The vernal equinox and dust-bunny roundup

Out of the Woods

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2001

Ah, spring! The sun has returned, spreading hope and daylight into the corners of our hearts and homes. I love the part about my heart, but am horrified by what is showing up in the corners of my home. Incredibly ornate and ghostly spider works, for one thing, are appearing and as the new weak rays of sunshine wander around the house, they drive large herds of dust bunnies from sanctuary. It's time to fire up the vacuum and see how true the hepa filter really is.

Of all the things a person can do with free time, housework is usually not even on the list, but there is a lot to be gained by it. Take your basic drizzly day when you feel like a slug for not doing something active outdoors. You can lie around or you can grab a bucket and sponge and hit the kitchen floor. While you're down there, you'll notice what's under and creeping up the outside of the refrigerator. This can snowball into a full day of aerobic exercise. Using noxious cleaners, you won't be interested in eating. By evening, you'll feel exhausted, starving and sore, just like you'd ridden your bike all day, but you'll have a sparkling kitchen to show for it. What I like about spring cleaning is getting reacquainted with my house. Everything I lost over the year may turn up along with a surprising amount of things I swear I've never seen before. Someone must sneak into my house over the winter and leave kitchen gadgets.

By spring they overflow drawers. I clear out large quantities, but they come back. Some of them, I don't even know what they're for. Coffee mugs are another multiplier.

I must give away a few dozen each year, but more come in. I could probably build a fence or a gazebo out of them, held together by kitchen gadgets.

As I take forgotten appliances from high shelves, I wonder why I have them and why anyone has them. How many people do you know who frapp? I can see people pulsing their way through chopping, blending and maybe even liquefying, but what is the occasion for frapp? I could argue that anything more complicated than a knife for meal prep is just playing with your food. Exhibit A and what I'll rest my case with is the Salad Shooter. If someone gave me one, sure I'd play with it until I broke it, especially if it's cordless, but I doubt I'd make salad with it.

When the closets are straightened up or written off, linens washed, all the windows are clear again and furniture surfaces are dust free, spring cleaning for me winds down to the carpet.

Feeling as I do about kitchen aids, you'd think I'd reach for a broom, but I can't.

After a good cleaning, there may be hundreds of dust bunnies huddled in the middle of the living room. They form a circle like musk oxen, protecting the young ones. I have no intention of rushing in and nipping at them like a pack of wolves. I have cyclonic action, for which they have not yet developed a defense. With that, plenty of light and my true hepa filter, they are toast.

Nita Nettleton can be reached at

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