Carroll Calling

Doug Carroll

Among the most popular beliefs to evolve through civilization is that music soothes the savage beast.

I am not sure of the technical reasons as to how a melody accomplishes such soothing, nor am I by any means a beast. Well, maybe the one guy I managed to block to the ground during my four years of high school football would differ.

Does music soothe the savage beast in all matters?

Soon I hope to learn the answer to that question. Because the beast I speak of and soon will try to tame is my weekly Saturday morning house cleaning chores.

Once the dear wife and I tied the knot more than 36 years ago, we agreed to share the housework at Carroll Castle. The wife figured it was only fair since we both worked outside the home.

She got no argument from me. Cleaning house came natural to me since I grew up doing it anyway in a household that included only my mother, little brother and yours truly.

And I mean me and little bro helped clean beyond the doorway of the trash heap that passed for our bedroom. I have been dusting, washing dishes and taking out trash for nearly 60 years.

If housekeeping comes natural to me, then why call it a beast?

Hey, I cleaned but I never liked it. Much of life I’ve loathed keeping the home clean enough to withstand any surprise visits by the Martha Stewarts of the world.

The boyhood times I complained about cleaning and wondered aloud why we didn’t have enough money to hire a housekeeper, mom reminded me that life is not always fair. She declared life is just a bowl of cherries and she prefers kumquats.

No, that isn’t what she said. I think it is the grape is always greener on the other side of the, no, it is something along the line of a rolling stone gathers no Beatles, uh, I mean beetles.

Whatever she said is not important now.

These days I spend just about every Saturday morning at Carroll Castle performing the home chores the dear wife deems vital — or at least what she thinks I can handle without her supervision. I wash dishes; clean off the kitchen sink, counters and cabinets; empty all the trash cans into one and take out the resulting and, yes, offending garbage; fold and put away the washing, and vacuum all the floors.

Those Saturdays when the wife is called away for work, family emergencies or the prime yard sale shopping season, I add mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors to the list. I mow, weed and do other outside chores as well.

As crazy as this may sound, all my weekly tasks never come close equaling the wife’s domestic responsibilities. Each week she accepts and tackles head-on the challenge to cleanse the Carroll Castle bathroom.

She truly deserves all the accolades and empathy instead of me for this one job. Remember she spent almost two decades cleaning one bathroom shared by five persons including the teenage years of the three darling Carroll children.

Housekeeping is not going away anytime soon without a big win in the Hoosier Lottery, which got me to thinking about music, beasts and soothing.

Classic rock and roll is my music of choice most days but I do have my country, jazz, blues, Irish folk, Christian rock, comedy, rhythm & blues, Vaudeville, big band, swing and Beethoven moments. Right now in my Mercury Mariner CD system is Pat Todd and the Rankoutsiders, John Mellencamp, Elliott Murphy, Heywood Banks, the Saw Doctors and Tijuana Hercules.

Variety is the spice of life, so I am considering adding music to my Saturday morning chores with technology built into my latest electronic toys — an MP3 player plus Bluetooth earphones. I have no idea why I didn’t think of this sooner.

I decided to do a little research and find out the best songs to clean by in America. I consulted Billboard magazine and three online music services that boasted their own ultimate house cleaning playlists.

Boy howdy was I disappointed in my fellow housekeepers. I counted 136 songs in the playlists and I have only heard of four.

Just one of those could make my ultimate cleaning list. What is wrong with the house cleaners of America today?

This leaves me to create my own definitive domestic dirt-less hit list.

A great song to clean by must have a good beat so I can dust to it. I am thinking the longer the song the better for me, so that is what I examined first.

Classic rock fans I am sure by now have guessed I first looked into “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly (17 minutes and five seconds), “Karn Evil 9” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer (29 minutes and 36 seconds) and “American Pie, Parts 1 and 2” by Don McLean (eight minutes and 33 seconds). I checked out “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin (eight minutes and two seconds) but the first half of the song is much too slow for scrubbing dried mac and cheese off a granddaughter’s plate discovered under the couch some three weeks after her last visit.

I have listened to many country, blues, big band and jazz tunes over the week and I discovered something important: putting together an effective personal cleaning play list is not easy.

Perhaps the best way to soothe at least part of this cleaning beast is to get Carroll Castle its first automatic dishwasher. I have a good one in mind.

The guy’s name is Sparkles Cleansworth the Third.

Doug Carroll can be reached at

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