It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
My poor house. Once so prim, it has become a ships’ graveyard of furniture, boxes, knickknacks, dust and dead bodies.
I lied about the dead bodies. I wanted to see if you were paying attention.
The Epoch of Organization is in no way similar to this present Condition of Chaos. It began with my trip to Colorado. The opportunity to organize our basement did not present itself prior to then, nor was it convenient to tackle it upon my return. We could have placed all of our Christmas boxes down there but we would have to move them in order to clean. Hence, all of our Christmas is still residing in my dining room, stacked in happy gray tubs (four feet in height.) Never fear! You can not actually see those boxes. The surplus furniture is in the way.
The furniture (and bric-a-brac) comes from my aunt’s home. My cousin parted things out in order to clear the home for sale. She is redoing her home and plans to move many of her mother’s cherished pieces into her living, dining and family room.
I need to pause here to gush about my cousin’s pad. It rocks. I can’t put it any other way. She is in the process of having her main level carpet replaced. She has already had her basement reworked, with a beautiful laminate floor and freshly hung and painted drywall, courtesy of her daughter and daughter’s friend. It looks fabulous and her mom’s furniture will complete that home perfectly. I’m so happy that she was able to accomplish this transformation. She deserves it more than anyone else in the whole universe; it‘s a healing makeover.
Back to my mess.
My cousin opted to take her mother’s beautiful breakfront and she passed our grandmother’s on to me. It fits perfectly in our home, whereas my aunt’s matches all of the other furniture going to my cousin’s. I promptly set up that breakfront; the china cabinet that it replaced is currently parked in my dining room, awaiting a trip to the basement. (I’ll use it to store “company is coming” dishes.)
Christmas boxes, spare china cabinet, and bric-a-brac - oh my!
The second room, our living room, contains superfluous items from the dining room, a box of clothing my mother shipped out, some garden items, and Better Half. I can move Better Half around with ease but the other items must remain where they are while I work on Other Areas.
The kitchen. Don’t get me started on this room. I simply have not had the time to wash my floor. It isn’t sticky (dogs are a blessing) but I can’t stand flecks of anything on my floor or perfectly white countertops. Flecks would include a simple tea cup ring on the surface itself. Must. Bleach. Counters.
Moving upstairs, we find more furniture. Oodles of it. Spread through three rooms.
My parents plan to move to Ohio, and they do not want to take all of their furniture. They are working on two options: take their bedroom set and store it or leave their bedroom set. Either way, they will stay with us for a month or two while they look for a new home, and they will require a bed to sleep in. We don’t mind if they stay longer.
My grandmother’s bedroom set is now set up in our bedroom. This is the largest room upstairs, and my parents will need the space for their CPAP machines and oxygen concentrators. Also, we didn’t have a bedroom set. Seriously. We had a bed held together with best wishes, a dresser with more nails in the leg than an ostrich has ass feathers, and two end tables for night stands. My parents will now have a dresser for their clothing, nightstands (the end tables must remain), a chest of drawers, a mirror and plenty of bedding when they arrive.
My mother is thrilled over the prospect of sleeping in her old bed again. She shared the bed with her mother from the age of sixteen until she moved to New York City. So many memories of her youth and young adult years.
For my part, I am thrilled as well. This bed was my second bed on weekends, shared with my grandmother. The dresser is much shorter than I remember it being, and the hope chest is no longer with the set, but I can still run my fingers over the pineapple-capped posters and retreat back to those special years when I hadn’t any cares or burdens.
I can hear my Nonna humming in the kitchen. I recall all the building’s sighs and whispers. The landlady, Mrs. Baumen, grew roses in the back garden and the heady scent was more than just intoxicating during the spring - it was deliciously enthralling. I would sit in the middle of the bed (so large then!) and make believe that I was riding in a gilded coach, a flying carpet, a sailing ship, or a rocket. I would pretend to be my mom as a young girl, with real sisters (I am an only child.) Once I became bored with my play, I would tug on Nonna’s skirt and she would put aside her tasks and play kickball or hide and seek with me. We would board the bus and go on adventures that always ended in pony rides or Griffith’s Observatory. We would return for lunch and then I was picked up and tucked into that comforting bed for my nap.
Years later, I experienced an old distortion of time. I ran my fingers over dresser top, feeling the cool pine under my fingertips. I quietly cried. My Nonna was just around the corner, perhaps laughing because I couldn’t see her as we played hide and seek. Her voice - a voice I haven’t heard in over two decades - sang “you are my sunshine” as clearly as if she were there with me. I recalled the fresh roses, the soothing scent of her soap and the glint of sunshine that always seemed to warm my side of the bed. I felt peace.
I can only imagine what my mother will feel when she experiences her own dormant memories.
Alas, the damn dresser mirror has not been set up yet. The outlet, which hides behind the dresser, has once again mysteriously died. (I replaced it last week with excellent results. God only knows what the hell is wrong with the upstairs wiring.) The night stand is in my office, as I didn’t want to place it until we had the mirror/outlet problem fixed. Meanwhile, the spare room now contains the old dresser as well as a ton of Better Half’s wucking Battletech. The bathroom is in need of repainting and has a loose tile that wants mending. My desk apparently got sick and threw up several reams of paper, CDs, battery chargers, camera equipment, books, a plastic snack tub, and some dog toys.
The basement is menacing. It has regained its Dungeon title. We hope to have all the boxes transferred to the garage so that I can wash down walls and floor. My laundry area is the test site for nuclear weapons. My sewing machine is coated in drying fuzz. It smells like a basement and I loathe basement smell. It needs to smell like a spring meadow or laundry soap. I would accept it smelling like dog farts at this point. Anything is better than that musty scent basements pick up when they serve little purpose and are neglected.
In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. That is not to say that this house is a struggle concerning England and France, although as time passes, my “England”, or bedroom, is quickly becoming a safe haven for escaping the insanity perpetrated by the house cleaning endeavor. There isn’t any political connection at all. It is my hope that I can show Better Half the negative aspects to “put off until later” aka “snowballs become avalanches”. However, chaotic or orderly, our house is still our house.
Alright, there is absolutely nothing that actually ties Dickens to my house woes. I simply wanted to use the quote in something. I’ll go back to Posleen now.
Amazon.com: Posleen War Series.
My Posleen woes are here.
Update: the mirror is now on the wall. At an angle. It's okay. It's Up. Up is Good.