Earlier this week I posted on Facebook that the inventor of mini blinds should be shot. I just moved into a new house, and while the previous owners did a great job with the big things, like remodeling the kitchen, replacing flooring, painting, etc., they overlooked some of the little things. Like cleaning the mini blinds.
Now once a person knows something, they cannot un-know it, and once I knew how dirty the mini blinds were, I just couldn’t un-know how dirty the mini blinds were. So after a few choice words that made my cat blush, I set out to clean all eleven less-than-pristine mini blinds. This did not make me happy. I mean, here I was in a new house and there were “sexier” jobs I was looking forward to, like picking out bedding and organizing the closets. But a funny thing happened when I started cleaning the blinds. I actually learned some things. Things about my new house. Things about my new neighborhood. And things about me.
- I learned that kitchen blinds really do get funky. All that grease attracts dirt and dust like a neodymium magnet. I started with the kitchen blinds and swore if all the blinds in the rest of the house were that difficult to clean I would strip them down and burn them in the backyard. Luckily, there is only one set of blinds in the kitchen over the sink, and once I learned the others would not be quite as difficult to tackle I calmed down a little bit. Stress the word “little.”
- I learned that the sun rises at the front of the house. This nugget of knowledge made me reevaluate the window treatments I had been considering.
- I learned that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. When I moved in all the blinds were closed, which is not unusual in the south during the hot months. South Carolina can be sweltering in September, and we have experienced 90 plus degree weather every day since I moved back from Ecuador, so keeping the blinds closed is normal. But this means I couldn’t really see the backyard from inside the house. When I opened the back door blinds to clean them I noticed how very wonderful our backyard is. Private and pretty with several tall oaks, and a great open spot perfect for my husband’s future garden.
- I learned that at least one lanky teen likes to skateboard barefooted down our street. He looked so peaceful with the wind gently tousling his sandy hair as he glided from one side of the street to the other. Made me want to go check out the latest decks and trucks.
- I learned that a family of deer lives nearby and likes to romp in our yard. A daddy, mama, and twins. Great for me because I love watching them play. Not so great for my husband’s future garden.
- I learned that there are no windows on the south side of the house.
- I relearned that there are leash laws in the states. I had forgotten this because there are no leash laws in Ecuador (where I lived the past three years). Almost all of my neighbors take their dogs with them on their walks, and I saw many sizes and breeds of dogs, all with really cute and colorful walking accouterments. AND they clean up the poop. The neighbors, not the dogs.
- I learned that there is a big difference between plastic and metal mini blinds, especially while cleaning them. The metal ones bend and crease. Permanently. Remember that if you ever clean metal mini blinds. You’re welcome.
- I learned that after living in a South American city where people fix something at least a dozen times before buying a new one that it is not easy to just “throw” things away. I had a couple of friends say that they would have tossed the offensive blinds right out and gotten new ones, but I just couldn’t do it. Now I understand why people who lived through the Great Depression saved everything. It’s all right, I’m laughing at me, too, but I did save enough money by not replacing the blinds to buy several really nice bottles of wine. Doesn’t sound quite so crazy now, does it?
- I learned that at about 3:00 in the afternoon the shadows cast by the sun through the trees make a really beautiful filigree pattern across the lawn, like lovely lace.
- I learned that the advice given in the Churchill and Morey tune from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, “Whistle While You Work,” actually has merit. “It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace.” I found that humming “La Marseillaise” did, indeed, make the work go faster. Why the French national anthem? Beats me. On the second day, it was “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches and Herb. Hey, don’t judge me. On the third day, it was “Ode to Joy” from the fourth movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony. See, I do have a little class after all.
Perhaps the biggest thing I learned from three days of cleaning filthy blinds is that I can follow my own advice. I always tell my yoga students that they don’t have to do every part of every posture all at once, that they can break things down into smaller chunks and build the posture over time, step by step. I tell my piano students that they need to break a piece down into manageable sections for practice purposes to be able to master it.
I cleaned the blinds in small sections, taking the time to stop and clean my cloth every so often, and really got into a rhythm by the second day. I celebrated after every few sections, and, voila! After three days I had completed a task I had been dreading and, I gotta tell ya, it feels GREAT!
I officially recant my call for the assassination of the inventor of mini blinds.
K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two cats.
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