where the writers are
Shout Out to Spring Cleaning

Ah, it's that time of year again. Time to roll up my sleeves, pull out every cleaner known to man, and delve into the muck and grub that's accumulated over the last six months of wintry weather, as well as de-clutter.

Yes, it's time for Spring Cleaning. I never know when the mood will hit, or where. Neither does my family, which makes them a little jumpy this time of year, especially my daughters. They just don't ever know when I'm is going to come into their rooms with that gleam in my eye. The cleaning gleam. I've glanced myself at these moments, and gleam is, well, it's a little too kind. It looks more like an obssessed, bright green Hulkish glow. I'd be seeking out cover if I were a kid too.

The mood came on full force this weekend. There was a catalyst. It wasn't the frigid temps or the rain. It's the guests we have coming for the week. I get cleaning crazy when I have guests. As if somehow having a clean house will convince my guests I'm a decent person. Weird. Insane. Totally inherited, and yet I'm powerless to change it. So I clean. At times, I even contemplate painting entire rooms because of marks on the wall. Yeah, I know. Very OCD. I don't need an intervention yet. So far, my writing sort of keeps me in balance. Those WIPs sitting on my laptop whine and moan if they don't get enough attention, which keeps me away from the paintbrush. So far.

I started this weekend in the guest room doing the usual guests are coming routine - stripping the bed, cleaning out the closet - which is my only "throw it in here and hopefully forget about closet" - and the bathroom. My kids were relieved. No Spring Cleaning for them! Until I went into my eldest daughter's room to get the denim chair/sleepover bed for the littlest guest who is coming.

I pulled the chair back and...oiy! Pandemonium. Hide-it-quick Central.

A green haze came over me. My fingers began to itch. The next thing I remember, I was running downstairs to get a BIG black plastic bag. My daughter was running to take cover.

What is it with hiding stuff behind other stuff in a kid's room? I mean, why not throw it away? Why hide it? Because in the end, I end up throwing it away and they've completely forgotten they hid it in the first place. I found a whole panoply of oddities - bits of string woven together in a macrame that's supposed to be something but has been abandoned, the missing bottoms to her two-piece bathing suit, Valentine's Day candy, various started but unfinished drawings, love notes (acckk! I didn't throw these away of course, but my gosh, she's only 10, love notes???), clothes - worn, dirty and clean, and toys half-played with, half-cleaned up, and books. Okay, the books I don't mind. I just rearrange and organize. But the rest? Which got me to thinking as I sorted and cleaned: What is it with kids hoarding stuff?

Until I started to really sort through the stuff and saw some of what it was. Granted, there was a good deal of junk. But there were also some treasures in the trash - the Williamsburg day pass, the love note, and the Christmas picture from my youngest child made for her sister. Funny how it's the insignificant bits that warm the fondest memories. They are, to quote mastercard, priceless.

Despite the itch in my fingers to throw the whole lot away, I tread carefully amongst the memories. The leftover candy had to go, so did the dirty clothes, albeit into different piles. I think I can salvage the dirty clothes. The love note, well, it went back where I found it, behind the chair, safe. So did the day pass and the picture. One man's trash is another man's treasure. This was kid treasure.

My shout out today is to Spring Cleaning. Thanks to the cleaning craze, I got a walk down memory lane this weekend. A soft, gentle, warm one.