Last weekend on CBC radio’s Sunday Edition, it was suggested that the whole world could be divided into Oscars and Felixes--you know, the quintessential opposites of neatnik and slob from the classic Neil Simon Odd Couple play, and later, movie, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
Jack Lemon as Felix (left) and dapper Walter Matthau as Oscar
Ideally, a couple should have one of each type—a Felix and an Oscar—to create an internal check and balance system. Unfortunately for us, especially now during spring cleaning season, we’ve come to realize that there is no Felix to be found in this house. We’re more like Oscar and Oscar light. Oscar light feels a vague pull to order at this time of year—a subtle yearning for clean surfaces, less clutter, fresh smells, and general organization. But, Oscar light being the daughter of an artist, also an Oscar light—no offense, mom, didn’t really learn the secrets of structured, orderly housekeeping. I learned instead how to paint, make things, solve problems creatively, and enjoy life.
Lately, though, the state of our house, which is a mobile construction zone (as our renovation efforts move from room to room), has been interfering with my enjoyment of life and my work (I work from home) and I have decided to become, at least temporarily, a Felix. The thing is, I could use help. I don’t really know where to begin or how to systematically tackle the chaos. Because some of our rooms are completely cleared out for renovations, and two closets have been eliminated, our intact rooms are stuffed full. I have turned for assistance to the excellent Home Ec 101 site and am taking their advice to begin by doing the laundry. So, today, the laundry machine was humming away. I would love to hear how anyone else tackles the spring cleaning ordeal, especially Oscars turned Felixes (because if you’re a Felix to begin with, spring cleaning probably isn’t much of an ordeal for you). Yesterday, after work, I thought I would make a start, but I couldn’t face up to the indoor mess and so I went into the yard to begin cleaning up out there. At least outside, spring cleaning has instant rewards. I found these early spring blooms bravely peeking through the leaves.