Posted: December 18, 2013, 1:35 p.m. EDT
What it really takes to keep them clean.
By Elizabeth Creith
Of the many housekeeping jobs we have to do in the store, windows are not included. I’m grateful for that, because the windows are large plate-glass storefront monsters that reach several feet above my head. I tremble if I have to stand on a step stool, never mind a ladder. But I don’t even have to think about the windows, because we have Daniel and Claire.
Daniel and Claire are a young couple who clean store windows for a living. If you were going to choose a cleaning team, you could not do better. Daniel is probably 6 feet tall, broad-shouldered with long arms. Claire is an impish redhead who could just about fit in his pocket. Between them they look like they could clean every nook and cranny, high or low, and—at least when it comes to windows—they can. And they don’t even need ladders!
Every few weeks they arrive with buckets, rags and alien extendible cousins to your garden-variety mop and squeegee, with which Daniel can reach the farthest top corners of any window. We roll Jack’s cage out of the way and stand back.
It’s like some kind of magic show. They should have sequin-clad assistants to wave and pose while they work. Look—nothing up the sleeves! (Except a pair of arms.) Mop in the bucket, a deft reversal and a few swift passes; then switch to the squeegee. Presto-change-o! In a couple of minutes the monster windows are streakless and free of feather dust, top to bottom. We see daylight once again.
I don’t know what magic word Harry Potter would use to clean windows, but I bet both Daniel and Claire do. I can’t even squeegee my car window without leaving streaks, so this is a miracle as far as I’m concerned. An even bigger miracle is that they seem to like what they do, rain or shine, snow or sleet. My enjoyment of housework extends to watching someone else do it.
This month Claire and Daniel arrived during a quiet moment, both of them rosy-faced from washing the outside windows all around the plaza in the crispy Christmas air.
"Do you have time for a coffee?” I asked as they finished up the inside of our front window.
"I think so,” Claire said. David put the coffee on. My coffee-making skills are poor, and that’s putting it kindly. My taste in whiskey, however, is impeccable. So is my taste in family; my dad was born in Bushmills, Ireland, and every time someone visits him, they bring a bottle. Some of them find their way to me.
I don’t bring out the Bushmills for everyone, but Claire and Daniel are special, and it is Christmas. A nip to take the chill off and a cup of David’s excellent coffee and they were off to work their magic on other windows. Outside the snow was falling in big, fluffy flakes.
Inside, in the light from the newly cleaned windows, the feather dust in the air sparkled like sequins left over from a magic show.
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