Cleaning For The Last Time

February 11, 2015

I’m very tired this morning, because I spent most of the last three days furiously throwing things out, dusting, rearranging shelves, hiding knick-knacks, scrubbing floors, vacuuming baseboards, changing lightbulbs, washing towels, concealing power cords and the like. In fact, I’m kind of cleaning for the last time.

When I moved into my newly purchased home in August 2013, it really was “Grandma’s house.” Since then, I’ve dumped a lot of sweat equity into turning it into a clean, bright home that immediately centers me when I walk in the door.

There are the (nearly) immaculate white walls, so carefully re-plastered and repainted into a cool, Swedish-inflected, almost art-gallery-like neutrality.

November 2013: Look at those floors. Fresh polyurethane. Not a scratch on them. Sigh.

November 2013: Look at those floors. Fresh polyurethane. Not a scratch on them. Sigh.

There are the not-so-subtle hints of my love of music all over the place: my framed “exhibit” of concert posters from the past half-decade of shows. My record collection, which hasn’t grown as much lately, but which never fails to impress visitors. My pile of guitars, drums, keyboards and musical toys that I while away the hours play.

There are touches of the original home, too: The brilliant hardwood floors, which were hidden under pea-green shag carpeting. The unique single-panel doors on a few of the closets. The upright piano in the living room — a family heirloom from the previous owners, which has been in the house for probably 75 years.

All in all, it’s truly a “home” — all of the renovation was done or directed by me (with help, of course), so I can’t help but feel ownership of the thing. I don’t think I’m overprotective of it by any means, but it’s definitely mine.

So why did I spend so much time scrubbing it down? I’m not selling it, if that’s what you’re thinking.

February 2014: I guess my house has always attracted wildlife, like this roof turkey.

February 2014: I guess my house has always attracted wildlife, like this roof turkey.

I gave my house the full treatment because I’m finally willing to introduce chaos into my carefully ordered — or at least carefully chosen — safe space. That’s right: I’m getting a puppy.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a dog — in fact, there wasn’t a time from birth to age 17 that my family didn’t own at least one dog — but it is the first time I’ve ever had a pet of my own. (Actually, that’s not true — I tried the fish thing my sophomore year of college. All but one died within five days, and the lone survivor somehow lived — thrived, even — in a glass cider jug without food or new water for four more years. How?) I’ve shared spaces with roommates’ cats and spent time with my parents’ and friends’ dogs, but this one’s mine.

Look at this poop-free yard! That all ends tonight, I guess.

Look at this poop-free yard! That all ends tonight, I guess.

To say I’m excited is an understatement, but it also took a lot of mental energy to arrive at a point where I was comfortable surrendering control to a sweet little ball of fluff. I won’t share his details yet — he comes home tonight, and I don’t want to jinx it too much — but no one has yet convinced me why this could be a bad idea, other than the myriad reasons not to get a dog, of course.

So, sadly, my house is cleaner than it’s ever been. I took a moment to relax last night and realized how nice my home can be — and all of that ends tonight, when a hairy, poopy, gnaw-y bundle of energy bolts through my front door. I can’t wait.