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I think I have a healthy, well-adjusted relationship to housework, though at times, I admit to channelling my inner-Monica.

For example, I rarely pick up an iron. But I enjoy grocery shopping, and so this task always gets done. Good thing, too: my family needs food more than they need wrinkle-free clothes.

But I love, love, love it when it when the housework is done. The sense of accomplishment when laundry hampers are empty (usually, this lasts half a second) is big. My heart leaps at the sight of shiny, clean washrooms, vacuumed stairs and bedrooms free of under-the-bed dust bunnies.

Sunday, I went impromptu obsessive-compulsive over our main floor windows.

When we moved into our new home, we inherited a decade’s worth of stickers on single window, save for one bedroom. The kids’ room had a bunch of offensive Hello Kitty stickers covering an entire pane. I removed them fairly easily, with mild objections from the little ones. This was the first re-claimed window.

There was a gunky mess made by probably the same Hello Kitty child on our balcony. Taken all together, I think it might have spelled out “hello” but I covered it with a stick-on tile earlier this summer.

A bulldozer couldn’t have taken that thing off the pane of our balcony – and I came close to using one – but now I smile when I sit in our re-claimed space.

The main floor stickers included a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign that freaked out our friends (“When did you get a dog?”), a sign warning of our Radio Shack installed security system, and another which said we were part of the Metropolitan Police of Toronto neighbourhood watch (not the Toronto Police Service, who serve and protect us in this century).

It took me two good hours of my life to scrub off all the stickers. I used steel wool, which is close to contraband in our co-op, vinegar spray, a kitchen knife and mostly, will.

I look at the windows now and feel as though I have finally claimed our family’s home as our own. We do not live in a space with decades-old stickers on our windows. I have done right by them.

I feel freedom. Freedom from the irritation I felt every time I looked out of one the windows, or opened my front door, and read ‘Beware of Dog’ when there is no dog. (We had actually crossed it out and written ‘Frog’ – based on the creature pictured. He has a motion-sensor ‘ribbit’ and occasionally serves as a our guard frog.)

I feel light. The burden of the stickers which were never ours has been lifted. The task is finally done, the time is now. Zen through sticker-free windows is, in fact, possible.

Meri Perra lives with her amazing family, tiny cat and massive cargo bike in Toronto’s downtown east end.


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