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Spring Cleaning

Ah, spring cleaning. For me it means so many things.

Yesterday afternoon when I got home from work, I hauled a couple of feeeeelthy bikes out onto the lawn, sprayed ’em down with Simple Green, let that soak into the winter guck for a while, and hosed them down. I worked over some of the more stubborn crusted-on-crud with an old nail brush and a few squirts of Dawn dish soap, did some more rinsing, and then used up my supply of clean rags for drying stuff off. I chased water out of the chains with a little WD40, then lubed ’em proper with TriFlow. Both singlespeeds got the treatment yesterday, road & mtb. Tomorrow, my two main geared bikes will get the works (the ol’ Trek and the yellow Bianchi). Both of those bikes are a special sort of dirty that you get from a sustained period of foul-weather use.

The Trek is especially disreputably dirty, though the grime shows up worse on the sunny yellow paint of the Bianchi. The B has sustained some pretty deep gouges in its rattlecan paint-job, so I may tape off and bag up bits of it that don’t want painting, and touch up the bits of it that do. I put so much freakin’ work into that paint job that it just kind of wounds my aesthetic sensibility to regard those scrapes and scratches on a daily basis. Also, the clearcoat I did on it was WORTHLESS and never really set up right. When I rode this bike on RAGBRAI, a mixture of sunscreen, body glitter, and road-grit melted into the clearcoat on the toptube. It’s really pretty dreadful, and I think I am going to see if I can kind of skim that off with some fine-grit sandpaper.

Beyond de-grunging bicycles, spring cleaning also means that sometime very soon, I will be opening all of the windows and taking the glass out of the screen doors to air out the house while I go nuts with the vacuum, then swab the decks. When the whole house exudes Pine Sol and there’s not a whisp of cat hair to be found, that’s when spring cleaning of the house is done.

It’s also coming close on that time of year when I have to wash all of my sweaters and my heaviest pair of winter tights and pack them away until late fall. I have this big, green suitcase; a relic from my overseas-student days, in which I store my off-season clothes. I took an optimistic peek into it last weekend. My summer clothes are mostly riotously bright, especially my summer cycling gear. Daisy-yellow sleeveless workout tops, coral or magenta colored plain jerseys, and a much-favored lime-green v-necked “wicking” tee await warmer days. I’ve got some cute regular-clothes socked away, too. I’ve also got some stuff I packed up for the winter that never should have been kept. T-shirts that have been worn well past their usefulness, with holes in the shoulder seamlines, stretched-out hems, and egregious streaks of grease and paint. Shorts in similar manky condition. Other things which have never been flattering nor appropriate to wear in public. I’ll be doing yet another wardrobe purge, and soon.

I kind of made an unofficial New Year’s Resolution to get rid of clothing that looks like ass on me, or never gets worn because it doesn’t work with my lifestyle or with anything else in the closet. I tend to get a lot of hand-me-downs and I need to be more selective about what I keep and what I pass along to the Goodwill. This past winter, I think I gave away about half the stuff in my closet, and I think I have another goodly selection to send off even yet. This has helped me clear the decks for some upcoming sewing projects, as well as un-muddy the waters so to speak. When I had all of this stuff hanging around that I never wore, that didn’t work, I tended to get distracted and try to wear stuff that looked stupid or felt uncomfortable. Bad colors, wrong cuts, too-big sizes, and the Ghosts Of Bad Trends Past were lousing up my wardrobe and gulling me into wearing Very Bad Outfits far too often. I purged my extant closet pretty mercilessly, but I missed the suitcase of summer gear. I’ll have to go through that soon, and off anything that’s too ratted out or Just Plain Wrong. Then I can fill in any gaps either with my planned sewing projects, or with a little judicious thrifting.

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