Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Twenty something years ago as teacher with three children to grow and a big old (circa 1815) house to clean and keep in order, I pleaded with my husband to consider adding the expense of a biweekly house cleaning service to our budget.  He agreed, and for well over two decades, from September to June, I have not really thought a lot about keeping the kitchen floor mopped or the bathrooms scrubbed; it has just "magically"  happened.  Last week we cancelled our cleaning ladies because of a week spent in North Carolina, so that means, this week I am doing the cleaning.  Thus far, I have conquered the top two floors of our house.  I have scoured the tub, sucked cobwebs from ceiling cracks, dusted vases, washed plants, gotten down on my hands and knees to wipe the bathroom and kitchen floors, and even moved furniture to confront dust bunnies hiding behind.  

Cleaning more deeply than we pay others to do for us, I am surprised that it feels kinda right.  My mother was a meticulous housekeeper and cleaner.  So is my sister-in-law.  I never got that gene nor obtained it by osmosis.  But at almost 60, I finally think I know what clean and orderly looks like, and I have a semblance of how to get there. Now that I have the time to actually do it, it feels as if I am getting reacquainted with my and room-by-room.

When it became known that I intended to retire, I received advice from other retirees.  Mostly it was to go away in September when the busses roll, and not to commit to anything for a full year.  With probably a certain sense of hubris, I started off retirement ignoring the first suggestion, coming to regret it as September waned.  As I neared retirement, I scanned our church newsletter and volunteer opportunities mentioned in other newsletter, planning the groups I might join and the causes I might champion when I was freed from the bells of school.  I even made promises and started off September scribbling things to do into my calendar....

Now well into October, I am starting to see this retirement thing a bit differently and beginning to understand the wisdom of the year hiatus from commitments.  Maybe it is decades of bells and rigid schedules of where I am to be and who I am to be with, but  I really am not ready to solidly commit to much other than my yoga class and a few mornings of working out.  Getting my body in shape and my house in order is helping oddly to reshape a shifted universe. I will work on the soul and spirit after some more time passes....

My mother (gone 11 years and I still miss her so..), sitting at our kitchen table in our old house in Huntsville (in front of those curtains I once sewed).  Yes..I know, posting this photo (and probably writing this post) is total self indulgence.  


  1. Mom, I love seeing Nana here--and love seeing our kitchen and its details. How I would love to see MORE of the details of our old home...where is that cross stitch?

  2. I finally figured out how to use our scanner on our printer. I loved seeing this photo too...the cross stitch is in our new television room downstairs. That is really an oldie from the wee early years of our marriage.