OK, let’s just say it – in considering adulthood the other elephant in the room is: the room. In the annals of adulting it is well known that if you have a house, housekeeping comes with it. Uh-oh. I have always had a little trouble with that whole “clean your room” thing. I love clean spaces. I thrill to a kitchen with acres of counters and double ovens the size of Volkswagens. One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a marathon of home improvement TV. You’d never know it though – I’ve never been good at it. I have limited skills for organization or de-cluttering. What I am very good at is accumulating things I like, but can’t figure out where to put. They just accumulate.
Right. I’ll just jump in and admit that wording is a hint at the source of the problem. “They” accumulate. As if things (mostly books) magically ordered themselves off of Amazon and were “poof!” transported to my various rooms to lounge in piles on the floor like exotic lizards. As opposed to what really happens – I accumulate them. Guilty as charged. Especially books. In ridiculously large numbers. (I’m an unrepentant academic and a writer, I read.) The only rooms in my house without bookshelves are the bathrooms. Which is not to say that books don’t make their appearance in there. Just not in the numbers that live in the other rooms.
One of my other challenges is that I do not live alone – I have four legged companions and in some spots it looks like I leave the housekeeping up to them. Which is not too far from the truth. I have two dogs and two cats; pet hair is somewhere between a sacrament and a condiment in our home. I don’t worry too much about getting enough fiber.
My living room is “decorated” in a style sometimes referred to as Late 20th Century Pet – they have as much furniture in there as I do, in part because they have, quite literally, eaten some of mine. They’ve chewed up some of theirs, too, so they’re not just being mean. These items are large and not particularly mobile, so they are there to stay. I don’t know whether to consider it resourceful or seriously odd that the dog crate has on occasion been used as an occasional table.
My pets are also responsible for the “interior” decoration of my office – that is, the floor is often liberally decked out in the interior batting from every stuffed toy I’ve ever given my Jack Russell terrier. She loves her toys and it is her express mission to ensure that no tiniest puff of batting remains inside them. That’s what it looks like, anyway. There is no appliance that will pick up that stuff, it goes everywhere, and I have resorted to raking it. And then sighing as I find yet another tuft peeking out from under some piece of furniture seconds before company arrives.
With my tendency toward geological sorting (it’s a layered approach – or maybe that’s just
piles) and the fact that shedding season never ends, my methods of housekeeping have more in common with Tony Stewart than the estimable Martha. On the semi-rare occasions that I entertain, my vacuum and I circuit the available floor space as quickly as possible, with multiple pit stops to offload debris. After circling the house for what feels like hours, I usually have several full trash bags, the vehicle is heated up, I have found several messes I did not know about, and I’m likely to be waving a white flag instead of a checkered one. At least you can (usually) see the original color of the carpets.
If I had to name my style it would be “Welcome, friends – don’t look over there”. My friends, bless them, for the most part, do not. So even if my relationship with adulthood is somewhere between tenuous and “it’s complicated”, I am still trying. And I am grateful.
Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! Your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!