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I dislike housework — always have — yet I’m grateful for a tidy nest.

The more neat my surroundings, the more clearly I think.

Cleaner the home, the better the writing.  Truly.

Having a clean and tidy place to live is so important to me, that as soon as my salary allowed it, I hired someone to do the cleaning for me.  Figured I was creating a dependable job, with a living wage, for another woman (no men applied).  This was especially critical when I travelled for work non-stop, for years.  It meant always returning to a clean, safe comfort zone — no tip could adequately acknowledge this.

This was my work-life pattern for decades, until I went back to school.  Not only was I doing housework again, but I married an egalitarian man who lacks the North American gene that left some men with the delusion that they don’t need to do housework, laundry, ironing, cooking and other work in the home.  I digress …

We share the housework.  And now that we’re partners in a new business, we share the work outside our home too — far more equitably than our back-to-school years.

I prefer to do my housework solo.  Maybe that’s because my housework training was with women — my Mom, my grandmother, my sisters, a neighbor or two (we lived on a farm).  Sometimes, when I’m cleaning, I’ll recall one of these women teaching me the best way to clean a mirror or — ugh– iron a shirt properly.  (I still don’t own an ironing board …)

Or I’ll marvel at all the work those farm women did, after they had plowed fields, tended animals, cooked and baked and served the other farm workers.  As a child, I often woke after midnight to hear my Mom scrubbing, waxing and then polishing floors.  A far different time; a much different culture.

Today, I whip through the necessities quickly, because writing awaits.  Yet I always do housework to music, loving its lift while I’m doing something I would rather avoid.

Today’s selection: Loreena McKennitt. I’m grateful that her lovely voice and oh-so-haunting music fill our home while I clean.

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