Most people use their days off to relax, or sleep in. I use mine to clean.

I have a strange habit when things start to go pear-shaped in life. I can trace it to about the age of 15, when the older members of the family started getting into ill health.

I hoard cleaning supplies.

Wait, what?

I was a junky kid, but when I hit high school, stress started to get the better of me. There wasn’t really much that I could do about anything, and I had to blow off steam somehow. At the time, the cables on my Nintendo 64 (Remember that?) were fried, and I didn’t have the luxury of busting caps in people’s virtual heads to fall back on. So I got up and organized a bookshelf. That felt so good that I turned around and then started to organize my drawers. I made the beds. I dusted the computer. Then I started to wash the walls. The floors get a hands-and-knees scrubbing. The baseboards are attacked by my mighty bleach water bucket, and the surfaces in the bathroom end the day smelling like I picked up an entire pine forest and just transplanted it into the damn room. By the time I was done, I felt a lot better. I then celebrated with the only thing I could actually cook at the time—a grilled cheese sandwich with extra butter in the toasting process.

The habit’s carried over. I have a hard time keeping up when things start to go badly—and oh, how very badly things have begun to go—and the only answer winds up being “STUFF!” Thus begins a buying spree. I land in an aisle full of things that look pretty, when I suddenly realize: My apartment is a MESS. Why the heck am I buying stuff?

Five seconds later I’m in the cleaning products aisle instead, loading up on eco-friendly cleaners, oven cleaner, laundry detergent, dish soap, floor soap, body soap, cheap beauty products…I wind up with several months worth of supplies before I even get to the dairy aisle to pick up the carton of eggs that was the original reason for the trip to the store.

Everything goes into a bin in my pantry, surrounded by reusable grocery bags (another thing I have an inordinately large collection of) and gigantic bulk packages of bread flour and rice.

Things recently have gone rather badly for me, and so, on what has turned out to be my only day off this week, I woke up to clean. The dishes get a boot to the head, the trash goes out in four tall kitchen bags—I don’t know why they’re called tall kitchen bags, they’re kinda puny compared to what I grew up with—the fridge is flipped upside down and then sprayed down, I sweep the floors TWICE, and the stove is wiped down with a lot of disposable anti-bacterial wipes. The place looks a hell of a lot better, that’s for certain, but the work isn’t done yet; I haven’t made the bed yet.

(I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, either. I should probably do something about that.)

After even this little bit of cleaning, I feel better than I did in the beginning of the day. I don’t feel nearly as logy as I have over the last couple of days, either—getting sick enough to require three IV bags of electrolyte saline is kind of a damper on the enjoyment of things. In fact, that is part of the reason that I’m cleaning today—after I’m sick I tend to give the entire place a thorough hospital-cleaning. And I can look at tomorrow’s work with a bit more clarity.

Tomorrow’s going to be when I officially start the 100 Things challenge. I like to start things with a clean slate, quite literally. I’m slightly ahead of myself—I don’t have all of my Things listed yet—but there will be plenty of time to take care of that. I mean, it’s not like it’ll take that long, and it’ll be a while before I get up to Thing #71 anyway, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bed to eat and bacon to make.

…henh? That’s not right?


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