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Candlelight and Soft Music

by Charlene Paul


Spring is not my favorite season of the year. Oh, I enjoy the warmer days, the flowers in bloom, the cool mornings, and the warm afternoons. It’s just that when you live in southern Nevada or southern Utah, spring is only about forty-five minutes long, and then it’s triple digit days and ninety degree nights.


But I digress. Spring is in the air and with it comes the desire to clean out closets, touch up paint, deep clean the garage, plant a garden, wax the car, seal the grout, Swiffer the cobwebs, aerate and fertilize the lawn, service the garden machinery, defrost the freezer, wipe down the baseboards, and shampoo the carpets. And the list goes on.

I am a list maker. There is the grocery list and the list of books I want to read, movies I want to see, and television series I intend to binge-watch. I also have a list, a long list, for my husband. And I will shortly compose my spring projects list. The reason for these lists is to stay organized and on task.


As I create my spring project list, I am careful to include every single chore that must be completed to make my spring cleaning a success. The finished list is lengthy, but the exhilaration I feel as I contemplate checking off one task after another is indescribable. Knowing my home will look Better Homes and Garden-ready once the checks have all been made, fills me with gladness. Once finished, I will sink into a tub full of fragrant bubbles, surrounded by warm candlelight and soft music.


Hold on . . . Reality check.


The alarm rings and wakes me from the dreams of checking off one item after another. I hop out of bed wearing my exercise clothes. Brush my teeth. Splash cold water on my face. Wipe the mascara from under my eyes. Gulp down my protein shake and pick up my list.


Since I’m already in the kitchen, I go to that section of my list and start by wiping down all the counters. I put away the toaster and notice that the cupboard where it goes could use a little straightening. That is not on my list. I add it to the bottom so I can check it off, and then re-stack the pots and pans, and find a new configuration for the lids. Check.




I open the fridge to get the grape juice. It’s a disorganized mess of out-of-date condiments, potatoes with Bette Davis eyes, and containers of what appear to be science projects. Although it’s not on my list, I add that to the bottom and clean out the fridge. Check.




I clean out the dishwasher and put the pitcher in the pantry. . . . Look away; don’t stare.




But the pantry is in shambles. Clean out the pantry goes on the bottom of the list. After an hour of sorting through cans and boxes, wiping syrup drippings, putting the baking items on a more accessible shelf, only to realize not everything will fit and putting them back where they were, I finish. Check.

With the kitchen looking good and the pantry organized, I review my list. Only one original item is checked, although there are lots of checks.


Next, it’s off to the garage for a deep clean. I see Totes filled with miscellaneous holiday decorations. They need to be organized and labeled, so I add Organize holiday decorations to the bottom of my list. After three and a half hours, the last container is labeled and neatly stacked on the shelves. Check.

I look at my watch and realize it’s time for lunch. How can that be? I haven’t made a dent in my original list.


Next on the list is the laundry room. I toss worn out sheets and towels, unmated socks, and assorted cleaning paraphernalia. I throw in a load of laundry and

check my room for dirty clothes. I strip the bed so I can launder the sheets. I check under the bed and see dishes,


spoons, wrappers, a couple of glasses, and mates for a few of the socks I just got rid of. I throw the wet clothes into the dryer and deposit the sheets into the washer. Washing the sheets and cleaning under the bed are not on the list, so I add them to the bottom. Check and check. I’ll finish the laundry room later.



The master bathroom and closet are next. Not much more than a quick wipe down and a swish of the toilet bowl is needed in the bathroom. But when I open the cabinets under the sink to put away a can of deodorant, I see everything in disarray. Add that to the list. Two hours later, the trash can is filled with depleted lotion and shampoo bottles, empty hairspray cans, smashed toothpaste tubes, dull razors, and a moldy orange. Check, check, check, and check.


The closet just needs to be vacuumed. But I get sidetracked at how untidy the hanging clothes appear. It would look so much nicer if my clothes were on white hangers and my husband’s clothes were on blue ones. And hanging them by color and sleeve-length adds a nice finishing touch. Add those items to the bottom of the list.  Another two hours gone, but my closet is picture perfect. . . . except for the top shelf. Add that to the list. Half an hour later, and the shelf looks professionally organized. Check and check.


Time for an exhaustion break. It’s past dinnertime and my husband is on his way home. I look at my list. Still only one original item checked.

So, it’s cold cereal and toast for dinner and then off to bed. Shoot! I forgot to put the sheets in the dryer. I don’t care. I plop down on the bed, too tired for the bubble bath, and definitely not in the mood for candles and soft music.


I hate spring.


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