Saturday, February 14, 2015

Balentime's Day and Stale Stuff

Today is Valentine's Day, that special, epoch-turning day of the year when ... Diane rearranges the furniture for spring.

I'm not one of those who get actually bitter about this day, and I don't hate men or wish I had a boyfriend (I'm forty-seven for pete's sake, "boyfriend" is just one of those words that embarrasses me, frankly - even if there were a prospect, I'd have to call him my Love Unit or anything but that (and thank you to Beloved Ex for that term - it's what he used to say we were for each other ... heh)). But when the only man in over twelve years now who's been able to pique my interest lives four thousand miles away and I don't see any replacements on the horizon, it's nothin' doin' for me and pink hearts and roses.

Come to that, it was always pretty much nothin' doin' for me and that stuff; I don't go in for paying ridiculous amounts of money to kill a bunch of flowers.

Valentine's is, for me, just a convenient marker, anymore.

Last week and the week before, I included some of the deeper cleaning flourishes I don't indulge in the weekly housekeeping - scrubbing the tile walls throughout the bath, cleaning the cabinets and walls in the kitchen. This week, I get to poke furniture about.

In winter, the living room closes in, furniture placed closer, cosily. Heat conserved, everything coiled like a cat or dog keeping warm while it sleeps, light subdued, more frequent candlelight, holiday decorations, more rugs - and easy access to a lovely collection of afghans near the couch.

It is on Valentine's day (or, more usually, the nearest Saturday to hand) when this large and long room uncurls again. Furniture shifts wider, nearer the walls, opening up the wide room to light and - soon - to the air. The windows will be able to provide cross-ventilation, the house will look fresh and new when I come home from work.

As it happens, today I've also opened up the guest room - which has increasingly, of late, become my personal answer to a Cape Cod's efficiency of space (that's smallness, my friends) as more and more a bit of a "California Closet".  With two closets - presumably built in 1950 for the purpose of a family with two kids sharing a room, perhaps - and a great deal of space ("efficiency" means there isn't excess storage, but also means there are fewer rooms, and all of them larger - my NYC readers need never ask to see pictures, because I don't wish to be murdered!), the "guest" room only rarely used as such is mine all mine, really. It is here non-seasonal clothes go, in one of the closets and a dresser and chest of drawers. It is here my going-out clothes go, fancier dresses and heels I'd never wear to work. It is here I have a new shelving unit, a great little mid-century metal bookshelf enameled to look like woodgrain, filled with all those vintage purses I've collected in the past eight years or so.

Today, I rearranged that room so the open area is straight in front of the door; bed a little off to the side on the far wall, dresser and chest of drawers on the right against the wall. It's a big room, so there's even room for a pair of short side tables in front of the window. A shoe rack. And the purse shelf.

I've dusted the floor to death, and ... turns out, having shifted the couch and TV downstairs, NOW it is time to clean the whole rest of the house. I need to get the bedroom in hand, finish upstairs swiffing, then bring the swiffer and vaccuum down so I can clean floors as I finalize the rest of the furniture. Because I want to clean underneath before moving things into place, there's a whole *process* involved in this redecoration.

And, for a little while, a few weeks - and with the season waning - I'll be able to just enjoy how nice the house is. How everything is where it needs to be, how I have the decks clear and the place is somehow nicer than it was before.

I get stale in an environment that stays static too long. As many people need a new 'do or new chair or new music, I need a new deployment in my house every now and then. (I need to trim my hair, too, come to think of it.) As my treasured TEO looks at her tidily organized linen closet sometimes for a sense of satisfaction and "oh, well that's all right then" ... I need to know this house, frayed as the edges are ... empty as it is, of the man that I love ... or any love that isn't fur-bearing ...

I need to have a new configuration to look at, find comfortable. And to know the dust, literally, has been shaken out. And to look out at the future and see things a different way.

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