Take a Pesach Cleaning Break with Mordechai Schmutter :)

L378Calling all harried housewives, hungry husbands, and other stressed-out-from-Pesach-cleaning folk! Here is your chance to get your hands on the first and only book of absolutely kosher l’Pesach humor and stress relief!

Don’t Yell Challah in a Crowded Matzah Bakery was popular humor columnist Mordechai Schmutter’s first humor book, and though it sold itself out, we are proud to announce that it is now back in print once again! This is the book you’ll want to buy for your wife, after you come home to a sparkling clean, kosher l’Pesach room and then discover that the pocket you’d put your emergency stash of pretzels in had a hole in it. This is the book you’ll want to buy for yourself after you get through that encounter. This is the book that will preserve your sanity even during the most hectic and nerve-wracking moments of Pesach cleaning-shopping-cooking-baking-nap-taking-and-other-preparations…simply by making sure you laugh…and laugh…and laugh some more!

To get more of an idea of what we mean, here is an excerpt from this book, from the chapter titled “Cleaning House.”

(Click here to purchase a copy.)

The Cleaning Process

            The basic idea in cleaning for Pesach is to turn everything upside down and shake it, and then to cover it in contact paper just in case.  The most practical method of doing this is to start at the far reaches of the house and slowly work your way toward the kitchen, so that you don’t stupidly paint yourself into a corner and end up eating all of your last-minute chametz meals in the guest closet.  Many women who would like to at least get some Pesach cooking done carefully leave one strange-but-not-totally-insane room to eat in, such as the basement or the garage, and then do most of their chametz cooking on one of those little travel burners that heat up when you plug them in, not unlike your laptop computer. 

One of the most daunting things about cleaning absolutely everything you own on a deadline during tax season is the fact that, in order to get everything organized, you will first have to make a huge mess.  For instance, if you look through the drawer near your telephone, which ideally should contain nothing but a few telephone books, a pad and some writing implements, you will probably find a handful of dead batteries, some random screws, a bunch of pennies, some “Box Tops for Education”, a button, your old answering machine, and what appears to be a dead banana.  So immediately you’re going to have to start taking apart the drawer and making piles.  The banana, for instance, would go in the dead-banana pile, along with the one from between the couch cushions and the one that was stuck to the ceiling fan.  So if, for some reason, you have to stop in the middle of cleaning, your house will not look like it is about halfway clean, but rather like it was hit by an exceptionally well-organized tornado.  This is all part of the process, though, as is illustrated in the popular cleaning-instructional book, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, in which the cat, who does not seem to have a name, sets out to clean a ring that he has made in someone else’s bathtub, and the basic message of the book is that sometimes, if you want to clean something up, you’re going to have to first invite twenty-six of your closest friends to help you smear your bathtub gunk around the lawn for a little while.

But in fact, cleaning can be fun.  Okay, not as much fun as a barrel of monkeys or a hatful of tiny identical cats, but there are always little things to look forward to.  Like sometimes, while you’re cleaning under your bed, you’re going to find something which you have torn up most of the house looking for a few months ago, and then finally caved and bought a new one.  Or maybe it’s something you bought at the checkout once because you thought you needed it, even though about thirty seconds earlier you were unaware that the product had even existed, and it’s been living under your bed ever since.  In either case, having fun with your Pesach cleaning means that you can hold it up and proudly announce, “Hey!  I’ve been looking for this all year!”  And then add it to your Things-That-Go-Back-Under-The-Bed-When-We’re-Done pile, so that you can say the same thing next year.

But the most important thing to remember, in cleaning for Pesach, is that you absolutely must have good cleaning music.  You want songs that have a good beat that you can scrub along to, so cantorial music is out of the question, as that would never get real stains out.  Ideally, you should find a tape that is somewhat Pesach-related, as it will help you get into the right frame of mind for the holiday, and will probably also have some great scrubbing music.  The “Dayenu” song, for instance, is an awesome song to scrub along to.  If you have a tape that plays nothing but “Dayenu” over and over and over again, that is enough.

Helpful Cleaning Tips

  • Make sure that before you begin, you have adequate cleaning supplies.  This should include:
    • A bunch of seemingly identical spray bottles of varying toxicity
    • A vacuum cleaner
    • A broom, for when the vacuum cleaner stops working
    • A second broom, to push the first one out of the vacuum cleaner hose
    • A big bottle of club soda
    • A big bottle of Advil
    • Elbow grease (any)
    • Forty-seven rolls of contact paper with the goose design
  • If you have no cleaning sprays, you can use lemon juice.  Lemon juice cleans almost anything.  You almost never see a dirty lemon.  In fact, you can even use a lemon to clean off a bar of soap.
  • You can make a homemade furniture polish using two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice, and put it into one of the spray bottles you have laying around the house that you are afraid to throw out because they still have some liquid in them, although not enough to actually come out when you squeeze the handle, and you are too afraid to pour all of those little drops into one bottle because you’re not entirely sure that doing this won’t cause an explosion.
  • You can clean out your toaster with a standard fork, and you can get into those tiny electrical outlets with a paper clip.
  • If you can get your couch out the door and over to the dry cleaners, they’ll be happy to take it.
  • Do not forget to clean underneath your couch cushions, because the cleaners will just keep whatever they find.  Items you may find in there include: library books, magazine subscription cards, enough change to pay for the dry-cleaning on a couch, the little brush piece that came with your vacuum cleaner that you never quite figured out what to do with, the remote to your air conditioner, a mismatched sock, the pen from the phone drawer, enough crumbs to feed a hungry child in Africa, a dead banana, and that hamster that your daughter used to have.
  • You can pry the computer keys off your keyboard with a flat-head screwdriver.
  • You can find them under the furniture with a standard flashlight.
  • You can get stains out of hard-to-reach places using your spouse’s toothbrush.  Just remember to put it back when you’re done.
  • It’s always a good idea to shampoo your carpets before Pesach.  If you have shag carpeting, you should also use conditioner.
  • You can clean off your exercise equipment, such as your treadmill or your exercise bike, by first hanging up the huge pile of clothes you have lying on it, and then scrubbing it with your olive oil/lemon mixture.  Make sure to wait until it’s not slippery anymore before you put your clothes back on it.  Although the truth is that if you actually have chametz on your exercise equipment, you arguably do not even deserve to have exercise equipment.
  • You must clean your vestibule.  If you do not have a vestibule, or are unsure what a vestibule is, you can probably go out and rent one, and then clean it.  Or you can clean someone else’s.
  • Do not forget to empty your vacuum cleaner bags.  Contrary to popular belief, the stuff you vacuum up does not go through the cord and into the wall and back to the electric company.  What would they do with it?  And you very rarely hear about somebody’s power going out because he’s got a tissue stuck in the wires.
  • Also, do not forget to sweep off the outside of your vacuum cleaner, and to vacuum the dirt off the bottom of the broom.  Which of these you should do last I do not know.

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