Rob's Blog Archive

October 5, 2014

One More Annual Event










Every year for the last few, I’ve hosted a barbecue and kennel tour.  These are all part of Montana Mountain Mushers’ beginner’s clinic and Canine Fun Days.  The kennel tour is for newbies.  With 18 dogs, I have a small kennel by most local standards.  Still, it shows somebody who’s never seen a working kennel what one is like.  The barbecue is for everybody. 

With this, I have to clean the house.  With the Canine Fun Days becoming an annual event, my fall cleaning is now linked with it.  Unfortunately, unlike previous years, there was no event this past spring that forced me to have a major cleaning, so excepting a reasonably thorough job of cleaning my kitchen during the summer, it’s been a year since I’ve really cleaned the house. 

I enjoy hosting people.  I hate the act of cleaning the house.  As stated in at least one old blog, I come from a long line of non-cleaners.  My sister, the shrink, is of the opinion that some of this is training, but that there may well be a significant genetic component.  Whatever is going on, nobody among my siblings and I are particularly neat.  Neither of my parents were, either.  I have no idea what their parents were like.

On the other hand, using events to force a thorough cleaning is also a family tradition.  My dad would leave cleaning his den until after the last minute.  He’d then do a bit of triage on the items on his desk, necessary papers, unnecessary papers that he still wanted to keep, and garbage.  The first got filed.  The second were put into an old suitcase and this put on shelves in the basement.  The last were actually tossed. 

Successive generations are supposed to improve and I think I have.  Mostly, I think I’m better at giving myself a little more time.  I don’t use the suitcase and, when I clean off my desk, I either file papers or throw them out. 

The other thing I do is I use these seasonal cleanings to deal with accumulations of things that I’ve ignored.  My parents never threw anything out, so that is different from them.  Clothing always makes up the bulk of this.  Clothing gets divided into trash and items headed for the donation center in town.  The latter has, at times, gotten some very good outdoor clothing I just didn’t like.  The trash goes to the dump. 

This year, I added a new task.  I brought coins into one of those commercial coin sorting machines.  They charge a fair amount, just short of ten percent, but given that I’m not going to get my own coin sorter and roll my coins to turn them into a bank, I might as well pay the extra fee and get rid of the coins.  It took me about twenty minutes of doing nothing but emptying baggies of coins into the hopper and jiggling them back and forth to make sure the flow into the machine was steady to finish.  I will say that the machine was pretty cool.  The Canadian dollars got kicked out, though there weren’t too many of these that actually made it into the hopper.

When it was over, the voucher was for $546.10.  That meant I had put in $600.00, even.  It’s pretty clear that I haven’t done anything with the coins, save very very rarely using a few, since I moved into the house.  That’s now more than ten years. 

Of course, aside from reducing the total amount of stuff I have, making keep/discard decisions lets me put off actual cleaning.  That’s only a little as there were too many tasks for me to make an accurate estimate as to when the last minute actually was.  I’ve always been a competent brinkman, but part of that is knowing “when to walk away.”  My bedroom, bathrooms, and living room have all been cleaned. 

With all this, I am now having a rare and probably fleeting thought to keep the place a bit neater.  That’s actually been my lifelong trend.  I have learned that the short term time loss for putting things away is more than compensated for by the gain in efficiency in being able to find them quickly.  That said, implementing this and actually putting things away, has been a long process.

Almost every time I’ve cleaned my house for guests, I’ve gone nearly sleepless the night before they arrived.  It is a real goal of mine to get at least six and hopefully eight hours of sleep before I head off to the MMM beginner’s clinic and canine fun days.  We’ll see. 

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