My mother does not wash floors

My mother and I continue to agree to disagree about a stark fact of reality from my childhood. Never did I ever witness my mother cleaning a floor. Never saw a mop in her hand or watched her carry a bucket of soapy water to the kitchen or to either of the one-and-half baths of our suburban home. It was my father who cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, scrubbing the floors on his hands and knees.

My maternal great-grandmother ironing in 1942. I never met her, but am pretty sure she would frown on my housekeeping skills.

This is not to say my mother avoided housework. She did plenty. And in a way, I was lucky to have parents who modeled a split division of labor among the housekeeping chores. When popular magazines and daytime TV shows discussed ways wives could get their husbands to help out around the house, I was often confused. Both of my parents worked to keep the house flowing, although I had definite ideas about who did what job.

For example: When I was 4 years old and my mother was pregnant with my brother, I became terribly concerned about eating. Who would prepare our meals? Apparently it would be dad and I was skeptical. “Are you sure you can cook?” I questioned my father point-blank in the kitchen one day. “Yep,” he said. “Toast and cereal.” Alrighty, then. At 4 that was good enough for me. (Come to think of it, most days it still is good enough for me.)

So, I learned, men could cook, wash the floors and clean the bathroom.

Apparently, I’m waiting for one to come along and clean my floors and bathroom. Because that’s a skill I have (a) yet to master and (b) failed to develop even the slightest amount of enthusiasm for. Sometimes I wonder: If my mother had taken on those cleaning duties would I be more inclined to be a better housekeeper?

Nah. Though I like to tease her about it.

But alas, it is spring and it’s time to clean out some drawers, closets and cupboards. Here’s my Top 5 athletic spring cleaning list. What’s on yours?

  1. Check the mileage on my running shoes. There are many variables to wear and tear on the kicks, but after my bout with plantar fasciitis, I’m inclined to put in some extra money for more frequent changes. I am all about avoiding the repeat injury.
  2. Schedule a bike tune-up. While I have friends who ride outside year round in the Northeast, it needs to be in the high 40s to 50s for me to take my beloved bike off the trainer in the basement and out into the light of day. A tune-up is a must to make sure everything is working well and that I didn’t do too much damage through my mechanical neglect.
  3. Buy Fig Newtons. If it’s almost time to ride outside, it soon will be time to buy Fig Newtons, my fuel of choice during most long bike rides. I have not consumed a fruit-and-cake cookie since Esprit Montreal. I think I can finally stomach them in mass quantities for extended periods of time again.
  4. Speaking of food, time to check the expiration dates on my sport nutrition products. Seriously, the other day I checked out my big jug of sports drink powder only to discover it expired in January of 2010. (Lesson No. 1: Buying in bulk is not always cost efficient.) It’s also good to sort through all those “samples” of gels from race day goodie bags and toss the ones past due or flavors I have no intention of ingesting.
  5. Examine my water bottles. Sometimes, they go with age. Sometimes, they sadly end up nasty after neglectful care on my part. Either way, it’s good to assess preseason rather than end up panicked and grossed out the morning of my first 50-mile bike ride.

Don’t forget, it’s inaugural giveaway week at the blog! Check out details on how to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Runners by clicking here.

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