I’m not trying to move in on Heloise’s turf, offering snappy "household hints" to my readers, but we’re chasing dust bunnies and candy wrappers with our vacuum cleaner, and I wanted to share a few of my own cleaning tricks.
The first trick to cleaning anything is to postpone it.
"I can’t clean the house right now. I have something far more important to do." Then you’ll need to find something far more important to do, or you’ll be branded a dirty liar. You could say you have to help a friend "take something apart." That’s a common and fairly legitimate excuse, and it should get you out of mopping.
So invite a buddy out to help you take apart a 16-inch pizza. By my calculation, that’ll burn a few hours, and you won’t need any special tools like you did when you helped your friend take his Volvo apart.
If you can’t postpone cleaning, the next best trick is to get someone else to do it, just like Tom Sawyer did with that whitewashed fence business.
In my case, I could call a few friends and say, "I can’t visit you today. I have to clean the house. ‘Vampire Diaries’ is filmed here, you know."
Within 20 minutes, I bet I’d be overrun with starry-eyed people hoping to be part of the Big Time. After they finished cleaning my house — or "the set" as I’d let them call it — I’d remind them that "filmed here" means "in Covington," not "in my house."
One should never lie, but if your friends can’t process the English language without dreaming they’ll become television stars, then that’s their character flaw, not yours. You might need to find some smarter friends, but wait until after your house is clean. Of course, if you can’t postpone cleaning, and if you can’t get someone else to do it for you, then you’ll have to employ this final trick. Hide everything.
You can empty out a bean bag chair and stuff it with dirty clothes. You can put your moldy dishes in a plastic tub and tell everyone it’s an art-house piece called, "Man’s Secret Soul." Hide anything and everything except leftover shrimp. Shrimp stink to the heavens!
You don’t want anyone to figure out that you’re just a slob who can’t even con a friend into taking apart a free pizza, do you?
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.