(&^% House lying deep in my psyche. This means I can never sit down to play on a Saturday unless the house is clean and it's usually a Big Deal to clean it. In the summertime it's a lesser task because the door to the porch is open, the house is much bigger, there is no firewood spitting crumbs and sawdust onto the floor. There are screens in the windows that blur the grime on the glass. Come cold weather and we shut ourselves into a smaller space with the lowering sun slanting through multi-paned windows - and believe me - those panes had better be clean because otherwise the place has the look and feel of a slum.

Still and all, there is nothing that makes one feel quite so spacious and expansive as a Clean House and today I have one. I even spent some time tidying up my knitting bookshelves, winnowing out a few I no longer want to make room for the birthday books. I still haven't taken the time to sit down and read Katherine Cobey's Diagonal Knitting. Of course, today is a sunny brilliantly beautiful Autumn day and along with feeling like I Must Clean House on Saturdays, I also brought with me, from childhood, the nagging sensation of: If the sun is shining I Must Be Out Doors. Indoor play is ONLY for rainy days.

Honestly, some of the crap we bring with us from childhood is so stupid - and to still feel this way after ... ahem ... many many decades ... is stupider still. Ah well, there you have it. At least my house is clean and by gum - I am going to knit today even if it is another tourist worthy golden autumn day. I have about 5 more rounds of button band to knit on that alpaca vest and then I may cast on my Soho dress. I believe I shall put an opera on the CD player and slip away into wooly yarny paradise.

Happy Sunday to you - and may you be free of any nagging ghosts from childhood.

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't mastered the whole cleaning-as-you-go dynamic. I always have plenty I need to do.