The Coast News Group
Community Small Talk

Small Talk: I’m old enough to know better

Spring cleaning, or housework of any sort is not something I plan on. It tends to sneak in when I plan something far less industrious. The last day of my spring break, I decided to just rearrange the living room furniture.

As one does, one night at 3 a.m., I had planned it out very simply in my head. Just push the sideboard down, take the decorative mirrors down, put the couch by the windows and the chairs where the couch had been. Shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, tops.

I really am old enough to know better.

Where I took down the mirrors, I left a dartboard of nail holes. Behind the sideboard, I discovered ocean-breeze-fed mildew, and, of course, spider central. A good scrubdown was in order. Bleach spray truly is my friend.

Moving the chairs revealed the fake pine boughs stapled to my window sills, there since Christmas, and more spider webs. I couldn’t really access the corners, unless the curtains came down. Since they were down, might as well launder them.

The new furniture arrangement cried out for additional smaller pieces to be dusted and dragged here and there. Then I remembered I had the right color paint in the garage, and proceeded to freshen up the dinged and newly exposed wall area.

After cleaning paint drips from floor, couch and my hair, I now had a fair-sized pile of dirty towels to add to the laundry. Finally, tchotchkes got redistributed, packed away and or just tossed.

Do not mistake this recount for complaining. I loved every dust-laden minute. I find this sort of overhaul divinely therapeutic. It’s just that I still underestimate the dozens of small bits that always surface when you move the big bits.

Four hours later, I stood back and gave a happy sigh. Even my husband liked the new arrangement. I will continue to enjoy our on-shore breeze, making the air fresh as sparkling wine. I will also continue to fight the mildew it brings on the leather couch, wood and walls.

Hey, I’ve got 10 minutes to spare. I think I’ll rearrange the guest room.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer hoping the spiders in her hair got annoyed by the clouds of Endust and paint in her hair, and jumped ship. Contact her at