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Another Day in the Country

Sweep that floor

© Another Day in the Country

My daughter, whose nickname in our family is Mrs. Clean, has a white tile floor in her kitchen.

Most folks, especially in a kitchen, want a floor covering with a little more diversity.

Kitchens are inherently messy places. Everything is on the move from here to there. There’s cutting, crumbling, chopping, stirring, simmering, hot sizzling, dripping liquid, grease splattering, falling folliage, peeling, slicing and dicing vegetables, and even blood and raw meat. 

There’s a lot happening in the kitchen.

Jana, like her grandmother Leah Ehrhardt before her, has one of the kitchens where you literally could eat off the floor. She is constantly spraying, wiping, and moping in that alleyway, sometimes while you still are in there cooking.

Who has white tile in a kitchen? That would be me. Jana’s dad and I built that house. We chose and laid that white tile more than 50 years ago. What was I thinking?

When I was hostess in that space, I did a mediocre job of keeping the tile white, but the grout got dingy. Not with Jana!

Often, when she comes home from work, she quickly mops the kitchen floor before she starts to make supper (which would be dinner in California).

In my Kansas kitchen, the house that we built for Mom, the floor covering is a mottled tan color — fake tile. It can handle a lot of clutter — except if you are a barefoot walker, as I am, you quickly notice that the floor needs sweeping.

Last summer, when my grandson was in residence, he came out for breakfast, always barefoot, took a tour around the kitchen to see what was cooking and said, “Baba, how often do you sweep this floor?”

“When it needs it,” I retorted.

“Well?” he said with raised eyebrows, glancing down at the floor.

I laughed and said, “Do you know where the broom is? Have at it!”

Obviously, I’m not as tidy as his mother.

In California, our kitchen walkway is about 4 by 10 feet. It’s a small house. I think they call this a galley kitchen.

Like her mother before her, Jana usually wet mops this small kitchen floor with a bottle of Windex in her hand and a damp bar towel under her foot. It’s pretty efficient.

In Kansas, with a lot more floor space, I still do the same. I’ve tried using all kinds of mopping tools.

Kristina even bought me the latest spray and mop combination contraption, but for me, it’s still most efficient to mop with my foot.

As I age, I remind myself that this could be a little dangerous, so I balance by grabbing an oven handle here and a countertop there as I skate around the kitchen floor.

Don’t worry. The floor is never sopping wet, just damp.

While we did OK choosing kitchen floor covering, we really goofed on rug color in this house.

Mom was all for beige again, mottled preferably, but we lightened the choice to some sort of cream color and hoped she wouldn’t notice. It was a bad idea. 

Living is a messy business — regardless of whether we’ve learned to be tidy.

We walk over and about, in and out, through various terrains of concrete, grass and dirt — mostly mud, this time of year.

My shoes track dirt, leaves, hay, twigs, chicken manure, and even feathers into the house, and at my age (notice I’m pulling out the age card) I refuse to be putting shoes on and off. 

It’s awkward, cumbersome and maybe even dangerous, I tell myself, to constantly be shifting through shoes.

So, as in all areas of life — the floor, the bed, your relationships, your body, your habits —constant cleanup is needed.

Pick up that trash. Throw away that junk. Take out those weeds. Pull back that grass. Deadhead those flowers. Take a shower. Get some new towels. Toss those old jeans. Get a new broom. Clean out that closet. Wash those curtains. Clean that carpet. Dust those shelves. Purge the refrigerator. Thaw out the freezer. Wash the car. Vacuum while you’re at it. And sweep that floor, for Pete’s sake, on another day in the country.

Last modified April 6, 2023

 

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