Growing up, my mother instituted "Saturday Chores" for my sisters and me. We had to clean our bedrooms and then were each given a scouring assignment: front room, kitchen/ tv room, or bathroom. Kitchen/ family room was the worst. You had to clean the stove, fridge and scour the counter tops. You had to pick up and put away all of the flotsam and jetsam from tvland and scrub the floors. The floors were tough because you needed to accomodate the kitchen floor linoleum and all of its grime then dump your water and work the wooden parquet. Our house was pretty small but ma did a good job embodying every type of housing wing in about 1000 square feet.
The bathroom was grungy but easy. Swipe up the mirrors, scrub down the sink and then the toilet. Change the litter box. Scrub the small floor, then scour the tuband shower walls. Strip down and take your shower while rinsing away all the scrubbing bubbles. Hop out, dry off, throw on your sweats and mop your way out the door.
The living room and hallway assignment was the longest process but the most soothing. The walls were an astonishing bright green and the wall-to-wall carpet the color of the forest. You had to oil all of the colonial wooden furniture and shelves, remove and dust all of the books and knick-knacks and then vacuum the carpets and cloth on the furniture. You also had to vacuum under the furniture -- no cheating! Strangely, cleaning the living room always made me feel kind of Zen.
The motivating beat for Saturday Chores was ma's vinyl. She had splurged on the entire Beatles Apple Collection. Also, there was Steve Goodman, the "Three Legged Man" and Billy Joel. (Trust me, if I never hear "For the Longest Time" again, it still won't be long enough.) I enjoyed dancing & dusting to The Last Waltz by the Band. But nothing beat cleaning to Jesus Christ Superstar.
And now for confession number one. I can sing the entire original Broadway soundtrack note-by-note and word-by-word from the Overture through John Nineteen Forty-One. I once won two tickets to a performance at the Chicago Theater on Johnny B's morning show by calling in and singing a medley from the score. Through the years, I definitely have had some strange wins and losses.
And my losses and my nature have led me to the juice of confession number two. My apartment is a horrible, disgusting dastardly wreck. It looks like it was hit by a dust storm, followed by a mental monsoon and sealed with a hiccuping hurricane. And when you add my nature + earning a master's + a ridiculously menacing cerebral blow, you get Disaster Land.
So today, I put on Jesus Christ Superstar and sang it word-for-word while scrubbing the grease stains and soot out of my kitchen. Mostly. I still have to scour the floor. Damned Saturday Chores perfectionist upbringing.
(Image is "Purify" by Rachel Combs-Gullick.)