Yes, I said, dirt. Is it that we have pets? Too little time? An old house with enough dust and spiders for an entire suburban subdivision? Children? Clutter? (I watch those hoarder shows and wonder where we’ll be in ten years if I can’t get the girls to throw away more things or put them in the great garage sale pile–reluctant is such a tiny word.)

I’ll be honest with you: We live a humble life. We have a decent 110-year-old house, a car needing to be replaced soon, a van that’s well past the 50,000-mile mark, and not enough hours in our days to do all we must do. So, I’m here to ask you, how do people with larger incomes (for argument, we’ll say over $90,000 annually) and larger houses on acre+ lots do it? How do they stay tidy and organized and uncluttered? Is it the money? Do they pay for cleaning services? Do they tell their children, “Hey, let’s get rid of that. If we need one later, we’ll just buy one.” (After all, they can afford it, right?) How is it when you visit their quarry-tile coated homes with big flat screen televisions, leather living room suites, hall tables, cobweb free 12 ft. ceilings, and baskets of freshly laundered clothes never in sight, they appear to manage so well? Is it the space? Is it that they have 4,000 sq. feet to spread their stuff around in? Is it their walk-in closets and four bathrooms? (Hey, who cleans all those toilets? I wanna know!)

Surely they’re as busy (or busier) than we are. Is it purely personality? The Type A clean-aholics vs. us less-anal  slightly-more-bohemian types?

No matter how many ways I spin it, I keep coming back to time. Either it’s they use it more wisely, or that somehow, their incomes allow them to ‘buy’ it by reducing their burdens. For instance, if they want their deck pressure-washed and stained, they are more likely to hire it done. We’re in the do-it-yourself bracket all the way. With one regular income and one work-from-home-catch-as-you-can, you can’t hardly pay somebody $18 an hour just to wash and paint your deck for you. Yes, I really think that’s it. You make $100,000 and you pay someone else to clean your toilets or strip your wallpaper and paint your 12-ft. ceilings. (You also pay someone to move all your shit before you get the painting done.)

I’ll admit it: It would be nice to live like that. And I really hope sufficient success finds us and before we die we get that comfortable. In the meantime, I’m sitting with my back to a house disrupted by floor tile installation we can only sort of afford. We’ve got our dining room furniture (and a measure of assorted clutter) and kitchen appliances crammed into the rest of our downstairs. We moved all the stuff ourselves–even the dishwasher (Paul was undoing it at 11 PM last night when he was already dog-tired from hauling antique cabinets). My dog and cats are nearly apoplectic over the rattle thunk of pry bars and burr of saws. When the tile’s done, I’ll be stripping my own wallpaper, dusting my own ceiling fan, priming and painting my walls and ceiling, hanging my own mirrors and pretty plates and photographs, and trying very hard to not put back all the crap we had to move to get this project done. (Please, someone order me a dumpster!)

Pray for me, ladies! Whether your address a holy Him or a sacred Her, attract the power of the Force or draw from the well of the Earth, send me your well wishes! And whatever trials you have, I’ll send you mine. I know in the scheme of things, my current situation is modest–many of us have much worse to endure. It’s our hanging-together and offering support–no matter what our income or housekeeping devotion–that sustains us. Long live the dust and cobwebs! All hail a bit of clutter to keep us human! And goddess bless our hairy, four-footed friends who I’d not trade for anything.

Now, I think I’m getting high from the adhesive fumes they’re using to attach the sub floor, so I better go visit my dishwasher (a mid-range model that I’m sure those other folks would just replace since it’s, gulp, all of six years old) on the front porch and get a breath of air.

PS I am rejoicing in my new refrigerator and stove–they arrive on Thursday. We can only sort of afford those too. They’re not stainless-steel-clad or fancy by any means. Again, mid-range expensive–just enough features to make us feel special–but they’ll be new and I shall love them!

Mwahs, everyone! :)

3 thoughts on “Dirt

  1. I’ve just had some windows replaced, so I know just how you feel! Having said that, it was just a day’s work (in the pouring rain, poor landlord!) so it’s done now. There’s a long list of “more things that need doing”, but i’m trying to ignore it. I’ve always liked that saying: “Dull women have immaculate houses”!

  2. admin says:

    OMG, Kay! I can’t hardly deal with the turmoil of washing windows, not even going to imagine having them replaced. Glad ours were done before we bought the house, and they’re the lovely tip-in, easy-to-wash kind.

    I adore that saying. Si, I guess I must be really interesting! I have a friend who once told me that a messy house was the sign of a creative mind. I must be really creative, too!

  3. Margaret says:

    Oh, do I know the trials and tribulations of DYI home improvement (as you well know).

    But I have often wondered myself how people with the big houses keep their house and yards to immaculate! I’m lucky to be able to find the kitchen counter most days. And the only rooms that get any regular attention around here are the bathrooms ;) I figure they must hire someone to do all that work and some day I wouldn’t mind being that comfortable myself.

    Cobwebs? You bet. Clutter? I expect to see myself on an episode of Hoarders soon. Yard that needs mowed? Does anyone have a hay baler they want to bring over?

    Coming from a strictly DYI household, even if we had the money (and with a kid in college, we don’t), my husband could never stand to let anyone else do any repairs around here as he would find even the smallest flaw and redo the work himself.

    And the sign in my cube at work says, A messy desk is a sign of character. Just wait til you meet the one that works here! And aren’t you glad we are all such characters?

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