Blowing off Steam

I’m essentially housebound this winter with a premature baby who can’t go out in public places, particularly during the season when RSV lands many infants in the hospital. We were there for a month after baby’s birth, and I really don’t want to go back. So basically I don’t leave the house, unless Jeff is around to spell me briefly.

In my state of hibernation, there is ample time to ponder the current state of my family. I had an epiphany this week. Call it the result of lengthy rumination. Call it cabin fever. I’m not sure which it is. Sometimes I suppose it takes being stuck at home with little opportunity for escape to get the creaky gears of this “mommy brain” turning. This epiphany may sound really basic and obvious, but for me it stood out and screamed, “Hey stupid, why didn’t you think of that sooner?!”

It happened as Jeff and I scrubbed another impressionistic mural from Jack’s walls and windows. My mind flashed back to a distant support group outing when my friend April described in glowing terms her newest family addition–a Sargent Steamer, which had proved completely life-changing as she was able to deep-clean and sanitize pretty much every surface in her house with complete ease. April spoke of this machine like it was crack. She just couldn’t quit. After cleaning her entire house in detail, she was moving on to items in the garage, and planning to haul the Sargent to her family’s cabin for a soothing weekend of deep, pressurized steam cleaning. To this mother of a kid with special needs, hearing about said Sargent propelled me into a hypnotic state of fantasizing about a level of cleanliness currently unattainable. Why didn’t I just buy a Sargent myself, you ask? Probably because they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen hundred bones. And probably because I really hoped that this season would quickly pass and wouldn’t necessitate such a fixture in our house. But this week as I struggled with another mighty mess, April’s obsession came back to my mind and I felt like a fool for not already owning such a device.

I decided that while Sargent Steam’s price tag is way beyond what I’m willing to fork out for a cleaning machine, it’s not the only way to achieve the nirvana that April found. I also decided that while no more disasters is the goal, I have to throw myself a bone and find a steamer. I’ll settle for any cheapo version that heats up water and blasts it at messy crevices. My friend Chris, whose immaculate home inspires me to clean with a little more enthusiasm, is letting me test-drive her steamer. So far, so good. We haven’t had to use it yet! Maybe just having it in the house will serve as a talisman against disaster.

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