Betty Ann put down her glass of iced tea and said “As I’ve grown older, I find I am arranging things in my house just to suit me”. Looking around my kitchen and dining areas in response to Paula’s comment about how I arrange things “just so”, I realized I do tend to group things by the way I like to see them. We three girls were enjoying an all too seldom visit early this spring, and I’d arranged the visit, not the house. On that day I didn’t feel worthy of it, but I was happy for the compliment. The very old and the very new may sit side by side just because I like the colors together. Then again, the colors within a group may not be complimentary but the items remind me of an event or someone special; or I group items just because I like the way they fill the space. (Kind of like the way we fill our lives with so many different kinds of people; all ages, and walks of life.) So yes, my house is full of stuff, just to suit me. At the same time, I know the arrangements will be seen by others, who may or may not share my decorating taste. Not to sound unkind, but, so what? Problem is I’m a sentimental collector; a dangerous combination. Minimizing is attractive in theory, but to a collector who sees a memory or a loved one in each cherished possession, letting it go is next to climbing Mt. Rushmore. So maybe my space is getting a bit cluttered. So is my mind, so I guess it’s a nice fit.
I once looked at life as a buzzing busy bee,
Or butterflies all aflutter.
But as the days grow tired on me,
I see it all as clutter.
The down side of having a moment to look around the room, was that I saw so many things I didn’t do to prepare for guests, that I would have done a few years ago. There was a puppy pee pad on the floor across the room, and I didn’t get the floor mopped. I didn’t cut a bouquet of flowers, light a candle for fragrance, nor clean the windows. Yes, those are things I would have done a few years ago, along with moving and dusting under all those collector bric-a-brac just mentioned. Before you judge me, keep in mind that it was how I was raised. My mother may not have had the newest carpet, but it was clean; her windows were shining and the curtains were clean and ironed. God bless her sweet soul, she even cleaned the grooves in the linoleum flooring with a toothbrush when the floor wax built up there. My point is, we learn what we live. And I lived with a woman who loved her home, and her company. She wanted to present her very best. So do I. But like Betty Ann, my attitude has changed over the years. How I define my very best, now has more to do with conversation, time spent, food they’ll enjoy, and being rested rather than frazzled. I settled for vacuumed without mopped; a good quiche and iced tea; gratitude for the people I was blessed to have in our home, laughter instead of being tired and sensitive (which is what I become when I lose sleep, and sleep is lost if I do all that other stuff). My nap the day before was a luxury I didn’t used to afford myself, but I was a better person afterwards.
There was a chigger weed in my iris beds, maybe more. But the irises were beautiful. There was laundry piled up because we’d been fighting our washer, but the laundry room door slid shut nicely. The hardwood floors didn’t shine like they once did, but there’s a bathed and pampered puppy to enjoy instead. Our once grassy lawn was a weedy bog, but on it stands a home that I hope and pray extends hospitality and love. Anyway, I’m working on it. Perhaps one day, I will look around and see all the beauty of a wonderful visit without seeing these undone things. So, if you are tempted to give your house a “spit-polish shine” before I come to see you, don’t do it. Take a nap instead, have a cup of coffee ready, and let us enjoy a time “arranged just to suit ourselves”!