Yesterday I returned from that classic DC summer ritual, the long weekend at the beach. Congratulating myself for the foresight of taking today off to clean in preparation for a mid-week house guest, I set out to battle against acres of dust, piles of dirty laundry, stale air, and the usual minefield of cat hairballs.
Several hours later, sweaty and frustrated, I’m still at it.
When you have an old house, cleaning eventually vanquishes you. You endlessly run up and down stairs with buckets of cleaner, finding all the little presents your cats left you. Somehow even more dust descends the second you turn off the vacuum. So I find myself thinking of the first owner, Mrs. Campbell (we found her calling card once in the space behind the pocket doors), and how the hell she must have managed.
If I complain about cleaning the house, scampering about in a little sundress and sneakers, how did she do it in 1890’s full regalia – underdress, corset, petticoats, wool dress, laced up boots, long hair (real and false) piled high? And there was even more dust in those days – our house was at one time equipped with a “modern” coal system venting hot air into the rooms, leaving a nice film of soot to clean every day. Wool carpets, heavy draperies, all the tchotchkes of Victorian life – it’s a wonder those people could breathe!
All the moaning we do about how hot it is, and we have the luxury of CAC to escape to!
Were they all just tougher than we are today?
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs