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3 December 2003

I've never been one of those people who boldly go where no one has gone before. I am timid about new experiences, preferring to stick a toe in to test the water first, so to speak.

I remember my first day at kindergarten. I had begged my mother to let me start, because my best friend Stephen, whose birthday was September 7, was enrolled but with my February birthday, I technically was not supposed to enter until the following year. However, strings were pulled and the school agreed to let me enter (on the proviso that I repeat kindergarten...however, I was so good at coloring that they let me move on to first grade at the end of the year). I remember little about kindergarten, but I remember the first day, getting dressed up, my hair in long curls, and presenting myself to the door to greet Sister Mary St. Patrice. I remember being terrified. I remember crying. A lot.

Sister took my hand and led me to the playhouse, and as I began to look at all the things around me, and to feel more at home, I began to relax a bit. The initial hurdle had been jumped and I was going to be OK.

I remember going to UC Berkeley, my first time ever to live away from home. I remember how scared I was moving into the dormitory. I was entering mid-year, so everybody already knew each other and I was the new kid on the block. I tried to be brave and pretend I wasn’t scared, but I was. Gradually, over the course of the first few weeks, I began to settle in and it was OK after all.

I remember how nervous I was leaving the San Francisco airport on my way to Australia. I was eager to go. I’d been waiting for this day for a long time, but that walk through security was a scary one. I’d never left the country alone before and I was scared I’d screw it up. The fact that I "lost" my passport and boarding pass from the entrance of security to the exit didn’t inspire confidence either, but ultimately I managed to get myself to and from Australia, passing through Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in the process and it was a rousing success.

And so today it was that I found myself in another new situation, and nervous about it. So many choices. Could I do it? Would I make the right choice? Would I screw it up and cost us a lot of money needlessly? I wanted to do it. But I’d never done it before and I just wasn’t sure that I could do it properly.

Yes, I found myself standing in the middle of the cleaning products aisle at Long’s, looking for things to further clean/scrub the house. Choices I’ve never seriously considered before. When did there get to be so many types from which to choose?

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Take mopping the floor, for instance. I just bought a new "Grab-It Go Mop" for cleaning the floor the other day. I don’t have the strength in my arm (or I may have but it hurts like hell, so I’m learning to become ambidextrous) and I was looking for some effective way to clean the (white–what was I thinking?) floor that wouldn’t kill my arm. This thing has a spray can of foaming solution built into it and a quilted paper "cloth" that wraps around the head on the floor and that cleans. It works pretty well. But I ran out of the "cloths" and needed to buy replacements. But they didn’t have the "grab it" replacements. Would Clorox Ready Mop cloths work? How about Swifter wet cloths? Is that the same as the Swifter wet jet? Or how about Long’s generic cloths? So many choices? So many unanswered questions.

I’ve been trying to get rid of the years-old built up deposits on the faucets (still into that "shining the sink thing, you know) and have gone through a bottle of Lime-Away with minimal results. Today I discovered Lime-away had a thicker version, so maybe that would work. But maybe one of the other brands would work? Which one? Lemon used to be the in-thing. Now it’s orange. Orange everything. Or would something with bleach be good? Clorox has a bleach cleaner, but so does Soft Scrub. Do I want to softly scrub my sink or should I let Clorox (presumably) just eat away into the porcelain? Or do I want Clorox which leaves a Teflon coating on my sink? I thought Teflon was for non-stick coating on pots and pans–when did they give it to you to spread it on your sink? (Does that mean that spaghetti sauce won’t stick to it any more?)

Don’t even get me started on "wipes." There are disinfecting wipes, polishing wipes, deodorizing wipes, electrostatic wipes (do you plug those in?)

I stood there with my brain spinning. I’ve been living in my own house for nearly 40 years and I’m a newly born-again house cleaner, a neophyte in the cleaning aisle.

It was all too much for me. I bought a Dirt Devil, so I could vacuum the stairs (since I can’t lift the heavy vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs yet) and some of that extra thick Lime-Away and came home to re-think this whole thing and figure out what cleaning products I really need.

Somehow I don’t think my ancestors, who came across country in covered wagons had these decisions to make.



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It must be autumn around here!


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Created 12/03/03