Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I am looking out my windows on this bright, cold, winter day where the sun peaks out from thin, high clouds, and realizing something less than profound ... that I desperately need to clean my windows.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) for me, the screens are currently down and stored in the garage, and the Christmas wreaths are down, waiting to be placed in bags and then in storage, so I have no excuse.

I tend to think of my mother whenever the brief consideration arises to clean windows.  My mother, for some reason, is all about clean windows.  I think it's a factor of her generation, where clean windows must have been a matter of great importance in one's status as a successful wife and mother.  Or, I think clean windows just make her feel better, much like a straightened house, neatly made beds, and a freshly mowed lawn makes me feel better.  It appeals somehow to our need for a sense of order.

Either way, she has been known to go on for the better part of an hour about her window cleaning endeavors - how she tackled the second floor deck windows, what solution she used to remove the mildew from the sunroom glass, whether vinegar, water, and newspaper did the job better than windex and paper towels, the benefits of a squeegee.

I think the poor woman must be truly appalled whenever she comes to my house because my windows are usually Dirty, with a capital D!  Just after I'd given birth to my oldest and my mother was staying with us to help, she actually offered to clean my windows for me.   She approached me cautiously, casually asking where I kept the buckets and whether I had a large store of vinegar.  I knew immediately what she was up to.   Postpartum hormones raging through my body, I couldn't help feeling a bit annoyed by the offer.  How bad could they have been, and besides, she had a new grandchild to dote on - she wanted to clean windows??  Really, I think she was just a little bored.  In retrospect, I should have taken her up on it, even though it still wouldn't have done a thing to change my current situation right here and now.

And my situation right here and now is that I have very dirty windows, more so than usual.  As I glance out again at the bright winter sun (the summer sun is blocked by many leaves and does not so harshly judge me), I am half-surprised not to see the words "wash me" penned on the glass outside.  I realize the time has come, that at this point, not even my husband, who cares less than I do about such things, will think I have wasted my time on this endeavor.  I will brave the cold today (or maybe tomorrow), tug the stepladder from the garage, waste an entire roll of paper towels ... and make my mother proud.

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