Sonata in C major, “rites of spring”

Spring cleaning comes when I just can’t take it anymore. All the cobwebs we haven’t seen, the dust, the feeling the whole house smells. Everything needs to be taken apart and blown out.

A half pot of coffee followed by aggressive vacuuming, mopping — stopping to take apart the panel above the microwave with the plastic fins that get discolored and oily, catch animal hair, become furry.

The panel was stained the color of curry powder, a kind of yellow/green, with a tinge of orange — but the tiny screws were stuck in place by god knows what, and it took many failed revolutions of the cheap, store-bought screwdriver set to get it undone. Behind the panel, a brown stain somewhere between a liquid and solid state like syrup, demanding instant removal.

And then it was time to scrub down the range and remove every spot, which takes real focus. They don’t all come out, it’s like hubris: you have to leave a few imperfections to remind yourself you’re mortal.

I took all the objects off the bookshelves in order, from top to bottom. I removed the plants from the window sills and ganged them together in the shower, sprayed down the leaves, let them sit alone in silence.

It’s funny but whenever my mom comes to visit, Dawn threatens to clean, like it’s something she knows she should do, and by the sheer act of saying it it becomes a reality.

The annual Easter egg hunt in our back yard serves as a forcing function too, to clean up the dog poop but it’s imperfect, and always leaves me nervous the kids will track it in.

Dawn placed 96 plastic eggs about the yard for four kids to find (ages 13 – 7), and it was the 10-year-old Charlotte who claimed 48, was asked to divvy up the rest out of fairness.

In the morning Dawn asked if I was going to church (I didn’t know it was option), then sounded glad I wasn’t, so I could stay home and sign the cards, put out the baskets.

I drove to the store and bought a chicken, roamed the aisles, picked out some flowers…and it was misty-cool but decidedly spring: somehow on Easter Sunday it’s like the whole world seems to sing. Whether you go to church or not, that’s what it feels like to me.

Categories: humor, Memoir, parenting, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Bravo on the cleaning front. Putting the plants in the shower is a nice touch. And now all the gunk has been removed, here’s wishing you a happy spring. I’m assuming it’s actually arrived at your side of the planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dust to dust. We live in a dusty area, and I hate seeing it floating in a beam of sunlight and knowing we’re breathing all that stuff in! Why hasn’t technology solved the dust problem yet?!

    I’m curious: why 96 eggs and not an even 100? 🐣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. even the chicken was singing a little ditty…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always go to church on Easter. It’s my favorite gospel reading. ‘He rose from the dead but only made himself visible to us, his apostles.’ Well, that’s inconvenient. He could’ve saved the world a lot of agony and war if He’d made himself visible to ALL. That passage and the “virgin” birth are the ones that fill me with the most doubt.

    That last paragraph is smacking good.


    • I just stopped going on Easter because I don’t want to appear an impostor. That feels slimy just saying that, perhaps the true me. We have ways to rationalize things.


  5. What is that solid/syrupy stuff that gathers? I try not to think too hard, as its clear the rest of whatever caused it has fed us over weeks. Whatever, you describe it perfectly. Your Easter Sunday sounds good – clean, fresh, chilled. A new start with the spring. We’re still shifting between spring and winter here, praying for some extended sunshine.


  6. Divvy them up? After all her hard work? Socialism!
    My wife still does a backyard hunt for our kids – ages 16-26. I suspect they feel as sheepish about it as I do, but chocolate…

    Liked by 1 person

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