Lenten Challenge: Wrap-Up Edition

I managed some cleaning on Good Friday— for the life of me, I don’t think I could tell you what I did, but I know I managed some. I think I folded clean laundry and maybe unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher for a total of let’s say 45 minutes, while I watched “Scandal.” And then later that evening, I… um… I think I was mostly distracted by the fact that when I finally went to the eye doctor, he said I have a pretty serious infection in my cornea and when I looked it up, while walking the dog, I realized that my choice to delay going could have cost me vision in that eye, or even have cost me my eye. And I was chastened by that. I think what I accomplished before bed on Friday was putting away the laundry that was harder for me to put away— linens and things, and I put the spring throw pillows out and stowed the cold-weather stuff. Let’s say I did 2 hours work.

Saturday, I was running for most of the day. I thawed the lamb and the butter I’d use for the dessert. I had the pup’s physical therapy and some other running around to do. But after I got back from the Easter Vigil, I started getting the house ready for guests. I moved my dining room table out of my tiny dining room and into an area with more room. I stripped off the St. Patrick’s table-set and put it away and put together a preliminary set for Easter. I got clarity that I should have mom set the table for dinner while I managed cooking and cleaning. I weeded through the dog’s toys and threw some things away and stowed some things. I swept and mopped the floor and put together Mom’s gift. I prepped the butter braid that Mom and I were going to have before guests arrived (I was shooting for a late afternoon meal, so this kept us going.) I probably did 90 minutes work.

Sunday, my plates were spinning. I got up, started putting together the lemon tart shell (which has to chill before you bake it) and then baked the butter braid. While I did that, I cleaned the microwave and the counters off. I swept (I have animals— I sweep 43 times in this story.) I got cleaned up while the butter braid baked, then picked mom up. She and I had the butter braid and opened our gifts, then stowed everything. I got out the nice dishes and silverware and wine glasses for mom to set the table. I threw the tart shell in the oven and cleaned the bathroom and entryway. I swept again. I got the lamb roasting and continued tidying up, while mom worked on presentation. I chopped potatoes and onions and we chatted. It was actually really pleasant. When I have her help me cook, she takes a lot longer to slice and dice than I do, and I don’t normally have the kind of margin that allows for that, so I typically put on a movie and say I don’t need help. This was much better. There was no need for passive aggression or other issues, because everyone was having a really good day. When guests arrived, the house looked good (not great, but good), the table was lovely, the food was prepared (except for the asparagus, which I put in just as the last guest arrived, so it wouldn’t be overdone) properly and on the schedule I had promised, and except for having to rescue the dog from a kid standing over him with a bat, just as we sat down to dinner (he was an absolute prince, by the way. Came in, picked a quiet corner near the table, lay down, no begging, whining, or complaining. As if that were how we rolled. Yay for making me look good!) dinner was pleasant— good food, good conversation, very nice. Another friend dropped in for a drink and dessert, and it was just utterly pleasant.

I even washed and dried the special dishes by hand and the silverware, so it’s all ready for me to put away tonight. I think I’m going to leave the table out so I can paint baseboards in the dining room later this week. Let’s say that I did, like, 4 hours work yesterday, counting dishes and everything. Some of it was “just stow this in the guest room and close the door cleaning, so I’ll work on going back and putting those things away properly, but by and large, there’s not a ton of that.

So the Lenten Challenge left me with a cleaner house on Easter than I had on Ash Wednesday. We can sort of call it a win, even though I didn’t get rid of 40 bags of stuff (unless you count regular trash and recycling) and I didn’t develop a cleaning routine. I feel less like a defective person in the areas it’s not working, because I can see I’m putting in regular time, but that my expectations aren’t always appropriate to the amount of time I have to spend on things. I think more throwing things out is a key step, so I have fewer things to clean and more space to put things away.

How were your Lenten challenges? Did you have a nice Easter?

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