Sunday, August 8, 2010

The old door

I have avoided cleaning my house for months. Months. I was so unhappy for months, and that state of mind was just not conducive to cleaning or any other activity. Which is funny because a vicious cycle ensues. Which is also not funny.

So I began cleaning last week, determined to set things right before school starts back. Because, as I say every few months to anyone who will listen, I really feel like I'm ripe for enlightenment, like it's right there, and I just need to get my house clean enough to see it.

(That does not extend to cleaning the windows, which I have relegated to an ephemeral to do list that continues to grow as I proceed forward, like the sterile hallway of nightmares, which is just fine with me as I have no desire to wash windows. Still, not cleaning the windows may be the one little foible that has prevented me from attaining enlightenment thus far.)

I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, something I've vowed to do for years, really purging them of canisters, scraps of paper, five year old bills, empty jars, etc, and revealing space that I didn't believe I had. Now, it is dauntingly bare, but that was intentional, as I want to renovate it altogether. Clear out the old linoleum countertops, repaint, the works, and the stuff was standing in my way. I kept thinking about the hassle of having to move it all. So now it's not there. No move necessary. No more excuses.

I also cleaned out the rainy day cabinet, disposing of paper towel tubes, tin cans, old Christmas light bulbs disembodied from their strands, and a box of broken things that I believed in all earnestness for five years that I would eventually repair. More space.

(Of course, the very next day, I decided to finally create a movable brontosaurus puppet with my son and there were no blasted paper towel tubes to be found!)

Yesterday, I tried my hand at a yard sale, which was a flop. I made six bucks before packing it all in and shipping it off to Good Will. However, while I sat waiting for the hordes to come and pay me for my detritus, I became restless, and started roaming around the house grumbling about things that I haven't done, such as cleaning the windows, weeding the garden, and re-painting the door.

The door, painted a dour black by the former inhabitants, has been peeling since I moved in. I can't open it without waving in a cloud of paint wisps. I walked in and out of the door a dozen times during the yard sale, refilling my coffee, talking to Fain, scouring the closet for that one item that would draw buyers, and each time, I muttered at the peeling paint, finally returning with a chisel. I got straight to work.

It's odd how something will peel and peel for a long as you cuss it, but the minute you give in and decide to acquiesce, all of a sudden, it's stuck like epoxy. Tiring from the chisel, I pulled out the sander. I barely put a dent in the paint when I finally wore myself out. There's a patch of raw wood now, exposed to the elements, surrounded by peeling black paint, a fringe of little middle fingers from my door to me personally.

I mentioned this to some friends, and they said, "Well, at least you'll have to finish it now." Which is utterly not true. Everything in my house is chipped and half painted, and I've rarely been compelled to finish any of that stuff, rather just to murmur threats as I pass.

So I feel like there's a metaphor in there somewhere that I can't see. Dirty windows and doors in a perpetual state of disrepair. Enlightenment and laziness. Maybe I'll get to it later.

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A Mirror, A Summer, A Street by Autumn Crisp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.