A Dust-Up on the Stairs

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today, I had enough. Actually, the “had it up to here” moment went down a good two weeks ago. I only got the chance to do something about it today. OK, let’s take it back …

I was walking up our narrow staircase with QB for post-nap playtime in the living room. We live in a duplex in a brownstone, which in NYC means we live on two floors in one of these. When I looked down to make sure I was stepping up on an actual step (it’s way dim in the staircase and the flat carpet is also pretty dark … an aubergine-y, gold, baroque awfulness courtesy of the landlord), I saw dust balls. Lots of them, and they were not even trying hide in the corners.

And so I continued up and went about the day. But each time I took the stairs up, I noticed more dark gray goblins loitering. I was offended and sliding into angry, quickly.

For years we had house cleaners come by weekly/biweekly—a fact I couldn’t bring myself to admit to my mother for many months (OK, 12 months!) because I thought she would’ve seen it as a sign of my not being able to handle the Woman of the House gig. But, thankfully, she laughed when I admitted that we pay people to clean the house. Moreover, she applauded the move, calling it smart. So you know you couldn’t tell me a damn thing … my Mum was on board.

Anyway, the house cleaners did the heavier duty-ier stuff like mop all the floors, scrubbing the tubs, getting in the groves of the stove burners, and vacuuming. In fact, they were the ones who suggested which vacuum to buy when our old Hoover stopped just looking broke-down and actually did.

Hey, Red, do you come here often?

The new vacuum is nice-looking, red number. A Kenmore Canister Vacuum, and it gets the job done. But the truth is, we’ve had this new vacuum for about four years and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it.

Then I went on maternity leave last year. (Well, as a freelance journalist, sadly, mat leave means just not working for X amount of months. Plus, you don’t have a “job” to return to after.) So we had to review some of our financial choices. It came down to part-time nanny vs. weekly house cleaners. No contest.  P/T Nanny, of course.

Cleaning was back on my plate. The reality didn’t match the sketched out plan about weekly vacuum for various reasons, but mainly just no time. But I reminded myself what my husband often says, let’s look forward at the solution, not behind us at the problem.

All right, then. Solution: Put all the other To-Dos on pause and deal with these dust bears (no longer bunnies) on the stairs.

As I’m putting the vacuum together, I go searching for the attachments hoping, magically, there will be mini house cleaners chillin’ in a small corner compartment waiting to hop out and get to work. I find this neat, black, power add-on instead—a virtual tiny vacuum within the vacuum. I had no idea it was in there. It’s like finding a bagel option on your toaster after you’ve suffered through countless burnt ones over the years.

I feel silly. But it’s fleeting, because I glance back over at the dust rhinoceroses (no longer bears) on the stairs, click the “Carpet/ON” button, and smugly slaughter those gray bastards.

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