old houses

Summer cleaning

How is this different from the proverbial spring cleaning? It definitely feels different, partly because of the heat, which saps my resolve, draws me with the slightest excuse down to the main floor where it’s cooler than the top floor of my 100+ year old row house. One tiny excuse more and I’m down in the basement where it’s actually cool enough to stop the sweat that makes my t-shirt stick to my skin like a grotesque piece of clinging, strangling, oh get this thing off of me, piece of over-sized seaweed. No exaggeration intended.


But the basement isn’t the summer cleaning target; I can meander down there quite legitimately from time to time to put on a load of laundry but then I have to go back up. And the heat hits me in the face so I feel like someone’s turned the pore-tap on and in less time than it takes to say, “this is ridiculous” I’m (re)covered in a most unbecoming sheen of sweat.


So what’s the urge for a cleaning now? Clearly it’s not for the fun of it. I think about this question as I take a much-deserved break from the action to flop into a chair on the back porch. And I see that it’s a double-bind thing, the lurching toward lethargy of hot summer days that leaves laundry folded but not put away, floors gritty but unswept, blueberries moldering in the fridge and never quite making their way into a pie. Now I can say lethargy has indeed arrived: messy build-up has relentlessly taken over the house. Languid summer swelter created this mess, and, from where I sit (on the porch, in the shade), it looks like it’ll probably remain status quo until autumn.