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I am a woman possessed this week. I don’t know what’s got into me but all I want to do is clean, clean, clean this home of mine. And what’s weird is that it’s not my usual pick-up-a-few-things here and there and maybe shuffle the cat hair from one pile to another kind of cleaning. No, indeed, it is not. This time, I have this overwhelming desire to take everything off of shelves and out of cupboards and drawers and toss, toss, toss. If I had ever done it, I would imagine that this feeling is what makes people do spring cleaning — but, believe you me, it is definitely not spring.

I don’t get this way too often but when I do the cats become a little suspicious, and give me one of their “Who the hell is this stranger?” kinds of look. If I continue in my crazy cleaning, then they start to get a little wary of me, watching my every step from their vantage point on the back of the hair-covered sofa. And, if I persist in my madness, then they get very nervous and have to watch my every move and not sleep their 18 hours. Who knows, maybe this time, in my manic frenzy, I just might throw out one of their favorite schmatas or the little cardboard box that Nick so favours or, God Forbid, the furry beasts themselves.

This all started on Tuesday when I came back from my wonderful, “Musical Wanderers” class. We had been talking of pilgrims and their walks and listening to 14th Century chants and rounds praising the Virgin Mary that these walkers just might have been singing along the way. I felt like I was in a Medieval Valeri, Valera. I was so moved that when I came home I found the music we had been listening to on YouTube, cranked up my little orange speaker and decided to clean out the refrigerator. Why not, eh? It all seemed logical to me. Especially, since the refrigerator desperately needed it since I had no idea what was lurking in the back of the shelves. I hate this refrigerator but, alas, since it is brand new I think I am stuck with it for the rest of my life here at 52. My dislike stems from the fact that I have to stand on my head in order to see anything past the first shelf. And, since Harriet is not about to kneel on the ground just yet, anything in the back of those lower shelves just gets lost. Nothing was to be done but take everything out and stack it around the kitchen and start tossing. I saw an amazing variety of molds in there. I could have had a science class right there in my kitchen. I wasted a hell of a lot of food, that’s for sure. I heard something today about the millions or was it billions of pounds of food that North Americans waste and felt a little twinge of guilt about the bulging bag of stuff I took down to the green bin yesterday.

But, I couldn’t limit my new found passion for cleaning to the frig alone. Oh, no, I had to start cleaning out cupboards too. It was a logical progression to me. I needed another box of juice to put in the frig. So I knew that I had some in the back of the cupboard but to get to it I had to start taking other stuff out and before I knew it, I was washing shelves and rearranging stuff I had forgotten was in there. I remember having a conversation with one of my professors (female) at Trinity. We were talking about how women tend to move from one chore to another and somehow get them all done in the end. In my world, it’s the absolute truth. I could be looking for a pencil in the drawer and find the old batteries that need to be recycled. So, then, I’d  have to stop to bag those up and put in my backpack where I’d find my wet swimming suit that I’d forgotten to hang up and a towel that needed to go in the wash. But, in the end, I still remembered the pencil.

I think what brought all this on was my friend, Len, going out to Winnipeg to have his operation. I didn’t want to admit it, but I think I was more nervous about it than he was. He was cool as anything so I couldn’t say, “Oh, my god, Oh my god, I’m so scared”, in front of him. So rather than think about his operation on Tuesday and get all bothered about something I could do nothing about, I chose, not consciously, to do cleaning. It’s really quite therapeutic — although Harriet, the knee, would beg to differ when on Tuesday night she could hardly walk since I had kept her upright for far too long that day. But there is something calming about taking chaos and making order out of it. Not to mention the satisfaction you get from being able to find what you’re looking for in the bloody refrigerator.

I hope my “passion” for cleaning lasts until I tackle the Big Black Bookcase where I tend to push everything when I’m trying to clean off the dining room table. I have no idea what lurks on top of and behind the books that are there. Maybe I’ll find some money or a lottery ticket that surely has a winning number on it. After that, I must, really, absolutely tackle the files upstairs. That job is far more daunting than the refrigerator. I start to feel a malaise come over me just thinking about it. Then I start to think of all the reasons that I shouldn’t deal with the papers.  I hope this time I don’t just shuffle through it and put it right back in the drawer again. Once I do that, I would know, for sure, that this time of Enthusiastic Cleaning had come to an end.

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