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Cleaning Screens

The other day I was sitting around at home and I noticed that my window screens looked really dirty and dusty. I suddenly remembered being a kid, and my mom making me clean the screens. She would always pick a warm sunny day in spring and I’d get a bucket of warm sudsy water and a wooden scrub brush. But the most fun was rinsing the screens off with the hose. I thought and thought and realized I hadn’t cleaned a screen since then.

We’ve only lived in our new house for 3 years, so the screens couldn’t be that dirty; but still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Plus, this time of year is depressing: Spring isn’t really here yet and everything looks dull and miserable. And it is still too cold to take the screens outside and wash them—or better yet, get my kids to do it. But it was really bothering me. So I had an idea…

I took down some of the screens and put them in my shower that has a hand-held showerhead. And yes, I got in there with them and scrubbed them down with a bucket of sudsy water (just some non-toxic dishwashing soap will do) and an old wooden scrub brush. When I rinsed I couldn’t believe all the dirt that came off. It was very satisfying to see it all wash away. They really had been dirty after all.

Just that morning a friend had recommended I download a new release of a 1968 coffee-house performance by Neil Young, “Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968 …” It was both surreal and sweet to listen to a recording that had been made the last time I washed screens, while remembering and re-learning to do something I had long ago forgotten. Back then I probably wasn’t wearing a shirt either!

Cleaning screens is one of the seemingly boring spring cleaning things that probably doesn’t make that big of a difference if you do it or don’t do it (which reminds me, if you are going to dry them off with a towel, use a lint-free towel or you’ll have to do them all again…trust me on this). But when it’s done, spring seems that much closer.

Oh, and while you are at it, give the window sills a good scrubbing too.

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5 Responses to Cleaning Screens

  1. supernaturalhudsonvalley March 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    That Neil Young recording is great! Music and cleaning are both great ways to get around the almost-spring-but-not-really-blues. Everything inside is so dirty and it’s not gardening time just yet (at least not for me…), I’ve been scrubbing about so that when it is nice out, I don’t have to worry about indoors. Although, I’m not sure if I’m motivated enough to do the screens! My excuse: I have a five-month old!

  2. Christina76 March 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    It was dreamy to look out my windows after cleaning the screens and really SEE outside. Awesome post. Also, I just finished reading your column about garden dreams in the OG magazine and wanted to add mine to your dreamcatcher: I inherited my Nonna’s vegetable garden in the northwest section of Philadelphia when she died and we bought the house. It’s the best thing that has happened to me (beside my lovely son, Jonah, and darling hubby)… Anyway, the garden is bordered by these old, old concord grape vines. They are prolific, work horse grape vines and I adore them. We’ve had jam enough to make lunches all fall and winter and now, spring. One thing, the vines are supported by old, old wood, telephone wire, clothesline, whatever… I really want a lovely, durable grape arbor. That’s it. That’s my dream!

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