Is cleanliness next to godliness?

That would be a yes; that is, if Mom had any say in the matter. Well into her 90s, she trooped on: the house I was raised in was immaculate. It was her therapy. And although she never quoted the adage, her actions spoke louder than words. Cleaning became a kind of meditation for her, a compulsion you might say, but the act of it brought her peace.

I inherited that gene.

Neighbors would comment about this well-dressed woman, looking like she was going to the theatre by any Santa Barbara measure, raking leaves from the giant sycamore in the front yard of that same Muncie, Indiana home. That tree became her nemesis, her great white whale. You could argue that the tree was the reason she sold the house. That and her increasing difficulty in remembering how to find her way home.

The adage is true for painting as well.

For a painter cleanliness is paramount. And not just for the obvious reasons. Of course, no client wants to see overspray, stains, or dust around the premises after the job is complete. Our first step is to protect the job site; the last is to clean up. "Leave it cleaner than you found it."

More than that, clean also means working with a solid substrate (stucco, wood, drywall, etc.). No grease, no dust, no loose or peeling paint. A clean substrate is a must for a coating built to last. 

Finally, and perhaps least obvious, there is our work site, workshop, and tools. Keeping these clean engenders a respect for the process, and a meticulous job.

So thanks, Mom! And while I'm at it, thanks too for your exquisite taste, your marvelous sense of humor, the way you treated people, and the grace with which you moved through life.