a unique perspective on this crazy world


As I have been noting, my work life has been insane since sometime in November.  What that has meant is that regular every day life keeps getting postponed.  I think the most succinct way to describe the state of my life around 9am this morning was when I gave the building manager my soccer tickets for Saturday later today so I can deal with my birthday party and she said, “yeah, I didn’t think you were a hoarder!”  The comment was totally fair.  This morning they were testing the fire alarms and she came with the inspector and I yelled at them as I typed email to clients that they could come in but it looked like a natural disaster had hit.

Having realized a couple of days ago that I was letting some friends stay in my apartment this weekend as part of the birthday celebrations, I decided I had to take a day off from work and deal with the apartment!  Martha Stewart would not be impressed – and I have warned them proper dusting unlikely to happen before Saturday – but at least I don’t look like a hoarder!

As I was vacuuming with my amazing Dyson, cleaning bathtubs and scrubbing floors, I was reminded of the satisfaction of properly executing manual tasks.  Doing your own housework has gone out of fashion, I know, but I grew up in a simpler time and have always derived great satisfaction from making stuff clean.

Doing manual labour reminds me of my grandmother who was scrubbing floors at the post office when she was 66.  My mother tried to point out to her that earning income at that age was reducing her government retirement benefits.  But her response definitely has something to teach the 21st century generations: “it’s good exercise.  And they pay me for it.”

I think it’s great to know how to use the gym.  And someday I will figure that out.  But for now, I clean my own house.  I carry heavy items home on the metro.  I walk really fast all the time.  And I am a little thinner than I was at 20….

So, hey, cleaning toilets burns calories.  But for me, what really matters, is that I always do a great job.  I grew up with parents who were perfectionists.  My mom and I professionally cleaned the farm house we moved into when I was 11.  A year or two later I cleaned a seed drill within an inch of its life so I would pass my father’s inspection and get my cold, hard quarter.  But what my parents really taught me was the value and great rewards of doing a job well.  You will have a cleaner house, you might lose a couple of pounds and – for sure – you will gain the self-satisfaction that comes from doing a job really well.

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