“Anybody Can Clean In June…..”

January 26, 2024

Above is the ice cold Susquehanna River in January, just north of Wilkes-Barre not far from the Forty Fort Cemetery.

Friday 26 January 2024

“Anybody Can Clean in June but……”

After a pretty mild November and December here in Northeast Pennsylvania, winter started to rev up in January.

We’ve had a bunch of low temperatures, some ice and a good bit of snow. Nothing cataclysmic but for cleaners here in the Scranton Wilkes-Barre part of the world, winter weather changes everything.

Everything gets a lot tougher cleaning wise.  Salt destroys lobby areas.  Exterior windows get dirty faster.  At 10:00 on a dark Tuesday night, 15 degrees below zero takes on a new meaning when your last work item is rolling a full garbage hopper across an icy parking lot to a snow covered dumpster.  However, we persevere.

Years ago, in the humble, pre-historic shadowy past when Combat Cleanerz was born, a guy worked with us who was known far and wide as the “Greatest Cleaner The World Has Ever Known.”  He was well liked, never spoke much, worked hard and subsequently gained the respect of all the other Combat Cleanerz.  And he actually was a great cleaner.

One very cold February night years ago, a few of us were headed in the unmarked white cleaning van to the final stop of the night. It was Friday, end of the week, and everyone was feeling bone tired.  We pulled up to the building, parked in our executive parking space and paused to catch our breath.  The winter was wearing us down.

After a couple of minutes, the Greatest Cleaner known to mankind spoke.

“You know what’s funny about cleaning?”

“What?” someone wearily responded from the back of the van.

“Any punk can clean in June,” the Greatest Cleaner responded. “But Great Cleaners are born in February.”  Without another word, he grabbed his backpack vacuum and headed into the building.

We were all quiet for a second. Then, someone said, “I think that’s the deepest thought I’ve ever heard.”

And the weird thing was that on that cold night in February, we all agreed.

Great cleaners are born in February.