I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It All Depends on the Vantage Point

There was a time I could not enter a room without looks at its floor, looking hard at its corners, inspecting its baseboards, the bull-nose leading from one room to another. This is what happens to you when you clean a lot of houses.

It’s a learned behavior. If you’re quick on your feet, you will catch yourself in the act of inspecting and throw in a quick voice-over.

My narrarator is usually David Attenborough.

“Years of manual labor serve her well as her keen sense of sight hones in on the sloppy attention given the cleaning of the quarter-round. Smug in her personal belief that too few people notice these details, she vows two things: One, that she will hire Mary to come and clean her floors to sparkly perfection; and Two, that she will have a party and find an unobtrusive way of calling drunken revelers’ attention to her immaculate, Mary-cleaned quarter-round, perhaps during a game of Twister…

And so the cycle of life continues.”

There’s a lot of time for thinking, if done properly.

But looking down, that’s no way to live your life, now, is it?

So I’m looking at ceilings.

I spent quite a bit of time Sunday climbing up and down a ladder. The ceilings in the rental unit downstairs – now empty and awaiting the next tenants – are, after all, 10 feet high, a ridiculous height when you’re 5’4 (and three-quarters).

It was the ceiling fan I was after. The ceiling fan in the kitchen, to be specific.

You see, when the schmutz is two inches thick, when the dust/skin/mystery fibers stream from its whirring blades like macabre party favors, it’s time to clean them.

My mind spins with filthy ceiling fan implications.

“I can’t believe how hot it is in this kitchen! Honey, why don’t you turn on that ceiling fan? Now who wants more soup?”

As an aside, prior to becoming a landlord/lady/tron I would have bet against my using the words “dust/skin/mystery fibers stream from its whirring blades” in a sentence.

Once close enough to the blades to attack them with a screwdriver and remove them for a thorough cleaning, I learned something else.

When you’re perched atop a ladder and staring up at a filthy ceiling fan, you’re going to want to keep your mouth shut.

Nothing horrible happened, but the thought hit me, strong and sure of itself: There are many times that keeping your mouth shut would be a good idea. This is one of those times.

I pride myself on this kind of thinking. “Keep your mouth shut” is near the top of the list of ideas that will serve one well throughout a lifetime.

Of course there’s also “The man that ‘just needs a couple of bucks to get home’ isn’t really looking for bus fare” and “Be wary of the discount hamburger”. But you probably already knew this.

An hour later and the ceiling fan blades are clean, the ceiling itself prepared for a fresh coat of paint.

The next tenant may never know the insidious ways of the filthy ceiling fan.

And everything is looking up.

41 comments:

Maundering mutterer said...

The ways of the ceiling fan are indeed nefarious, but remember to also be wary of the florescent light cover, especially if it's in the kitchen. You will not BELIEVE what breeds in there!

laughingmom said...

I never get why a ceiling fan in constant use collects inches of dust like a hoarder but the ones sitting still are dust repellents. I'm sure there's physics involved, but it looks more like voodoo.

Pearl said...

Maundering, excellent point. You also take your sanity in your hands when you move the fridge...

laughingmom, and there's enough voodoo in a place with bi-yearly turnover to begin with!

secret agent woman said...

I need to attend to the fan blades and light fixtures. Blegh.

Keeping my mouth shut, though, is not my greatest strength.

Glen said...

If you ever wind up cleaning and chipping out the dry residue from under the urinals in a public gents loo like I have done, you will absolutely understand the value of keeping your mouth shut!

Pearl said...

secret agent woman, :-) I can relate to that...

Glen, this, I can visualize. I think it would be amusing to have a picture of myself taken during some of the cleaning jobs I've had. I'm sure I purse my lips into non-existence in some of the scarier places...

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

Wow! What a project! I prefer to let the "party confetti" rain down from the fan, invite a crowd over, and celebrate something!! Congrats on getting that DONE!!

Simply Suthern said...

Note to self, Invent self cleaning ceiling fans.

I spend time under cars. You keep your mouth shut under there too!!

Scarlet Blue said...

I will now remember never to eat soup [or ice cream come to that] beneath a ceiling fan. Thank you for this tip.
Sx

Bossy Betty said...

I am morally opposed to ceiling fans. Don't get me started....

Oilfield Trash said...

I hate cleaning the ceiling fans. Where does all the damn dust come from since my house seems to not have any damn dust. Ugh.

LeeAnn said...

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Sounds like you have ghost squatters.

Mickey Burdick said...

Ah, the attack of the dust bunnies from above. Been there. It is not pretty. People get hurt. Fortunately, the days of popcorn ceilings are numbered. Nothing worse than seeing the popcorn shadowed with a layer of filth that you know is practically un-cleanable without showering yourself in asbestos flakes.

Grant said...

Yet another example of how life can be improved by trampolines. "Dirty fan? No problem." *boing* *wipe* *boing* *wipe* *boing* *wipe*

Little Ms Blogger said...

I absolutely hate to clean, but love to cook and would freak out if I had a ceiling fan with all that dirt on it.

I laughed at your comment about having your mouth open because I would be doing the same.

WrathofDawn said...

I think it's the cat hair that makes my ceiling fans look particularly... festive.

I read somewhere that a good way to clean ceiling fan blades is to use an old pillow case. Slip it over the blade, apply slight pressure as you slide it off and PRESTO! dusted blade with dust captured inside the case.

Let me know how that works, will ya?

Roses said...

I live in a country where a ceiling fan is the ultimate in optimist thinking.

It's usually unbearably hot for 10 days in the year, one year out of five.

Which is probably why I'm taking notes of your 'pearls of wisdom'.

a Broad said...

I have no ceiling fans but do me a favor, don't wear your glasses when you look up at all my chandeliers.
There, that's a good girl, besos. C

Nancy said...

Ceiling fans and mini blinds are the bane to my existence. We have a wood stove that scatters dust everywhere. And I think we have 21 windows and likely 10 ceiling fans in this house. Oy.

jabblog said...

Yikes! You'd better not come to our house (in itself, highly unlikely!) There's nowhere to look - up, down, through the windows - all filthy *sob*
Must sack the housekeeper - or hire Mary.

Eva Gallant said...

Pearl, my dear, if you were to ever come to visit me in Maine, I will remember to make you leaave your glasses outsiide. And not to serve you soup under my ceiling fan.

lime said...

i tend to inspect quarter round for how well the painters cut in...since i worked as a painter in another life. oogy fans whirring goo into my soup....mmm...isn't that special?

Cake Betch said...

One time I emptied out one of those upside down lamp bowls in my sisters bedroom while replacing the bulb. It was full of dead bugs. I did not realize it and therefore did not think to keep my mouth shut.

This story reminds me of that. *Shudder*

Leenie said...

Fan fuzz! It grows in the winter and attacks in the night. Before I committed my body to the surgeons I made sure the ceiling fan over my bed was well cleaned. I thanked myself over and over as I lay in that same bed for two weeks in recovery. People who clean, especially who clean others' messes, are my heroes.

becca said...

i hate cleaning the ceiling fans which is why i beg hubby to do it

Pat said...

I wonder if you have time to pop over before bed- time? The bulb over the computer has gone and I've managed to get it out but I'm damned if I can get the new one to screw in and the steps make me teeter.

Gigi said...

I too have been contemplating my ceilings and baseboards of late....and while I have come to the conclusion that they are in definite need of a good cleaning; I've yet to find the time or inclination to do so. Whaddya think? Is Mary available this weekend?

lisleman said...

Is David Attenborough available to narrate my life? That would be very classy.

Daisy said...

I move, and clean under, my fridge and stove about once every 20 years. After all, who inspects the floor under heavy appliances?
Barbara

Julianna said...

Lord. If you ever come here... just close your eyes. :)

my name is Ian said...

you make me laugh. thank you, pearl.

Cloudia said...

yes, once a cleaner (or taxi driver, or hoochy koochy girl) always a_______.

My Dad picked up stuff off of carpets in public places for years after leaving the cleaning business.


you cool , Pearl




Warm Aloha from Waikiki


Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>


><}}(°>

<°)}}><

ShanimalsCrackers.blogspot.com said...

I have a fetish for clean carpets, simply meaning: I love to vacuum. It's sick, I know.

River said...

Now I'm glad I don't have ceiling fans. I probably should clean the aircon filters though. And sweep the cobwebs out of the corners in the living room.

hoodyhoo said...

You must also beware of discount filet mignon. If it is 10 for $10, IT IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE FOOD MEAT. It is more than likely to be kangaroo.

Joshua said...

And yet every time I enter my own house, I look around, and the inside of my head starts screaming, "WHAT THE HELL?! I JUST CLEANED THIS PLACE LAST NIGHT AGAIN!" Sadly, it's usually in Gilbert Gottfried's voice.

the walking man said...

Did you put the blades back in the same holder they were in or does the fan now have a wobble because it is not balanced anymore. That;s the kind of stuff I notice when I look up.

Vee said...

When you find a way to disengage the inner inspector, please share that with the rest of us.

Susan in the Boonies said...

1) Do you know how much of dust is just spent human skin cells?

~shiver~

2) Did you see the picture of my ceiling fan on my front porch after the storm went over us Monday a week ago? Ceiling fans can indeed be scary.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl!

I recognise this thinking:

"she will have a party and find an unobtrusive way of calling drunken revelers’ attention to her immaculate, Mary-cleaned quarter-round, perhaps during a game of Twister..."

The sweaty masses' lack of appreciation for life's details is always disappointing, don't you think?

Indigo

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Cleaning is so futile. It just gets dirty again. But I would love to have you and Mary come and clean here, as you seem to enjoy it and are so particular about how it is cleaned. That is what I need....a particular cleaning person.