Sunday, November 29, 2009

A little different.

Yesterday, our friends from Wyoming were in town--the ones we visited a couple of weeks ago--and they came over for dinner. The historian has had a cold/cough/ache thing going on NONE DARE CALL IT FLU and so my preferred conditions* for dealing with my portion of the mess--which, I confess it, is a big portion--were not to be.
*[Conditions for dealing with my portion of the mess: a house empty of all save me and my portion of the mess, the better to wrestle with my demons and call upon deity for aid and comfort and make vows to whatever powers that be that I will never ever no never let it get this bad again.]
No, the historian, ill and in need of rest, needed to be able to lie down. So, the people, my portion of the mess got worse. Or, if not worse, it began to glower at me. To call me names and to insinuate things about my character. In the cold light of day--November light, hence, quite cold--the loomingness of my portion of the mess seemed ever more looming. My character ever more flawed. It was pretty bad. Very bad.

I kept thinking, how can we have people over? There's this mess, and it's looming. And I am a flawed, flawed person! This house! The squalor! Etcetera &c &c.

I had to do it in stages: first, sort my portion of the mess into smaller portions (sweaters, tee shirts, skirts, trousers, fashion magazines, The New Yorker, catalogs, old crossword puzzles, scarves). Then, go through them to see if there are obvious giveaway candidates. Then, on D-Day (dinner day), put things away and throw things away. Meanwhile, I also cooked. Meanwhile, the historian did other cleaning and sorting maneuvers.

And, the people, I felt so much better. About everything.

Our friends came over and of course what they responded to in our home wasn't anyone's portion of the mess. Rather, they loved the colors of our walls, the paintings, the candlelight, the dinner itself. We had a wonderful time and I was able to see again--it is a little surprising to me how long it has been since I've seen it--how lovely and wonderful our home is to live in, how much we've made it our own, how vivid and lively and lovely it is. That's hard to see when all you can see is your own flaws.

There are resultant resolutions and plans aplenty, which I will spare you. But mainly, it was very good to be reminded about how to enjoy our own space--our own lives.


  1. Why do we do this to ourselves? I don't mean the mess because sometimes we are so busy living that we simply don't have time to event notice the mess, let alone carve out time to deal with it/work through it/put it in the trash, fridge, closet. I mean where does that inner screaming voice come from that tells us we are the mess when obviously, we are not the mess or even a mess. We are simply busy living.

    I, also, love that your house is so very much your house. (and by "your" I mean of course, you and the historian--hope he is well soon.)

  2. Oh, yes. This post makes me want to lay my head down and cry. Softly though. And gratefully.

    I'm signing my name in under gilian's for the petition to the Advisory Board for the Way Things Are - where does that screaming voice come from, and why do we feel we have to listen?

    Though I know you only through your words, it makes me glad to imagine the color of your walls and the paintings and that you are happy in them. (Not so glad about things approaching flu - {spitting between fingers to dispel the evil eye})

  3. Oh, thank you for this. Seriously.

  4. My favorite episode of Sex and the City (okay, one of them) is when Carrie opens her oven and it turns out that's where she keeps sweaters!! This is what made me want to live in Manhattan. Well, I'm not that hip, but I imagine that the piles on my floor are my equivalent of a SoHo oven. Or something.



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