The van looked so neat when I started my journey a week ago. Now I am looking at what one week of eating, sleeping, working and driving in less than 40 square feet can create. One bed is a mess of used, semi-used and really REALLY used clothing while the kitchen area is a collection of cans, silverware and assorted used coffee filters and cream containers. Every window is dirty and the carpeting is a collection of dirt and debris from three different states. Housekeeping appears to be the name of the game today.
HOUSECLEANING…I am convinced I must have skipped that chapter. All the journals and stories I read about traveling the "Mother Road" of Route 66 drew images of motels with unique and campy themes, local eateries with characters worthy of a Dickens novel and wandering souls seeking new opportunities. The part about buying cleaning supplies at Wal-Mart was creatively left out. Before the day is over I will find out that many realities of being on the road were cleverly omitted from the fantasy of being on the road. Separating whites from colors preparing was yet another part left out. Finding 36 quarters for the laundry was a chapter deleted as well.
I think you could buy a line of cocaine for less than what you pay for a line of laundry detergent in any washroom vending machine. After taking close to two minutes to find exactly the six quarters the machine liked and wouldn’t reject, I finally get a Barbie and Ken size box of Tide. The idea of finding another six quarters that the machine will like for my second load does not sit well. I wonder if I would be asked to leave the park if I walk from RV to RV begging for a cup of detergent. My grumbling quickly passes and I start the task of pumping six quarters into the vending machine. Detergent now goes on the new list I have titled "Wal-Mart Sh#t"
Cleaning to me is a process of getting all the clues and fresh evidence removed before the maid shows up. I think it is one of things I picked up from my mom. As a kid all I remember hearing is how we had to clean the house before the maid showed up. I grew up thinking this was the unwritten 11th commandment. G-d forbid if the house was in too much disarray…the maid I guess would refuse to do the work and you would now be on some sort of "Really Dirty House" list and soon no maid in America would step into your place and clean it. My noble attempt to fully clean my vast 40 square foot estate would soon produce more items for the Wal-Mart list.
By day’s end I was able to finally sit at my desk, swivel around and scan my surroundings and see the fruits of my work. Freshly made beds void of assorted laundry. Newly stacked items were proudly sitting in their assigned cupboards. Cleanly swept floor sat neatly beneath my feet which were clad in newly laundered socks. My new collection of Windex, spray disinfectant, laundry detergent and paper towels sat in their newly designated storage area. And my new waste basket sat beneath my work station awaiting my new more civilized approach to living in a van. I smile as I view my 4-wheel estate and smell the sweet aroma of Clorox bleach and Lysol. Yes sir...I am now convinced….no way my name is going on that "Really Dirt House" list!!