When Owen and I decided to thoroughly clean the refrigerator, I wasn’t merely daunted by the task. What I found really daunting was what might be behind it. Were there dead things back there? Then I remembered when we were determined to get the mice out of the house, I had cleaned back there and vacuumed up all the dust bunnies. There weren’t any dead things.

I know, for the sake of keeping ones electricity down, one is supposed to clean back there regularly, but I physically can’t do it. I’m too short and not able to grab the whole thing and move it out into the room, so I need help. That means Owen since Garry is also not big enough to get a grip on it.

Both sandals!

Yesterday, I was missing a sandal. It is one of the new-this-year black ones from Clark’s via Zappos. The others were also Clark’s, but both pairs — light beige and black — tore off from the soles. Considering I got them on sale in New York more than a decade ago, they didn’t owe me anything. Meanwhile, I still have two pairs of hardly-ever worn Birkenstocks. The problem is, I bought them when my feet were fatter.

Along with your skin and hair drying out, the padding in your feet thins out. Your shoes get looser — unless they are swollen for other reasons. The pad of fat on the bottom of your feet that made it possible for you to walk or run distances goes away. You can’t wear the same flat leather sandals you loved. They do make shoes to deal with it, but I don’t own any of them.

I disposed of a lot of shoes last year. Most were thin, strappy sandals I loved. They looked equally good for dress-up and with jeans. They had no padding or arch support. I kept the Birks because they were so godawful expensive, I couldn’t bring myself to let them go. I tried wearing them, but my feet just swim in them and if I walk outside, they fall off. Maybe I should have them bronzed and dangle them from the rear view mirror?

Back to the missing sandal. I found my pair of red Clark’s I bought a couple of years ago. I thought I’d lost them. It’s a little late in the season to get much wear this summer, but presumably we have a some warm weather remaining before winter creeps in.

I found a brown sandal, the other one of which I’d already disposed of. Now, at least I have the satisfaction of having tossed both of them. In case you were wondering about donating old shoes, no one wants used shoes although many of them are expensive and not much worn, or underwear. Underwear — cotton underwear — makes pretty good dusting cloths. If you dust, of course.

The Duke’s toys. He puts them here all by himself. Here, or in the crate

We found at least a dozen of Duke’s balls including his favorite big green squeaky ball and all the other low-bounce balls we threw and rolled under the sofa. Not, however, the missing black sandal. What I did discover was dirt. Nothing evil, but lots of it.

I have a lightweight vacuum with a long hose. It only weighs 8 pounds and has a strap so you can hang it over a shoulder and get into the corners your big vacuum won’t fit. I had Owen bring it upstairs and vacuumed the entire area under the sofa.

Garry didn’t know why we couldn’t just push the sofa back. This really IS a guy thing!

I said I couldn’t leave it like that and he looked annoyed (he wanted to read the baseball columns) and surprised. He couldn’t understand why I’d want to clean up dirt we never see — unless we move the sofa. This must be a guy thing. I may not move the sofa regularly, but when it gets moved for whatever reason, I have to clean.

It probably won’t get cleaned again until the next time I buy furniture or lose a shoe or a dog bone, but cleaning made me feel better.

Cleaning did NOT make Garry feel better. Cleaning doesn’t make men feel better. This may be the critical difference between the sexes. Can I write a dissertation about this and get published?

Ponder that, oh ye women. We clean and however much we don’t feel like doing it, we get some small satisfaction knowing a piece of house is temporarily clean. Men don’t. Maybe that’s why they don’t clean?

My sandal turned out to be in El Duque’s toy collection. He steals stuff, but he doesn’t chew it up and he takes very good care of his toys. Including my sandal.

My suggestion? Don’t move furniture. Especially don’t move big items like sofas, refrigerators, ranges, or the big stand on which the TV is located. The dirt is waiting for you.

The moment you finish cleaning it, you know the dirt is replacing itself in exactly the same spots. Like the earth turning, the dirt will be back.

Categories: Anecdote, Home, housework, Humor, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

38 replies

  1. I do move the couch to vacuum, not every time I do it but weekly usually. Moving the fridge is a bit more of a battle and I have to admit I haven’t done that in a long, long time. Not looking forward to finding out what’s back there when I do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Marilyn!
    When I read about cleaning the refrigerator, I thought virtuously to myself, I do that too! except I didn’t realise you meant behind the unit, and not just inside! So shamefacedly, I had to say to myself, nah, haven’t done that since this unit was put in place! And I can claim that I am short like Marilyn is, so that’s that.

    So, I hear you, I feel you. The dirt will find its way back. I will leave my furniture alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dirt scampers back and the missing pair to anything appears as soon as you throw out its mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Allow me to gloat a bit. My husband took over the vacuuming several years ago when I got sick. Sure, I recovered, but he found he enjoys the work and actually does a better job than I ever did. As for the refrigerator, we bought an apartment sized one for our newest home. There’s only the two of us and we didn’t need the space in a full-sized fridge – plus, it’s so much easier to move for cleaning. I can move it myself, even if it’s fully stocked.

    Liked by 1 person


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I did a similarly cathartic cleanse of my car yesterday. (First time since before COVID struck, and after being able to send my child back to school.) I found a chicken bone beneath my son’s chair. Probably dragged there by an industrious mouse, based on the nesting evidence I vacuumed up. I felt both grateful that the car was so much better looking after I finished and kind of sick that for months, I’d been driving around with corporeal remains decomposing alongside us. It was a weird juxtaposition of cleanliness-is-next-to-dirtiness feeling. (Don’t tell my mother. She would absolutely freak. And she already judges my lack of house cleaning acumen. Thanks bunches.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • At some distant point in my past, my son talked me into buying geckos for him. They had to be fed live meal worms which lived in a container in the fridge. The day they spilled, my mother came over. For the rest of our relationship, she was SURE there were wriggly live worms in my refrigerator and nothing I could say ever convinced her otherwise.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m amazed that Duke puts his toys away.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some, not all, men do clean. I will admit to not cooking. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I find spring cleaning very satisfying

    Liked by 1 person


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Tish Farrell

Writer on the Edge



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