First, let me be clear, I only clean for Pesach. I do not do “spring cleaning.”
Second, I only clean the bare minimum. I don't worry about the dust or the clutter. I just worry about getting rid of chametz.
In the past, I spent a lot of time and energy getting rid of chametz. We used to completely rid our home of all things chametzdik (of, or having to do with, chametz).
Moshe does not believe in selling chametz and I do not believe in wasting food.
So, starting around Tu B'Shvat, I stopped stocking up and started working our way through our stores of food and condiments.
I also started contacting food companies to verify the sources of various ingredients. I needed to know, was the vinegar made from wheat or barley, or was it synthetic or make from something else? What about dextrose and dextrin? Were they made from corn, wheat or barley? I could keep the corn derivatives, since I can own kitniyot (even if I can't eat them), but wheat or barley derivatives had to be finished, given away, or thrown out.
Many companies assumed I was asking about gluten, so I had to explain that this was not a health question, but a religious question. It was an educational experience!! And it took time!
I used to check EVERYTHING!
Ever since I started dealing with the cancer thing, I just can't do it. For a while, I still made the effort to contact companies. Not this year. I spent too much time feeling sick and tired.
Much to Moshe's chagrin, I have taken to selling our chametz.
I sort through what I can. We finish what can be finished. And then I just sell the rest.
So, in theory, I should really have a fairly easy time preparing for Pesach. I just basically need to clean and kasher my kitchen. Oh, yeah, and our extra refrigerator and freezer.
This year, we might not be home at all during Pesach. So, I am not even going to kasher my oven.
We are going to Moshe’s parents for Seder, to his sister’s for Shabbat Chol HaMo’ed, and to our good friends’ for Sh’vi’i L’Fesach (the seventh day of Pesach, with is also a Yom Tov).
But cleaning always takes more time than I expect!
Despite the fact that both girls helped out a lot, we did not finish in two days. (my son is off on three day tiyul (hike), so he got a "free pass" this year)
Sunday, we (read: my girls) cleaned the extra fridge and freezer.
Monday, all I wanted was to clean our main fridge and have everything put away. We did not finish.
Tuesday, I have chemo. I started to panic.
As I sat with my girls and discussed what they would need to do, my eldest jumped in and said "we can finish the refrigerator; we already know what to do."
There is still plenty of work that I have to do. I have to put everything away (the girls will help with that), and I would like to clean our stove, and kasher our grill (so we can take it with us and have a bar-b-que if we camp out).
We are still debating where to be, and what to do, during the 2-3 days of chol hamo'ed.
The kids really want to camp out. They also want to do some hiking and go to the beach.
If we go camping, I'll camp with the kids and Moshe will find somewhere more comfortable to sleep. I wish he liked camping, but he just does not.
I LOVE camping, but my body is not what it used to be. With cancer throughout my bones, I am a bit more sensitive about where I sleep.
I hope I am up for the challenge!!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,