A Good Home, Home, House cleaning

Dark Matter



If you find yourself in pain of any kind, heed my words:

Do NOT lie on your front on the floor, trying to do the exercises the therapist ordered.

If you do, you’ll see the dark matter of the universe.

Hiding under the heavy wood cupboard, clinging to the underside of the sofa,  it’s been there for so long,  it’s turned dark charcoal, almost black. 


You’ll immediately forget your commitment to exercise.  Moaning and groaning, you’ll find yourself fetching a small brush, some damp paper towels and a large garbage bag.

As you swipe at the dust, you’ll find yourself muttering words that would make a sailor blush.

You’ll feel a strange wheeze coming on. You’ll realize that you’ve been inhaling this dark matter for months, and maybe even years, but never at such close quarters. Or so you think.

And all along you’ll know that the back pain is getting worse and you really should stop this madness. But you’re now a person possessed.

Until the dust is gone, you cannot possibly return to your exercise.

Except that – by then – you’ll be good for nothing but lying down, wondering what on earth had gotten into you. Perhaps the dust was more toxic than you realized.

But you’ll feel virtuous.

Until it dawns on you that there are more rooms in the house, and more dust. In dark corners, under the heavy furniture that’s never moved.

But as the pain wracks your body, you’ll finally understand what your mother meant when she said,  “Sometimes, you just have to turn a blind eye”.  

And you’ll wish you’d thought of this wise saying before you got yourself into trouble.


This post is dedicated to everyone who knows when to turn away from trouble.

58 thoughts on “Dark Matter”

  1. Yes, Cynthia, you’ve just described what I suspect is underneath our piano, sofa, sideboard and you name it. I’m not going to look until spring cleaning time. And if I’m clever, I’ll save my nickles (since we don’t have pennies in Canada anymore) to pay one of my teens to drag the furniture and vacuum cleaner around the room.
    Healing blessings ~ Wendy

  2. Thank you! You made me giggle tonight….because I’ve seen that dark matter and I know when to turn a blind eye…and that is every day until my husband dusts!

  3. It’s all a matter of how you perceive things. Life gets easier when you realize that isn’t toxic dark matter, those are cute little dust bunnies. Just name them all and make friends.

  4. Oh I so understand,Cynthia, and what an excellent description of the internal process.

    Thanks to your warning, I’ve been learning maybe more than I ever wanted to know about squirrel problems. After two days in the attic looking for evidence under insulation (and finding nothing) and making wire mesh barriers at the eaves, it turns out that they’re merely in the gutter TRYING to get in – probably to make nests before winter really sets in. So, for the moment, gray squirrels are my dark matter.

  5. Oh, Cynthia! This is all TOO familiar! We have just spent a week doing the deep cleaning we never, never do and, yes, there was dark matter. Dark and darker . . .

  6. Thank you for the words of wisdom and the laugh! I leave floor level viewing to Sam, he does an awesome job cleaning!

    1. What a wonderful husband — you seem to be one of about three women so far who leave it to their husbands, and are happy so with! Mine has many talents for which I’m very grateful — but he would never notice the dust.

  7. This I understand so well! My family encourage me to turn a blind eye but I can’t for long. They encourage me to turn a blind eye because I become that woman possessed – unpleasant for all! No-one else in the house seems to see what I can see or they have more efficient ‘blind eyes’! I will join Theresa in her prayers for you.

    1. Thank you, dear Clare. For the prayers and for understanding the bouts of possession.The truth is that dirty floors, cobwebs and dust drive me nuts. I never see them in other people’s houses, only my own (but I don’t usually try lying on their floors, unless I know them well…).

      1. That is the difference! Also how do you know their houses are any different to yours really. You only see the bits they want you to see. They may be staying up til three in the morning scrubbing away…. ‘Keep at it!!’ they shout to each other, ‘Cynthia and Hamlin are coming round tomorrow for coffee and it must be spotless here!’ You visit other people in their homes and you go to see *them* not their clean floors. When friends call in to see you it’s *you* they want to see; they don’t care about the dust. I have to tell myself this all the time because I am not at all happy or comfortable unless my house is squeaky clean. 🙂

      2. Clare, I love this. You are so expressive and I imagine some of my friends staying up till 3 in the morning scrubbing away…. Yes, we should be less maniacal about the clean thing. Shoulda, coulda, woulda….

  8. And this is why I don’t exercise or stretch at home, Cynthia! 🙂 The other day I got on my hands and knees to check the timer for my living room lamp and saw cobwebs reaching from the couch leg to the wall! Didn’t I just vacuum and dust a month (or two or three) ago? Thanks for the laugh, hope your back is pain free.

    1. Thanks for the laugh. You realize we modern wimmen would probably make the domestic divas of previous generations shudder, right? I wish dusting and vacuuming only needed doing every three months – or better still, once a year.

  9. I can’t relate to your pain, but oh my can I ever to the dust – where does it ever come from?! I once when I was staying in a hotel I tried to do exercises on the floor – no way, never again! Talk about what I saw, or rather not! Great post Cynthia ~

  10. I have my own answer to this problem. I dust wherever I am likely to see before I exercise. Then I am careful not to look too carefully anywhere I have not dusted. Between these two techniques I create a clean-enough, guilt-free exercise space. Of course this is easier on a boat (not many places to look under, more places that are hidden unless specifically opened up…)
    Take care of yourself (and then your house).

  11. I understand the force that makes you tackle a problem, even when the moment is not appropriate or the consequences are dire. Half-naked, cleaning the floor behind the loo, after finding my contact lens? Talking to a mouse the cat chased under a heavy chest from 3 am to 4 am…

  12. I went to move something from behind a cupboard yesterday. ARGH, just walked away. The good thing about dark matter is it vanishes from your life when you just walk away 😉

    1. Yup (she says, laughing), it’s mind over matter. Get it out of your mind, and it won’t matter at all. You are a stronger person than I, Dianne. I get possessed by the dark matter.

    1. I swear: you are so right about this. that’s how I’ve learned most of mine too. Even since this ruddy (rhymes with…) accident, I find that I don’t really know my limits until I push myself — often too hard. But I have to try.

  13. Hi Cynthia,
    I know First Night Design, and of course Chris Graham. Thank you for visiting my site MostlyBlogging a few moments ago. Did you find my acronym post on Chris’s site? It was kind of Chris to feature it. He is AMAZING when it comes to supporting writers.
    Look at what an engaged community you have here. So funny how you wrote about dark matter.
    I read in your sidebar you had an interview that aired on the radio. Congratulations. Nice to meet you today. Thanks again for the visit.

    1. How lovely of you, Janice. I think I was reading a second post on your site when you were writing this. thanks for your comment. And yes – Chris is wonderfully supportive of us writers.

  14. Your mother and mine have a similar outlook. I had to adopt it a few years ago when I developed some health issues. My mom also used to say, “It will still be there tomorrow.”

    1. Funny thing: my friends and I would sometimes roll our eyes at these sayings of our mothers — but we remember most of them, and even use them from time to time now. Hope you’re doing better now, and thank you kindly for your comment and for following.

      1. You’re welcome. I really enjoyed reading that vignette. It’s funny how those things come back to us now. I’ve said the same things to my own children

  15. A lovely, funny story that shows humility and a powerful spirit of resilience. Your ability to find humor and wisdom despite pain is such an incredible gift, Cynthia. You touch other people’s lives in such a deep way as demonstrated by all of the comments you’ve inspired.

    1. I’m glad to hear that, Carol. I figure that since I can’t knit or bake or arrange flowers, I’d better help people to laugh…. Congrats on your writing. You’ve chosen an interesting topic, and, combined with your own deep wisdom , it’ll be an important work. Keep on truckin’!

  16. Cynthia, thank you for your recent comment on post #981. I had misnomered it and when I changed it to #982 I lost the data on it, and I didn’t want you to think I just ignored your comment. Thank you for the lovely comment and for taking the time to make it. As always you are very welcome. Have a wonderful week, my friend. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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