Two words that are overused (or perhaps just carelessly?) in everyday conversation. I think that tends to unfairly weaken the power of the former and unwisely soften the meanness of the latter.
I mean, really, we “love” everything from TV shows to food to inanimate objects. What does that say about our love for each other, or between couples? Of course, it could be argued that you can’t have too much love in the world, so when it comes to this word’s overuse, I think we can cut some slack. So, when I say I “love” cooking, it’s a reasonably accurate description of my feelings.
When I finally bought a home of my own, I had a wonderful housewarming party which netted me some awesome gifts. Included among those (and in subsequent holidays) were various cooking tools and materials. Though I only have one mouth to cook for, there are few meals that are “worthy” of cooking for just one, so I used my gifts to cook large portions and then would either refrigerate or freeze the extras. Now before you chefs out there roll your eyes at freezing food, I can say from actual experience that the meals still taste great even after being frozen. Show me a chef who sniffs at frozen food and I’ll show you a million dollar contract with a frozen food manufacturer they would snap up in a heartbeat.
I enjoy all aspects of cooking, including preparing, since that affords me even more opportunity to play with my cooking “toys”. Nothing like chopping and dicing with those stunningly sharp knives! When you finally sit down to eat, there’s no one who has done it that can deny it tastes just that little bit better because you prepared it yourself.
Of course, there is one thing about cooking I don’t love. In fact, that brings us back to our other word.
The other word is much harsher. As the basis for many horrendous acts in human history, it’s not valid to “waste” such a word as cavalierly as we do. “I hate commercials” “I hate when you do that” “I hate my boss” “I hate losing”. Sure, it’s shorthand, but we should use a different word in most cases. As a self-proclaimed “wordsmith”, I shudder when the word is used loosely and often take the time to point out that hate is not what the person is truly feeling. Don’t you “hate” it when someone does that? Nah, not really, but you are no doubt darn annoyed.
My extreme example would be that you can’t even hate intolerance. That would be like using gasoline to put out a fire. In my mind, if there can’t be too much love in the world, there is conversely way too much hate.
But I do hate, though. Passionately, completely, with every fiber of my being. What I hate is….cleaning.
Being a single man for just about as long as I’ve been out of college, I’ve had the unfortunate task of cleaning up after myself. While this was not the most challenging task at first, living in a small apartment, it was nonetheless a Sisyphean chore (ugh. what a strained reference) to me. Over time, I came to despise the duty more and more. Why should I have to waste my free time when so many fun things beckoned me? (cleaning usually was reserved for the weekends because I worked long hours all week).
By the time I moved into my aforementioned home, I thoroughly detested cleaning. No, I hated it. I didn’t care how much it would cost me, I was going to get someone else to clean my house.
Let me clarify for you readers. Laundry is not cleaning. That’s no big deal. Throw the stuff in, take the stuff out, fold, spindle, buy new socks when one goes missing. No biggie. Same with washing dishes. Rinse after eating and plop in the dishwasher. Pour stuff in the little holder and turn, press or click. Cake, baby. No, when I say cleaning, I mean: tile, bathrooms, ovens, windows, carpets, fans, etc. Ugh. No, actually, UGH!
My first cleaning lady was recommended to me by some friends. She worked alone and after a while I gave her a key and let her “have at it”. She didn’t spend much time at the house, but she did all that was required of her and life was good and kind with nary a drop of hate anywhere to be found.
Let me clarify once again for you patient readers. I am single. No kids. No pets. Usually gone for most of the day and known to throw less than half a dozen parties a year, almost all of which take place primarily on my patio. Cleaning my home is not a particularly challenging affair. Except for me, of course.
Back to our story. Unfortunately, the cleaning lady began having a series of mishaps in the house, one of which damaged a gift my Mom gave me before she died. When I attempted to discuss the issue with her (that’s discuss, not yell), she reacted poorly, believing it a personal attack and leaving my employ. I was doubly hurt, as I would now have to start cleaning myself.
That lasted, oh, maybe a month. Turns out, the same friends had started using a different cleaning lady and she was able to “take on” my house (to say she jumped at the chance to do one so easy might not be exaggerating). This started a long and successful partnership that lasted past the time my friends no longer employed her services. All that ended again just a few short months ago, when she delivered her first child.
I toyed with the idea of just not cleaning for three months until she would be “back in business”. Problem was, it occurred before Halloween and I always hold a barbecue/party for Halloween. Sigh. I cleaned. Hated every minute of it, but I cleaned. Of course, I found out just how easy it was to clean my place. Outside of dust that seemed to return seconds after wiping it away, everything else took no time at all. The master shower was the toughest, mostly due to the difficulty of scrubbing without banging into the shower doors. Really, only a matter of a few hours and the whole place was done (including treating the leather couch).
And I still hated it. Even that paltry time required. UGH!
Changes in my lifestyle led me to decide on “taking over” the cleaning responsibilities myself, despite my dislike. In order to accomplish this without whining (which, with no one else in the house, was pretty pointless anyway. I mean, I certainly didn’t want to listen to it), I broke up the two or three hours of cleaning over several days, so I wouldn’t have to actually spend more than a half-hour or so on any given day. Ridiculous, sure, but how much time would you want to spend with someone (thing) you hate? Yeah, exactly.
So my home is filled with love and hate. But at least the food’s tasty and the dining area is clean. Or is that not until next week?