No, not NaNoWriMo.
One of the things I’ve learned through living in different areas of the United States is that most communities have things that they do that they simply assume everyone does because that’s the way it is around there. A simple example: I went shopping the other day for a recipe my son wants to cook, and I asked the lady at the seafood store for baby shrimp. She looked like she’d never heard of such a thing, and she asked me what count. When I told her 300 count, she looked at me like I had two heads. Evidently, here, they think shrimp don’t come any smaller than 41-50 per pound.
We ran into other assumptions when we were first looking for a home in Pennsylvania. Our real estate agent believed that all gas furnaces are deathtraps, due to explode within two or three years of installation, so she did her best to steer us away from houses with them. Which, being from the West Coast, we thought was ridiculous because natural gas was everywhere. Here, oil furnaces are more common. And since people here are used to them, no one ever explained to us what sort of maintenance would be necessary. We figured clean the air filters, and we’re good, right?
Not so much. Our house is now like a car: The oil filter needs to be changed once a year. Also, because oil doesn’t burn as clean as gas, the furnace and chimney need to be cleaned regularly.
Our first indication that something was wrong was soot building up everywhere — plastic that sat out, walls, floors, glasses, papers, books. We got a technician out to look at our furnace. He removed the block, replaced the filter, cleaned everything, and told us we should get a service contract to deal with this on an annual basis.
Now we’re left with the clean-up. Usually, housework is way down at the bottom of my list of priorities, and dusting more so. Now? Well, it’s got to be done. The entire house — ceilings, walls, floors, couch covers and sheets laundered, dishes washed, books dusted, everything lying around either cleaned or disposed of. Joy.
There are some things I’m not going to wash. For example, I started to scrub at the wallpaper in our bathroom — one of the few rooms we haven’t removed the wallpaper from. It’s not worth the effort. It will actually be easier to remove the wallpaper, wash the dried paste from the walls, and paint the room. That’s only three rooms, though — our bath, the half bath downstairs, and the hall downstairs. The rest need to be cleaned. Along the way, I might notice some places that need the paint touched up, but for the most part, it’s just cleaning.So now I’m scrubbing. Slowly. I think today I almost gave myself housemaid’s elbow, and I needed to use Icy Hot on my shoulders after cleaning the hallway. Tomorrow, I’ll pick another area to do — probably something small. It may be Christmas before everything is cleaned (and I’ll probably have to rent a tall ladder to clean the area above the front door), but at least we’ll be starting the new year with a clean slate.
Still working on the writing. Still running my business. I’ll even try to get to a couple of write-ins for NaNoWriMo before the month is out (Tuesday evening for sure!). But if you’re looking for me and can’t find me, the odds are that I’m cleaning.