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Deep Cleaning the Kitchen

June 15th, 2015 at 04:41 am

Yesterday I arrived at my mother's condo at about 10 a.m. I knew I had 3 hours to do some deep cleaning there, before I went to visit my mother at assisted living.

I thought perhaps I could finish up the kitchen in that time, and I had it in my head that I would start with the floor. Well, I spent 2.5 hours SCRUBBING it with a brush and just using hot water and dish detergent. It is covered with pit marks which trap dirt, giving the overall appearance of lots of black dirt spots.

So in 2.5 hours of constant scrubbing, no breaks, I managed to clean HALF of the kitchen floor. It really took a lot of elbow grease to get the dirt off, but oh, does it look like new now! I can't imagine that a professional cleaning crew would spend as much time on that floor as I did, or if they did, I guess I'd be paying more than I expected.

If anyone has any nifty tips for cleaning kitchen counters or wood cabinets, please let me know. I was going to try full strength vinegar on the laminate counters and try to somehow clean the cabinets first before using a wood polish on them. There's a stainless steel sink and chrome fixtures too. And the fridge to do.

Today the carpet guys are coming between 9 and 11 so I will be there at 9 and will continue working on the floor while they work. Hopefully, I won't be in their way.

After working on the floor yesterday, I went to get my mother. I took her to Shakespeare's Garden a lovely garden nursery where they have lots of interesting planters in unexpected objects. Most of all she enjoyed the laid back cat lying on the counter of the gift shop.

After that I took her to a photography exhibit at local library, and then we went to a veggie juice bar where she had a mango/coconut drink and I had beets and pomegranate.

She still talks about going back home, which makes me feel guilty as hell, because I'm making lots of decisions disposing of her stuff which are irreversible.

I feel like I've taken away everything that was precious and meaningful to her, but simply put, she couldn't take all her belongings with her to assisted living.

Holding onto her stuff indefinitely is really problematic, as my house right now is filled with it and I have narrow little passages to get from one room to the other. I could rent a bin somewhere, but then how long would I keep it? And I don't need any more bills!

What's most important are her relationships with friends and family, and I am doing my best to see her regularly, take her out on little day trips and encourage the staff to keep her engaged. It's a lot of responsibility for one person and once again I must point out my sister's lack of involvement is something I just can't forgive. I suppose we are all flawed human beings, in one way or another.

I sent an email to staff at assisted living with a link to a local place that lets groups visit their llama and goat farm. My mother would like that. I would take her myself, but it appears they're only open to groups, and they did mention senior citizen groups on their site.

3 Responses to “Deep Cleaning the Kitchen”

  1. Carol Says:

    My best tips: Windex and then paper towels (or cloth) for formica type tops, cleanser for stainless steel sink. Dry after cleaning. After cleaning chrome, rubbing alcohol to make fixtures shine. For tub, fill with hot water and dump in cheap shampoo, let sit,easy to clean after that.

    When I was dealing with my mom's dementia, I found reading the "New Old Age" blog articles from the NYTimes, especially the comments from other caretakers very helpful. They are now archived on the Times website. The founder of the blog Jane Gross wrote a helpful book of what she had learned caring for her own mother: "The Bittersweet Season." When Jane retired, Paula Span took over the blog and also wrote a book on options for our elderly parents.This one might be even more helpful to you. After you have dealt with all this hard work, maybe you can take a breath and read some of these for ideas and consolation (and getting rid of the guilt.) You are doing the best you can and it is out of love. I am very sorry that she is not happy where she is; now that she is safe, when you have more time, maybe you can work on the contentment piece. Right now, it is too much, I think. My best, caring thoughts for you and your mom.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    You are doing something that is very difficult, but necessary. For your mom, it is also difficult. As I age, I realize how very hard it is to give up pieces of your life; to realize that there are things you will never do, and that the future is starting to be about survival and hedging against losses, instead of endless growth and opportunity. Maybe the dementia actually helps to ease the pain. I know I came to welcome my mother's drifts into the past, because she was happy there.

    I guess that's a roundabout way of saying it's perfectly natural, even in the best of circumstances, that she would long for her home and her things. And yet you must do what needs to be done -- her possessions cannot be put on hold for a future that won't come to pass.

    You may need to just let go of expecting anything out of your sister. It sounds like she has proved herself time and time again to be somewhat short of the mark. You need all your energy; don't waste it on wishing she would change her spots.

  3. snafu Says:

    That kitchen floor sounds like a nightmare! Countertop and cabinet cleaners depends on composition. Laminate Counter: sprinkle baking soda and spray with vinegar to bubble, let sit 5 minutes, scrub with brush, rinse off & buff with dry microfibre cloth.
    Wood cupboards: Murphy Oil Soap, [2 types] , tooth brush for hardware

    I find it far easier to use a Steamer to clean and wipe dry with microfiber cloths, tiny bit of Murphy's Oil to buff

    http://www.amazon.ca/Multi-Purpose-Pressurized-Cleaning-Sanitizing-Attachments/dp/B000OP3ABM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434379077&sr=8-1&keywords=hand+held+steam+cleaners

    these are often on sale, I dislike Bissel brand but you may have better luck.

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