Chinese New Year is upon us once again. It’s the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Busy time of year for celebrations. Christmas, child’s birthday, then the Lunar Festival, or Spring Festival as it’s also called, all in the span of 6 weeks. It could have been more festive than it was because our family of four came down with three colds and two intestinal bugs that saw us miss four school days and 5 work days. Nevertheless, there were important rituals that needed to be observed before we could celebrate our daughter’s Chinese heritage.
Cleaning the house is one. Chinese houses are cleaned to welcome the good luck that the New Year brings and to sweep away any bad fortune that accumulated over the last year. For us, it’s not so much that we needed to sweep away last year’s bad fortune but to scrub the urine off the floor in front of the toilet left by our little daughter who often runs out of time while trying to pull herself onto the toilet seat. Same goes for the wall beside the toilet where son’s nocturnal bathroom visits occasionally leave their mark. Spiderwebs are swept from the ceiling corners, especially since the little brown spider that has lived in our bathroom – and who we called Nicky – was found trying to swim in the toilet after daughter peed on him.
I would have tried to save him but figured that soaking in urine didn’t bode well for the little creature. Oh well, he doesn’t need his web anymore so now it’s gone.
But not anymore.
We also cleaned the fridge shelves and inside the utensil drawer. You know how it is, friends come over and if yours are anything like ours, they make themselves at home which is how it should be. They jump in when dishes need doing and help themselves to beer. That’s when they see the rings on the fridge shelves left by the jar of salsa that would need carbon dating to determine its age and the little bits of withered lettuce or something like it that dot the bottom of the fridge in front of the crisper drawers. The crumbs that sit under the utensil tray come from the counter above and somehow migrate around the lip of the counter and into the drawer itself, a feat that only the strongest and hardiest crumbs can achieve. We washed the kick-plates at the bottom of the cupboards and chiselled off the splats of tomato sauce that populate the walls and shelves around the stove. Marty even cleared the stainless steel shelf holding all of the appliances and frying pans that our lack of cupboards made necessary, and washed away the grease splatters. Only then were we prepared for the good luck that the Year of the Horse will bring us. Maybe that horse will pay for a weekly cleaning lady.
Dinner was delicious. Our Chinese New Year celebratory meal included: Chinese vegetable fried rice, spicy Sichuan hot pot, fried Japanese noodles, spring rolls with Thai plum sauce, delicious citrus salad, sweet and sour ‘chicken’ and Korean barbecued ‘ribs’ made with Japanese Sake. Lucky Buddha and Tsingtao beer was rumoured to be drunk along with some Canadian International Blend wine and Irish whiskey. But that cannot be verified at this point.
Then we danced.