Monday, February 28, 2011

It plumps when you rub it with lotion

I hate cleaning. If given the choice between tidying my house or removing my own spleen with a pair of rusty pruning sheers, I’d honestly have to weigh the decision.

But it’s my turn to host book club, and though I’ve been with this group for over ten yeas, I like to think I can still fool them into believing I’m not a disgusting slob.

I’ve been dragging my feet on most of the chores but there’s one I look forward to two or three times a year.

I love rubbing lotion on my sofas.
I'm not talking Jergens hand cream, mind you. It’s some sort of fancy conditioner meant for leather furniture. When we bought the sofas six years ago, the sales clerk offered strict instructions for keeping them nice.

“Leather furniture can dry and crack in the high desert,” he warned. “Just like skin, you need to keep it supple and moist.”

Once I stopped giggling about the supple and moist thing, I gave in and bought the ridiculously expensive leather cleaning and conditioning kit.

It’s been well worth it.

I start by rubbing both sofa and loveseat with a special cleaning solution. Once they’re dry, I lube up a sponge with special conditioning lotion and carefully, gently massage it into every nook and cranny.

Then I stand back and watch.

Right before my eyes, the cushions start to plump. Little wrinkles vanish, and the whole sofa perks up like a pair of sweater potatoes with new silicone implants.

I swear I’ve considered rubbing the stuff on my face.

Porny sounding imagery aside, there's something so gratifying about tackling a task with such visible, instantaneous results. It's like a long run of writing where you watch your word count double in an hour, or the satisfying sensation of draining that wine glass down to empty.

Do you have any household chores you find oddly enjoyable? Are there tasks you undertake with your writing that give you more satisfaction than others? Please share!

And if you’re really nice, maybe I’ll let you rub lotion on my leather.


Anne Gallagher said...

Ironing. Believe it or not, I iron everything on Sunday afternoon. It used to get me out of watching football,but now I just do it to relax me.

As for writing tasks -- probably line edits. I know I'm only looking for specific things so I don't agonize over others.

Sarah W said...

I'm just going to sit here and savor "sweater potatoes" for a moment. . .

I like to vacuum, though not so often that it becomes a chore.

Anonymous said...

Oh, your blog titles just make me crack up!

I'm in the desert but don't have leather....guess I don't like to rub stuff like you. LOL.

Chores I like? Oddly enough, vacuuming. Love making those clean, straight lines. And with the carpet fresh, the house just smells nice after.

Although I love to do, it takes way too darn long. So, it's kind of a like/hate thing. But when I venture away from the computer long enough for a cleaning spell, that's one I like to do. :)

German Chocolate Betty said...

Straightening things like closets and drawers out. I like things in boxes, and I truly enjoy it when I can take a messy corner and make it neat.

(Although you might not believe it if you could see the house right now....)

However, I did get up a head of steam this weekend and got rid of (no, I am not making this up) twelve (12!!) garbage bags full of clothes that I have quite literally shlepped with me for up to 25 years. Seriously. Some stuff had lived in three countries and been moved across the Atlantic twice. I was never going to wear the stuff again, never going to lose that 20 lbs again, and even if I did, I would never be that shape again...

It was truly orgasmic to make the clean sweep. And it is truly fulfilling looking at all of the space left by ditching the stuff. Whew.

I feel about a ton lighter. It was overdue.

Now THAT comes almost close to rubbing lotion into leather.

(Which I also love, along with admiring my newly waxed terracotta floor tiles. They don't plump up, but they gloooowww!)

Matthew MacNish said...

Is that Italian tile making up the floor beneath your furniture? It looks beautiful.

Danica Avet said...

We have a screened-in porch and it gets filthy from the cat (who invites her male friends over for a fight which leaves tufts of fur all over the place), foot traffic, and anything else you can imagine. I love cleaning the porch off, hosing it down and watching the dirt and fur disappear. It pleases me for some weird reason. Probably because when I'm cleaning the porch, I'm not mopping the house *mutters*

Summer Frey said...

Making the bed! It's a constant war between husband and me; he claims he sleeps better in the soiled, rumpled bed, and since I try to accommodate his sleep habits, I've cut way back on the bed-making. But nothing makes the bedroom look as neat and pulled-together as a made bed...

Minta said...

Ew. You said the "m" word. Gag.

German Chocolate Betty said...

BTW, where on earth did you come up with "sweater potatos"??? I can't get this out of my head.

I will never look at spuds the same way again, I swear....

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Like German Chocolate Betty, I, too, find great satisfaction in creating order from disorder. Cleaning out closets and drawers, putting in fresh lining paper, that kinda thing. Love a shiny kitchen floor, too, though to look at it now, you'd never know it. (Blame it on my handy-dandy helpful cats; they make scrubbing ENOUGH of a challenge. Add wax, and the tile would end up looking like a shag rug.) Also love wood, so I could practically write a paean in praise of Murphy's Oil and Liquid Gold.

The most annoying thing about housework is that it never stays DONE. The laundry basket never stays empty; the dustballs never completely vacate the premises; the toilet bowl never ever stays clean. Guess that's why I most enjoy the jobs whose results last a little longer.

As for writing, the greatest joy is when you manage to dig out the right words to capture exactly what you're trying to express. Sometimes, that is sooooo hard, but when it works, it's a headier feeling than drinking a whole bottle of chianti. (no hangover, either) Better yet, when you go back to edit and read a part of your own work, and it actually makes you laugh or cry. (and you KNOW what's gonna happen!)


Patty Blount said...

This is truly gross. I bought my house ten years ago and it needed a lot of work, which we prioritized according to our budget.

One thing on that list was to gut the master bath. It dated back to the 70's and was Easter Egg lilac. Paint, tiles, and floor. The tiles in the shower, it turned out, were being held up by the mildew. (gag)

But expenses being what they were, we didn't tackle that project until 2 years ago.

So excited to have a mold and mildew free bath, I VOWED never to let stains spread. Every time I shower, I run an old toothbrush over the grout lines to keep it sparkling.

I LOVE how the tiny dark spots disappear immediately because they haven't had time to penetrate (er, yes. I did say penetrate.) the surface.

Michelle Miller said...

Laundry is the best. When the washer and drier are running, I can sit down with a book and a glass of wine secure in the knowledge that, despite appearances, I'm doing housework. Then, after the clothes are folded and stacked, waiting for their owners to put them away, they serve as visible proof that I have accomplished something that day.

The best writing task? I'm in the midst of revising my WIP, and although it was painful at first, I've come to greatly enjoy deleting the unnecessary words/sentences/paragraphs. I started working on Chapter 8 today, and I've already dropped my word count by several hundred. Yay!
Soon it will be time to add a few sentences here and there and tidy up the shrapnel, then it's chapter 9's turn.


Anne, it's funny, ironing is one of those tasks I absolutely cannot stand. I've been known to try to iron clothes while they're on my body. Ow.

Sarah, you'll be pleased to know I stole "sweater potatoes" from my own book. It appears in Making Waves.

lynnrush, it is amazing how much leather dries out in a really dry climate. Makes me worry about my own skin!

German Chocolate Betty, oooh, I love teracotta floor tiles!

Matthew, I don't think it's Italian, but it is beautiful. It's my favorite thing about this house. I picked out the tile because it looks a little like dirty concrete, and you honestly can't tell the difference when it's spotlessly clean or hasn't been scrubbed for a year. It covers almost the entire house (2300 square feet) with the exception of a couple bedrooms that have carpet. I love the stuff.

Danica, I love the idea of your cat having the boy cats over for rowdy parties!

Summer, do you have to have pretty bedding, too? That's kinda my thing.

Minta, you know I thought of you when I picked that word!

German Chocolate Betty, I can't actually remember where I first got the expression "sweater potatoes," but it's one of my favorite lines from Making Waves. Also in the same line, the phrase "chesticles." I like that one, too.

Susan, I used to have wood floors in a different house, and I always loved the smell of Murphy's Oil.

Patty, please tell me you have "before" and "after" pics of that bathroom!

Melissa, I know what you mean about the satisfaction of watching a word count drop. It stings, but it's also intensely gratifying.

Thanks for reading, guys!

Megan Coakley said...

I don't like cleaning. I like projects. I like floor moves, as in, "Hey, kids, let's rearrange your entire room!" Then that also forces me to gut clean. There are few things more disgusting than a teenage boy's bedroom, so I usually just shut the door.

I live in New Jersey and my sister lives in Arizona. Whenever she comes to visit, she loves that her skin plumps before her eyes. So, for you, I recommend a yearly visit to the east coast, preferably in the summer when the humidity is 95%.

I was also admiring your tile floor, for the very same reason you bought it. I try to put mud-colored tile in every kitchen I've owned, but I haven't redone this latest one yet. It has a WHITE TILE FLOOR! WTF? Did the previous owners not have children? Or, did they have girls?

I've learned not to fight the dirt. It's exhausting. In fact, when I get to re-do this kitchen, I'm thinking poured concrete flooring, with a drain in the middle.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I wish I had household chores that I found enjoyable, but unfortunately I don't; that's why my apartment is incredibly messy right now. My neighbors are even lazier than I am, which might explain why one of them left trash bags in the elevator and another one left an old mattress that blocked the door to my apartment.

Linda G. said...

May I just say I admire your taste in sofas? ;)

Let's see...a chore I don't mind doing. Hmm. You know, I really don't mind washing a few pots and pans by hand. (Key words: "a few".) Especially in the winter. I like hot water, and playing with the bubbles is fun.

Laina said...

I'm a little bit whacky... I clean when I'm stressed and/or can't write.

I do, strangely, enjoy washing dishes. We don't have a dishwasher, so it's one thing I don't mind doing. Helps me think. :)

Joyce Tremel said...

I clean when I'm stuck on a scene. Not only does the house look nice when I'm done, but the cobwebs are gone from my brain.

My favorite chore is cleaning windows. I even have a squeegee. I'm sure you can make something dirty out of that word. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love all of the above! Vacuuming, cleaning drawers and closets, maybe not so much washing toilets but hey it's a job, and it's got to be done!