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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Clean Sweep

When Trent and I moved into this apartment a few years ago, my sister Liz told us that she had some carpet runners that would fit into our kitchen perfectly. The floor would be so very clean, and it would be comfy underfoot. We thought for a moment that it might be nice to have a soft floor that wasn't cold on our feet, so we agreed to take the carpets. Within a few days we had the two runners side by side in the kitchen. And they were pretty, and definitely nice underfoot. I really enjoyed them. For a little while.

Suddenly it was almost impossible to sweep the kitchen. I could run a broom around the very edges of the room, but without much success. And the carpets started to migrate around the kitchen. Although the carpets were the same size, one would be closer to the dining room, and the other nearer the opposite wall. They respected each other, so they took turns. And they liked giving each other their own space. So there was usually a gap between the two of them. This gap was a magnet for every crumb within a five mile radius. 

Cleaning the kitchen floor switched from a few minutes of sweeping and a quick mopping, to a labor-intensive process. We'll just vacuum, I thought. Right. The crumb-filled gap suddenly shut tight. Anything that spilled directly on the carpets stuck like glue. So when the vacuum came to the kitchen, the carpets looked at it and laughed. To vacuum, we had to flip one carpet over on the other, vacuum one side of the floor while trying to hold up both carpets with one hand, and then switch. And these lovely carpets were heavy! After doing this chore you pretty much needed three things - chocolate, a shower, and a nap.

But Trent liked having a kitchen floor that wasn't cold or hard under the tootsies, so I tried to make the best of the situation. But I secretly started hating those pieces of carpet. The floor just never seemed really clean to me. But I kept on keeping on. Then I noticed that the backing of the carpets was dissolving into a yellowish brown powder that was shedding on the floor. Stains starting appearing. I began to think that the reason Liz was so generous was because the carpets were a pain in the neck, but they were very pretty, so she just couldn't bear to get rid of them.

And then, on Monday evening, the Last Straw. I reached in the refrigerator to get a container holding at least half a can of diced tomatoes in sauce. The lid wasn't fastened tightly, and of course the lid stayed in my hand while the container went upside-down on the carpet. Not only was it impossible to clean off the carpet; the portion of the tomatoes that slipped off the edge was unreachable without lifting that stinking carpet. I had had enough. After a quick consultation with Trent, I rolled each of those heavy carpets up and put them in garbage bags. We tossed them in the car and drove them over to the dumpster. 

When we got back home, I was able to easily sweep the kitchen for the first time in what seemed like forever. I mopped up the remnants of dissolving carpet backing. And mopped it again the next day. Every time I walk into the kitchen and feel the coolness of the floor under my bare feet, I'm happy. If something spills, I'll be able to clean it up in next to no time. No back-breaking lifting and shifting to get a simple task done. The room looks larger and feels tidier. I have wanted to cook more, resulting in Trent being treated to home made biscuits yesterday and chocolate cake today. After I go to the store for a missing ingredient, I'll be making peanut brittle in the next day or two. The clean sweep has made me want to spend more time in my kitchen. Maybe it's because the small mishaps that tend to happen in kitchens will no longer turn into tedious chores. Of course, if I keep up with all of this cooking and baking, we may have to change our names to Mr. and Mrs. Shamu!