Today? Today I didn't even have to use my AK (couldn't resist - I can never resist quoting that lyric!). Today I worked hard.
It seems to be a pattern now - I sign up for week long readathons and end up reading less than I would have ordinarily read. This week, I've read a great deal less than normal for various reasons, none of them terribly interesting. So I thought today I'd either catch up with it, or I'd do something I've been putting off for ages: finish the spring clean. And, I am pleased to report, aside from the spare room, it is finished. It is clean, this house is clean. I love a clean house.
And now it's after midnight and I'm filthy. My nails are black (worryingly, so too is the cut on my finger from Lily), my face is grey with black smudges, Big C's white t-shirt which I'm wearing is stained beyond redemption. I've scrubbed ovens, fires, toilets, and cupboards, I've cleaned out stoves and log burners, I've unblocked a sink and a bath, vacuumed the whole house, polished brass, polished the old retro fruit machine in the kitchen, soaked kitchen utensils, washed floors and windows.... I started at 12.30, stopped to make and eat lunch for half an hour at 3pm, then once more for ten minutes to drink a cup of coffee, and finished minutes before Big C walked in the door at half ten. Ten hours.
My back hurts. My wrists hurt. I have tiny flecks of steel wool in my hands, coal dust and grime over my face, black nails, and dirty legs where I've been kneeling. And honestly - it feels good. It's the pain that has come from hard work. The house is sparkling. I should have done it a month ago, and yes, I still have the spare room (tomorrow) and the patio (when the weather is warmer) to go. But I have done the worst of it. I like the soreness and the filth on me. I've achieved something I can see, and this kind of clean feels like more than just superficial; it feels deep. I swear, this kind of cleaning is therapeutic.
Plan for tomorrow, then: if the weather is warm I'll sweep up the ash on the patio and clean it, then I'll sort the spare room. Hopefully, I'll be finished by tea time and I can finish either Nicholas Nickleby (which I am absolutely loving), or The Color Purple (which is absolutely wonderful, too). I'm looking forward to tomorrow evening, sitting down at the end of it all having achieved something important, aching most likely, but clean (I will have a bath) and resting these aching muscles. But yes, tired, aching, sore, and filthy, but righteous.