Whimsy For Today

Becky Kueker

My daughter once said to me, “Mom you are not like other women.” I was so pleased it took me a while to understand she did not mean it in a good way. I was always a rule breaker. I grew up in an era where there were a much more defined set of rules, how to dress, how to act, how to clean a house, how to become a woman, please a man, none of which I might add I thought applied to me.

My mother told me I was like a wolf who wanted to play with fire. She did not mean it in a good way either but that was a very exciting thought to me. When I met my husband in high school he said I was like a wild horse, untamed and racing to be free. Wow I thought he gets me!

My mother, bless her heart, did not get me at all. I did all the things I was supposed to do around the house that I was told to do but after I moved out I realized that she gave me chores she disliked the most. So just like her, I hated housework and still do to this day. Housework is just stupid. Not that I don’t have pride in a sparkling clean home, I just don’t want to be the one cleaning it. You make the bed, you dust, vacuum and wash the floor, and you have to repeat that over and over again, like being caught in a revolving door. Phyllis Diller said, “Housework can’t kill you but why take the chance!” That has been my mantra for the last 20 years until of course COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

My cabinet under the sink is now filled with all the “approved” cleaning supplies and wipes one has to have on hand during a pandemic. You know the ones you thought you would have to float a loan to purchase if you could even find them. On a daily basis I am armed with my disposable gloves as I wipe all surfaces that might be suspect. I am constantly cleaning door handles and light switches even though it is just my husband and me touching them. When I had to have a service call I provided shoe covers for the repair man dressed like a Martian looking very frightened as he tiptoed into my house pulling long black plastic gloves up his arms.

We come in through the garage so my mop bucket and cordless vacuum stand like sentinels next to the door as I vacuum and mop my way in and out. The girl who hated cleaning house is now on guard like a Rottweiler waiting to defend her turf. I am constantly telling my husband, “Don’t sit there or touch that I just cleaned!” He thinks I am insane and have taken things a bit too far. Perhaps buying five gallons of Clorox at time is a bit much? But for now, at this moment in time, here we are all bound by the same sanitary rules and I intend to enforce them!

After retiring from a career as senior partner in a commercial architectural and interior design firm, Becky published a memoir on life after retirement, “Hiding in My Pajamas” that launched a national speaking career. Her second book, “A Classic in Clown Shoes” was published in May 2019. Both books are filled with deep, funny, intimate discussions and poignant stories from women and men who have proven that aging does not have to define you and that laughter changes everything.