Best work is more than ‘lick and a promise’

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

A lick and a promise. That’s the method that I used to clean our house this past week.

I typically change sheets on Friday, and clean the bathrooms, dust the furniture and tchotchkes (aka trinkets, keepsakes, treasures, etc.), vacuum, and mop. I wipe nearly everything and every surface. But this week, I did a light cleaning, skipping some of my usual processes because I had an appointment later that day.

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I remember hearing my mother saying she was giving something a “lick and a promise.” I didn’t quite understand that when I was younger, but as I got older and sometimes would skip a portion of whatever task I was doing, I could hear the echo of my mother’s reference to a “lick and a promise.”

Honestly, sometimes the lick and promise method is necessary. But gradually it becomes your normal and over time, it means that you are slacking on your responsibilities. It then becomes difficult, if not impossible, to catch up and get back on track.

I remember reading in a housekeeping tips publication that you shouldn’t use just old rags to dust with. That you should take the time to hem them, fold them neatly, and treat them as a tool rather than a throw-away. Who takes time to hem their dust rags? I have a couple of dust rags that were once a dishtowel. I use them, I wash them, I fold them, but there is one ragged edge, not hemmed.

Along the same line, I have a rayon mop head. It’s big and takes quite a lot of effort to wring out. But I like it, I’ve used the same brand for years, and it’s part of my housecleaning arsenal.

I’ve seen several of the updated mops. Specifically, the O-Cedar Easy Wring Spin Mop & Bucket System. Very sexy. You don’t have to touch the mop head to wring it. The spin bucket does it for you. I’ve been tempted to get one to try it, but my “I’ve always done it this way” interferes with my ability to try something new.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have a dishwasher until I was in my teens. My mother appointed me and my brother as the dishwasher and dish dryer. We knew it had to get done, but oh how we procrastinated! Why? I have no idea. That chore loomed over us.

I remember once when we had cousins who came to visit and swim in the creek by our house, and we wanted to go swim with them. Mom told us we could not go until we did the dishes. We decided that we would stack the dirty dishes in the dishrack and hide them under the sink.

Brilliant idea! Yes, we went swimming. And when we returned to the house after swimming, Mom confronted us about the dirty dishes we had placed out of sight. Do you know how tired you are after swimming? And yet we had to wash and dry all those dirty dishes.

I really wished we could have given that chore a lick and a promise!

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