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JANICE WELLS: Now, more time for commercial cleaning

Sprinkling your carpet with baking soda, allowing it to sit for a while, and then vacuuming can help eliminate odours. - Getty Images/iStockphoto
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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

I am becoming a biweekly columnist. This is both good news and bad news.

It is good news because I will have more time for my work as a commercial cleaner. It is bad news because I’ve let my commercial cleaning slip a bit lately (although I was never paid what I was worth) and being a biweekly, instead of a weekly, columnist could have a detrimental effect on my monthly gin and wine allowance. If I let it.

Some chance.

Writers everywhere will understand when I say I am reminded of a funny story. When I was in the hospital, very sick, a few years back, the woman in the next bed told her mother that I wrote a column in the paper. The older woman looked at me with great pity and said, “It just goes to show you, doesn’t it, my darling, that it doesn’t matter how much money you have when you don’t have your health.”

Bless her. That’s about my only fond memory of that bleak time.

The sordid truth now is that the coming of Netflix and now Britbox have had a drastic effect on my commercial cleaning because of course, Netflix and Britbox have no commercials.

I have commercial cleaning honed to a cutting-edge skill. I can cook a meal during evening news commercials. I won’t say the meat is always moreish, and I am often very thankful that Newman has never met an overcooked vegetable that he didn’t like, but the things I can do during a commercial would make Mr. Clean’s head spin.

Admittedly, my self-described prowess is what my mother would have called giving it a lick and a promise, but I’m the mother now and I can call it what I like, and I call it cleaning.

I’ve been known to hang out a full line of clothes and only have to rewind “Kelly and Ryan” a few seconds. I’ve vacuumed the runners on the stairs and the animal hairs off the couch and not missed a minute of “The View.”

I know I could always use “pause” or “record” to harmonize my activities, but I am a creature of habit and routine when it comes to my morning TV friends, and I get a bizarre rush at seeing how much I can get done during commercials. In fact, I sort of feel that that’s what commercials are for and it would be a waste to use them for anything else.

In double fact, it would not be impudent were someone whose name shall be withheld to opine that I time my housework to coincide with my favourite shows.

And while I’m in a pragmatic mood, I will confess I am somewhat optimistic that writing biweekly will have a positive effect on my relationship with Newman. He might not be so anxious for me to leave town. No, no, he’s not trying to get rid of me permanently, but he does say that if I’d go away for a few days he could really give the house a good cleaning. 

I’d gladly accommodate him if I had anywhere to go, but where do you go in the middle of the winter for just a few days? I could check into a spa, but it would be cheaper to hire a cleaner, even if I could find one as good as Newman.

So here I am now, almost four years after my encounter with the sympathetic missus in the hospital, back in my health, with a nice roof over my head, food on the table and my glass still half full of my drink of choice.

Look for me every second Monday in The Telegram, starting on Feb. 11, where I will continue to spout words of wisdom.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at

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