The Bureau of Magical Cleaning

Clump #247: Clear off bedroom bureau; day five of National Blog Posting Month.


I was trying to remember the song in the movie Mary Poppins where Mary (Julie Andrews) teaches Jane and Michael how to clean up their room by just snapping their fingers. It was A Spoonful of Sugar.  (Oh, Google, you know everything.)  “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.  You find the fun aaand … SNAP… the job’s a game.” (What is it with Disney heroines cleaning and singing with birds?)


Well, let’s just say that my clumping is not normally a snap.  But today I started the project of clearing my husband’s and my bedroom. Anticipating the season of company-coming-cleaning, I decided to turn my attention to our own space, counter to my usual impulse.  Like the shoemaker’s children going barefoot, the housekeeper’s quarters are often the last priority. Clearing our bureau was much more of a snap than I anticipated, and I did find an element of fun in the job.  I’ll try to explain:


In the foreground is a soap-on-a-rope.  One year my older sister and I, both in a very punchy mood, were looking through a catalog and, for some reason, asked my husband whether he would like an extremely expensive soap-on-a-rope.  My husband retorted, “If I bought that, I’d be a dope-with-a-soap-on-a-rope.”  I’m sure it was a case of “you had to be there,” but my sister and I laughed until tears were streaming down our faces.  Last year I found this soap — not the same vendor, and very much marked down — and gave it to him as a gift.  Somehow it never made it into the bathroom.  But guess what now awaits him in the shower?

I also found a stash of magazine photos I had cut out quickly one day with my older daughter, with the intention of making a vision board.  You know, telling the universe what it is that you want in your life.


I obviously didn’t put a priority on doing it.  Since then, though, I found an old notebook with pictures I’d glued inside years ago of a home at the New Jersey shore.  This was the exact place my husband and two of his sisters and I rented in September.  Talk about a dream come true.


So, into the notebook go these photos, too.  Much of my wishing is about intangibles like health, love, harmony … and maybe tangible grandchildren.

When I blissfully revisited Mary Poppins to find the song, I picked up something I had never heard in all my many viewings.  At the end of “A Spoonful of Sugar,” Mary is ushering the children to an outing in the park. Michael whines, “I don’t want an outing, I want to tidy up the nursery again.”  To which Mary replies, “Enough is as good as a feast.”  Good thing to remember when wishing.


Before I knew it…SNAP…the job was done!  Spit spot.


Even though, the motto of this blog is more like:


Slow and steady wins the race.

Mind The Gap

Clump #91:  Clean floors in preparation for holidays.

Thank you to the brilliant cartoonist Stephan Pastis for this Pearls Before Swine comic strip.


I agree cleanliness is often overrated, but there comes a time when you’ve got to take a stand against the dust bunnies.  The balance of power must be realigned.   We have an orange cat, Pumpkin, whose light fur adds heft to our dust bunny monster.


I won’t post the before photo, but the legs of this table and chairs looked like they were knitting angora sweaters before I undertook the bunny hunt:


Getting ready for visitors staying in our house for the holidays has heightened my awareness of blemishes I often disregard, like the ominous looking, mushroom-cloud-shaped spot below:


Much worse was this awful one on the floor between the kitchen cabinet and refrigerator.  I’d always thought it was a wood stain spill left by a careless worker who thought it would be hidden.  But in cleaning a spot on the bottom of the stain, I realized the whole thing was coming off!


Woo-hoo!  I swiped it with a paper towel sprayed with floor cleaner on a piece of wood, and …


Voila!  How long have I lived with this ugly thing?  And it was so easily and quickly removed.


This might be a good lesson for other problems in life.


Beware of making assumptions about intransigence.