The Val & Kit Mystery Series

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Spring Clean(ers)

“You busy?” It was me, calling Kit at 11:30 on a particularly sunny April morning after I had just completed a very lucrative closing. “Wanna have lunch?  I’m buying. Anywhere you want. I just sold a house.”

“Great.” Kit sounded a little breathless.

“Okay, I’ll pick you up. Where do you—”

“I’m busy. You do realize it’s April, right?”

“Yes. Is that supposed to mean something?” It was possible. I shook my brain up a bit. Last week I forgot to attend a free spin class, even though the coupon was taped to my calendar.

“April . . . spring . . . ringing any bells?” Kit continued.

Brain still rattling, I tried to think.

I heard her exasperated sigh. “Spring cleaning, Val. You know I spend the first week of April cleaning.”

“Oh, really?  No, I didn’t know that. How would I know that?”

“How would you not?”

“I guess I forgot.” I was curious. I had never known Kit to spend a day, much less a week, cleaning anything. “What about Martha? Doesn’t she pretty much take care of the place, like twice a week?”

“Ha! Her! I think her names Maria. She went back to Columbia, or El Salvador, or wherever it was she came from.”

“Are you sure? Because—”

“Of course I’m sure. I think I’d know when my own maid—”

“Only you don’t seem to know her name or what country she’s from, soooo—”

“Val, trust me, she’s gone. And it’s up to me to get gutters cleaned, floors waxed, windows washed, blah, blah, blah.” Her last blah sounded on the verge of hysteria.

“Okay, I get it. No time for lunch. I’ll stop by anyway and help.”

“Yeah, that would be good, and pick up some coffee. I’m almost done with the kitchen.”

An hour later we were sitting on Kit’s patio, drinking our Starbucks and watching through the French doors as two middle-aged women wearing pink overalls waxed her hardwood floors. On my way in, I had passed a man on a ladder throwing debris from her gutters to the ground. In the hallway, another woman was cleaning her oversize gilt-edged mirror, and yet another woman with her back to me was vacuuming the stairs.

“You must be exhausted,” I said to Kit.

“You bet, Valley Girl. Larry just doesn’t get how much work it is to keep this place looking good.”

“Understandable,” I said, as the patio door opened and a young woman appeared.

“I am ready to start the laundry, ma’am. And José would like to begin cleaning the pool.”

“Ah geez.” Kit sighed. “See what I mean, Val? It’s so much work. You don’t know how lucky you are.”

Later, when I got home to my tiny apartment, I changed out my Swiffer Duster for a fresh new one. It took until the first commercial break in Law & Order:  SVU to dust all four rooms, sweep the kitchen floor, and run a cloth over the bathroom mirror. When I finished, I poured myself a glass of wine and drank a toast to Swiffers everywhere. Then I kicked whatever it was that I saw sticking out from under the couch back into its hiding place.

Whatever it was, I’d catch it in twelve months, during my next spring cleaning.

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