Saturday, June 9, 2007

All Things Clean And Wonderful

Got my car washed day before yesterday, mats vacuumed, insides of windows washed, exterior wiped down to a smooth shininess. I looked at all that gleaming metallic red, pristine shininess, and a swell of pure happy went through me. Damn! I thought. That feels good.
I know many, many people who wash their cars weekly. I'm not one of them. It has been really rainy for months. I kept hoping the gullywashers would wash off the cat pawprints, but no luck--just diluted them. See, my car has been catbait this spring for some unknown reason. Three large, well-fed neighborhood cats. Grady, the black cat with the purple collar with his name on it, has been around off and on for a year. We speak, we do not otherwise relate. There was a black cat with a white chest and white paws I nicknamed "Tux." There was a skittish grey striped cat I never named. They would perch on my trash bin (securely closed). They would jump on my car when it was covered with rain and cold. They walked all over it. I think they took turns. It was muddy so the pawprints were clearly visible. Good cat-meter. People who love cats were charmed. I don't love cats. I don't hate them. I was not charmed. But the rain seemed to be coming if not daily then every 2-3 days and I was too frugal to wash it when I knew the car was going to get all muddy again immediately, probably with more catpaw prints. Finally, I was sitting in the car one day listening to the end of some NPR program when one cat jumped on the hood. He (sic) peered through the windshield at me and appeared startled. Then another cat landed on the roof and looked through the glass, equally startled. Both hesitated a moment, then exited the car. And I quit finding cats in the carport, except when Grady trotted by on his busy way to somewhere else.

A week or so ago, I came out to find at least 5 cats lounging or standing in the empty half of the carport, looking at me arrogantly as if to say, "What are YOU doing here? This is our place." Didn't recognize the faces except for Grady. Reminded me remarkably of a street gang hanging on the corner, except no one was smoking. Grady, exactly like some gang leader, growled irritably and herded the whole bunch off my port and around the corner of the house. Later that night I heard some cats yowling outside the window (again, why MY window?) and I think I've figured out the gathering. They haven't been back. The weatherman predicted a slackening of the rain. So I finally got it washed. Ahhhhh! You anal people who do this like clockwork will never know how wonderful it felt.

So I got to thinking about other cleaning or neatening rituals that feel as good. I don't get regular haircuts, either, and I am usually approaching bag lady coiffure when I finally decide I can't stand it another minute and race for a haircut. After which I am respectable. My hair is tidy. I feel so-o-o good.

Shaggy lawn, neatly mowed and edged. Ahhh!.With all the rain, it's been hard to get it done, and it doesn't stay done nearly as long, but it looks so good for a few days. (Need to get some more fire ant bait--the wet soil plus weed-eating has invited several new mounds of the hellish critters into my grass.) Except for the discreet little dirt mounds here and there, it looks great.

Getting my teeth cleaned. That slicky, clean feel to the mouth afterward.

Cleaning the house? Well, I like the effects, but I KNOW they won't last long, knowing me. So for me, it's transient satisfaction.

We overlook the daily joy of getting dirty and sweaty, taking a good shower and dressing in fresh clothes. That's creature comfort. Don't you know, when people bathed monthly or yearly or so, they itched? If they had only known. And clean sheets. When I was in social services, when neglect and/or abuse was severe enough to remove the children, one of the first things they noticed in the foster home was clean sheets, even the little bitty kids. I once met a millionaire who decided one thing he could change in his life when he became wealthy was to get a daily housekeeper and have the sheets changed every day. I thought the idea had real merit.

(sigh) yesterday it rained. Misted, really, but the car got splattered. Still looks pretty good, though. I'll wait a bit before the next wash job. Meanwhile, it's been a couple weeks since I washed the sheets. Think I'll go wash a load. Then maybe get a haircut. And buy some dark chocolate.


Babs RN said...

Clean sheets and brand-spanking-new socks. A freshly cleaned car. Yes ma'am, I hear ya.

night lightning woman said...

Ohhh, yeah, I forgot about the new white socks. Well, mine are always white so I don't have to match 'em up.

mdmnm said...

Three day backpack with just a little wiping off to conserve water: best shower ever. Except for maybe the one you take after a late summer day cutting pinon and juniper, which hold so much dirt in their bark.

night lightning woman said...

I agree with THAT, too. Once did a one-week backpack in Colorado where we had so much cold rain the whole trip that none of us washed till we got to the showers at the laundramat back in town after. Thirty minutes, at least. Warm,clean. wash, shampoo again. A singular experience I will always remember.