Posts Tagged With: jobs

My Favorite Thing of the Month

Cleaning up after making bread the other day, I pulled out my cleaning spray for a final once over of the counters. As I spritzed and wiped I felt a sense of satisfaction at a task already tidied. I also felt, oddly, that all was right with the world. Funny how such basic chores as mixing, kneading, cleaning and straightening, can instill a sense of wellness.

Part of the cleanup process I’ve adopted recently involves a gift I received from a friend at Christmas. Every year, instead of delivering dozens of plates of home-baked goodies to her friends, she gifts a favorite find from the past year. Once it was a wonderful spice she had discovered, another time a cool grout cleaning tool. This year it was a cleaning product she adored.

I was a bit taken aback by the scent it claimed to carry.

Radish.

Yes, radish.

Who would have thought something like this could bring such delight into my day?

Who would have thought something like this could bring such delight into my day?

I had the same reaction as you. Seriously? I didn’t even think radishes had a smell, only a biting crunch and tang. I tucked the bottle under my sink, and honestly, kind of forgot about it. It wasn’t until sometime in February, while cleaning under the kitchen sink that I thought of that gift. What an ingrate I was.

I looked at it and wondered what some cleaning company thought radish smelled like. So I turned the knob on the sprayer and pulled the trigger, letting a fine mist of the stuff settle into my sink.

Not bad. Not necessarily radishy, but still a nice, clean scent. I left the bottle on the counter and finished organizing under the sink. That task out of the way I moved on to the rest of the kitchen.

I spritzed the countertops and wiped them clean. Then I moved on to the table.

Nice.

I liked the clean smell. And, bonus! It cleaned really well!

Anything smelled better than bleach or orange oil or ammonia or lemon. I sound kind of snooty don’t I?

Don’t get me wrong. I used to love the smell of bleach after a good cleaning of the bathroom, or a thorough scrubbing of the kitchen sink.

I loved it until it became a paying job.

Yup. I cleaned houses for a living a decade or so ago. I cleaned vacant model homes and I cleaned regular lived-in houses. Both required hard work that took its toll on me. Grateful for the work and the fairly decent pay, I kept at it for several years.

I fell into bed most nights thoroughly spent and certain I had earned every penny. Unfortunately, the smell of bleach haunted my dreams, as did the scent of orange oil and lemon oil, ammonia  and dust.

After several years I eased myself out of that profession and into real estate appraisal, which I thought would pay off big time. Can you say “housing bubble?” The joke was on me.

Sigh.

Looks like I just made a short story very long. I only meant to explain why I love my new radish scented cleaner.

It smells clean, not soapy, not bleachy, not orangey, not lemony.  Now when I clean, I only smell happy memories of my own tidy home, not hundreds of other homes.

For that I thank my sweet friend, Susan.

As my bottle ran low I asked for her secret supplier of this decadent cleaner. She told me it was on sale that week at, of all places, Target! And that it also comes in basil scent. I’m easily amused and just as easily satisfied with simple pleasures. I guess that’s a good thing.

 

 

 

Categories: Fun, Gratitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Small Things That Get Us Through

The last four months of last year I was working two part-time jobs.  Added up to about fifty or sixty hours a week.  They were physically demanding, on my feet for much of it.  A lot of lifting and carrying involved.  The exhaustion was formidable.  After all, I’m not a spring chicken, as my dad used to say.  There were days when simply getting out of bed seemed like a major accomplishment.

One of the jobs, in particular, was the sort of position that  can make a person feel invisible and maybe even small.  There are a few jobs out there like that.  I’ve had a few of them over the years.

There are advantages to that invisibility.  Being disappeared allowed me to observe with unabashed curiosity and clarity.  I watched all sorts of interactions between people that I filed away for future inclusion in a short story or a scene in a novel.

Most of the time I didn’t mind not being noticed.  I was doing my job, which, if I didn’t would be noticed and create some big problems.  Maybe that’s the way most jobs are.

Occasionally, a tough day would rear its ugly head and getting through the first job of the day was discouraging and weightier than normal.  Moods can do that to me.  On just such a day, nearing the holidays, I was the recipient of a gift.

I’m sure that the gift giver didn’t realize how significant her gift was.  I’m sure she didn’t even consider it a gift.  She’d be shocked if she knew I thought of that gift a year later, that I still have the package the gift came in.

Here’s what it looked like:

Yes, she offered me a cup of hot chocolate in this very cup, which I’ve kept.

Suddenly I wasn’t a disappeared person.  I was me, a fellow human being, like her, just trying to get through the day.  The invisibility cloak slipped off my head and fell to the floor around me.  I felt cared about.

Somewhere in the universe, some cog clicked into place that settled some ache in my heart that day.  I felt lighter.  I felt lifted.  I felt love.

Her gift to me was more than hot chocolate.  It was acknowledgment, personhood, a hand of kindness, recognition, friendliness, caring.

Reminds me of this quote:

I can do no great things, only small things with great love.“
– Mother Teresa

Here’s wishing  you a month filled with small things, received and given.

Have you had anything like this happen to you?  What was the gift?  How did it help you? I’d love to hear about it.

Categories: Gratitude, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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