Time for fall cleaning. Most of my friends have cleaning ladies, or cleaning services. For a while, I had a cleaning lady myself, and although I loved coming home to a clean house, the cleaning lady phase of my life didn't last long. First, I don't like having strangers in my house; second, although she was very nice, she never cleaned anything as well as I'd clean it myself; third, she oiled the Pergo floor in the gameroom, a fact I discovered one night by almost breaking my neck as I slid at an alarming speed across the smooth surface before coming to a stop by slamming into the coffee table. Pergo is laminate, and doesn't absorb oil, so not only was I bruised, but it took forever to remove the oil from the floor. That was the final straw. I've been cleaning my house by myself ever since.
So today, I drove to Home Depot where I bought a paintbrush, a small can of dark walnut Minwax, rubber gloves, a couple of packs of fresh, soft, white terry cloth cleaning rags, a bottle of Murphy's oil soap, a flat of yellow mums, still tightly closed, as well as three bigger pots of slightly opened yellow mums, and one pot of glorious, scented, purple and lavender, late summer petunias.
At home, outside my front door, I took down the summer wreath and put up the fall one; I washed out a terra cotta pot and saucer, added soil and one of the partially opened yellow mums, and hung it on the wall; I washed the windows on the front door and gave the wood a fresh coat of Minwax; I polished the brass doorknob until it sparkled but vowed to replace it, by this time next year, with a mechanically elegant, heavy black thumb latch that never needs to be polished.
Inside my house I removed the blue cotton quilted summer runner from the dining room table. In the laundry room, I appled Carbona to a couple of spots on the runner before tossing it into the washing machine. Back in the dining room, I washed the dining room table and all the chairs with warm water and Murphy's oil soap. I went outside and potted the petunias; then came back in and applied a coat of Johnson's paste wax to the dining room table.
While that was drying, I changed out candles, replacing the white, unscented summer candles on the piano and candelabras with some nutmeg colored, lightly scented, autumn spice candles. I went into the garage where I found a lambs wool glove that I put on, and then I spent a hard half hour hand buffing the wax on the dining room table to a hard, glossy finish. I retrieved a fall runner of rust and brown and gold embroidered silk, and put that on the dining room table. I washed the branch candelabras that I always use in the dining room, because they're low and it's nice to eat by candlelight, but also to have the light low enough so you don't have to see through it, and I washed each of the small, frosted votives that sits on the branches; then I refilled them with vanilla scented tealights, trimming the wicks first. I hung the autumn garlands. I cleaned the shutters.
There's lots more to do, but tonight the house smells clean, the dining room looks beautiful... and there's no chance I'll almost break my neck, walking across the gameroom floor.