Making room for perfection in an imperfect home

Monday, April 4, 2011

I had given myself the once-annual cleaning weekend off.  It had been my birthday, a birthday weekend—justification, I thought, for leaving a broken umbrella and defunct soccer ball by the front door, my husband's mud prints across the porch, an influx of dust against the hallway shoe.  Just let it be, I'd told myself, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  You'll get to it.  It was Monday by now.  Late afternoon.  I'd spent the day doing errands and while I knew that it was time to clean—it really was, I swear it was—I'd decided to settle down with a book instead when I heard a knocking at the front door.

A knocking.

That could only mean one thing:  Someone who didn't know that I, on most occasions, keep the house obsessively clean, had come to visit.

Not only that—she (for it was Patty, a dear soul) was bringing me a gift.

It goes with the theme, she said, handing me a bag.  Do you want to come in? I asked, mortified by the dust bunnies behind me.  No, she said, demurely.  She was on her way to or from some place, something.  She was, in other words, pretending that she hadn't seen the week's accumulation of dust, though she was standing (albeit delicately) upon the mud prints.  Beside the broken umbrella.  Down a spit from the retired soccer ball.

It took me until just now to get over my mortification and open the bag.  Will you look at this?  It's the cover of Dangerous Neighbors.  I mean—the real thing:  twigs and eggs.  I've never seen anything like it.  A perfect gift for a less than perfect hostess.  And so very deeply appreciated.

And so, Patty, is your note with your typewriter-emulating handwriting.

What does a woman say?  Only this:  I've cleaned the house since you were here.  Thrown away the umbrella.  Wiped the dirt from the front door.  Welcomed the nest into a nice, clean space.


Melissa Sarno said...

Whoa! That's so cool! And why do I feel like your dirty home is probably still cleaner than my 'clean' apartment? Happy Birthday!

Lilian Nattel said...

How beautiful--and you should see our house. It is probably never better than before you clean. :)

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