Boy was I in for a surprise: Yours truly, like so many others, I am sure, was under the impression that as we got older and eased into retirement, we should be able to get out of some of those annual spring cleaning chores, and maybe have just a little bit more R and R time. When we were kids, we raked and dug and helped clean up the yard for a meagre allowance, which, instead of saving in the piggy bank, we usually rushed out and spent on treats and junk. Then when we were teens, we got a paper route or rode our bikes around the community looking for odd jobs, and even rather reluctantly, agreed to help our parents for a few hours in order to round up a little extra cash to spend on a date, and maybe even enough ‘brownie points’ to get the car on Friday night.
As adults, spring cleaning chores became a way of life and as soon as the snow cleared, we had to clean out the garage, the yard, the BBQ, paint the fence, summerize the vehicles and on and on. Of course, there are always the fun things to look forward to in the sunshine and longer days, including getting the boat, camper and the rest of the family and boy toys ready for camping, holidays , fishing and all the rest of the summer fun. It’s great in the evenings or weekends to take the kids to their ball or soccer practises and games, as long as there is a little time left over for a few rounds of golf or to take a cruise in our fancy bikes, ATVs, rag-tops and all the rest.
When I retired a few years ago and we moved into a condo, I really missed hanging around the yard and creating more work, but that didn’t last very long and I enjoyed the extra leisure time going for long walks and drives, attended lots more barbecues and spoiled the grandchildren even more. Of course, while my wife was still working I did agree to perform the weekly chores such as vacuuming, dusting, windows, cleaning the cars and all the rest, but always found lots of excuses to run an errand so that I could have coffee with the boys, watch an afternoon game on television or even grab a nap. Whatever the case, no matter how long we have all been married, we have learned way back that our beloved wives or partners will always come up with a ‘secret spring cleaning bucket list’ that they dreamed up over the cold winter.
This year my wife retired, and we have really been looking forward to more quality time together, doing a little travelling as well as some enjoying of the other leisure adventures or hobbies that all of us yearned for but didn’t always have enough time for on our busy schedules when we were raising kids and working. After returning from a short but sweet ‘we are retired’ holiday, my wife suddenly suggested quite vigorously that NOW was the opportunity for US to give our 11-year-old condo a complete spring cleaning and spruce-up. Before this much mellowed 72 year old senior could utter ‘where do we start?’ we were dashing downtown to purchase a handy-dandy new carpet and floor cleaner that was on sale for ONLY one more week.
Even before reading the instructions on this new gadget, the next plan of attack, which came as a shock but really made sense, was that we should clean out all of the rooms, one at a time, before we tackled the floors. My blood pressure rose just a little when my beloved spouse informed me that with her new I-pad, she would like to get rid of ALL of her 30-plus years’ collection of 800-plus books, as well as some of the other toys, trinkets and what we believed were inseparable treasures that both of us have been saving (or hoarding) in closets, cupboards, drawers and corners since we got here.
After loading up way too many boxes of heavy books to pass along to family and good friends and making far too many trips to the big garbage bin downstairs, the condo looked quite barren, but we were finally ready to start washing the floor, one room at a time. While moving the furniture around, we both discovered that some of it was getting quite old and tired and needed to be replaced, and so began the next chapter of our spring cleaning adventure. But one week later it was completed with only a few glitches, it looks great and we survived because we worked together as a team from 8 a.m. to noon each day, followed by a little R and R and a few more reno ideas in the afternoon for the rest of our ever-growing ‘honey-do’ list. Now we can relax and enjoy the summer, but wait, I think that WE need to do a little painting. Please enjoy your spring cleaning adventures, but always try to take a little time to get outside in the fresh air, and have a great week, all of you.