My I LOVE LUCY Moments

Apr 19

Photo Credit:The Kobal Collection

Who says I can’t clean my apartment?

Who says that my attempts at housekeeping are doomed to failure?

Who says that my domestic adventures are closer to I Love Lucy than The Donna Reed Show ?

Well, me, for one.

And my cleaning lady, for another. Who happens to be—by one of those coincidences Freud tells us don’t exist—named Lucy.

She is now self-isolating in the far-off kingdom of Queens, leaving me with the horrible realization that at some point I’d have to clean the apartment.

The dust bunnies were cute at Easter, but by last week enough was enough. So out came the vacuum cleaner, you know, the one I had ordered for Lucy but had never actually seen (except when rummaging around the closet for something else), much less (Gasp!) used. As you might guess, problems ensued, the first being: Where the hell do you plug it in? Then, when I finally managed to find the right outlet with the help of my gentleman friend (who was doing all the heavy lifting), we couldn’t figure out how to turn it on.  On this particular model, the On/Off switch is is not visible to the naked eye unless you know where to look. So I did the logical thing: I called Lucy.

And that wasn’t the only time. After the vacuum cleaner was up and running and the carpets were sufficiently free of crumbs and assorted other debris, we proceeded to the laundry room, where we started throwing clothes into the machines, I having previously sorted the whites and the darks (I was so proud of myself for having done this), then tried to figure out how to get the damn machines to work.

Now folks, I have done my share of laundry, beginning way back in college, and continuing through the years when I had a country house, complete with guests who used towels as if they were going out of style (some of them did: both the towels and the guests). I know about sorting, temperatures, how long things take in the dryer. But I didn’t know the machines in this particular laundry room because it had been redone since the last time I did laundry, after the Stone Age, but before this bleeping pandemic.

Figuring out how to get the machines going wasn’t that hard after all, although it took the two of us to decipher the directions (Who writes these things anyway?), but the real trick was replenishing the cash in the card that activates the machines. Actually, no cash is involved any more (the last time I did laundry the machines took quarters), but requires a credit card, which, fortunately, I had but didn’t know how to use in yet another machine. And these directions were really confusing. So, sigh, once again, a call was placed to She Who Must Be Consulted.

With Lucy’s help, the laundry got done, the sheets went back on the bed, the clothes were all folded and put away (this alone took me a half hour because there was a ton of tee shirts and sweatpants, not to mention the unmentionables), and all I could think of was: Lucy does this every week! Every week! And dusts, and polishes, and shines things up, and cleans the bathrooms. About that. As my delightful Aunt Loretta has announced to the world more than once, “I am too old to clean toilets.” Amen. And yet. It had to be done. I struggled with the Lysol Super Strength Bowl Cleaner (you know, the one that squirts out under the rim) until I realized that the opening was blocked (well, better it than me), managed to unplug it and completed the task for which the saying “It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it” was meant to be uttered. Unironically.

But I guess my best I-Love-Lucy moment was in the kitchen when I attempted to damp mop the floor. I couldn’t figure out which pole went with which attachment, and none of them had that wringer thingie they used to have, so I ended up practically flooding the floor and having to mop up the excess with towels (Oh no, more laundry!). Oh well, thought I, it’s only water. It could have been vodka!

I realize that as problems go during this national crisis, mine are merely comical, not critical. I know that I am lucky to have a nice apartment, friends and family, don’t have to deal with young children or aging parents, and am retired so can float along as usual on my savings and social security. Or a boat in my kitchen if it comes to that.

Lucy’s usual day was Wednesday, although nothing is usual any more, and I always ate out that night because the kitchen was so sparkly clean that I wanted to keep it that way for at least one day. Now there are no restaurants to go to, or no Wednesdays for that matter, because every day is basically the same. Groundhog Day, anyone? And you can forget “sparkly clean”: if the kitchen floor doesn’t crunch underfoot, it’s a win.

But I’ve learned a valuable lesson: all those years when I felt slightly guilty having a cleaning lady every week (the key word here being “slightly”) and thought of it as a luxury, I was deceiving myself. At this point, it’s a necessity.

I can’t wait until I can wash my hands of all this cleaning, as well as the endless literal washing of hands—more often, I feel, than Lady Macbeth—and get to enjoy my apartment and love my own personal Lucy once again.

At least I didn’t try to bake bread.


  1. Michelle /

    Totally charming your piece & the clip!

    • And I didn’t even mention the fire I started in the oven!
      Fortunately, I remembered that you turn the oven off and keep the door closed and the fire goes out. I prefer to think that I created a new dish: salmon flambe.

  2. Louis Venezia /

    Very funny, loved the Lucy bit and the Shakespearean reference.
    Glad to see you are healthy and safe!!

    • And Freud, too! Who says this blog is frivolous?
      Thanks for pointing this out , Lou.

  3. Clare Rakshys /

    Pat I loved that. And your reply above about salmon flame made me laugh out loud.

    • The strange thing is that it actually made the salmon taste better, but I don’t think I should repeat the experience.

  4. Carole /

    I laughed so much and am still laughing. Thank you for your “Lucy” revelations.
    I too am now a “Lucy” on Wednesdays. Oh, and on other days when floors get too crunchy, etc.

    • The floor is crunchy, the glass surfaces are streaky, the dishes are crusty, and I’m writing a blog instead of cleaning it all. But people will see the blog – and not my apartment so I think I made the right decision.
      Glad you’re still laughing.

  5. Lorraine /

    This was hysterical. I’m still trying to figure out how to get my vacuum cleaner from a bent position to upright so I can use it. The Lucy clip was a scream. I especially loved Ethel’s expressions through it all.
    Thanks for keeping me laughing.

    • I’m trying to get MYSELF from a bent position to an upright one! Too much sitting. Need to take a walk around the block, masks and gloves in place.
      But I’m not going to bake bread.

  6. Nancy Lombardi /

    Thanks for the laughs during this crazy situation!!!!

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