Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Bugs and the Dust

Transitions are a natural part of my life. I have spent the past three years travelling back and forth between our apartment in Ohio and my house in Michigan. In the beginning, I used to try and spend equal time in both places. My schedule was pretty much one week in Michigan and one week in Ohio. But as time has gone by, my life in Ohio with Mark Johnson has started to feel more like home. I have been extending my time here to two weeks and sometimes even three weeks.

Having that time to build our life here has been wonderful. I have become accustomed to the quiet pace and low key lifestyle that we have down here. Which makes the transition to Michigan more challenging. My life there is hectic. I am always trying to squeeze everything into a compressed time frame. Scheduling time with family and dinners with friends around other things like my monthly haircut and pedicure. And trying to get work done for my writing clients too. It usually takes me about a day to get up to my Michigan speed, and then it takes me two days to recover when I get back to Ohio. 

For the most part, it is working. I really can't complain since I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to live and work in two places. The thing that has been the biggest challenge is cleaning. When I lived in Michigan full time, I would clean my house once a week. Not necessarily a deep cleaning, but I would definitely clean the kitchen and bathrooms and wash the sheets on the bed. Just the fact that I lived there kept the bugs and the dust at bay. 

But now that I am gone for two or three weeks at a time, the bugs and the dust have pretty much taken up residence at my house. Especially the spiders. It seems like there are little cobwebs everywhere when I come home. I usually spend the first two hours cleaning out the bugs and the dust before I can begin to feel settled. There is one spot that seems to be the worst. My living room couch is in front of a big picture window and there is a small end table next to the couch as well. Every time I come home, there are spiderwebs on the floor between the couch and the table and sometimes they stretch all the way over to the window.

I have been growing tired of constantly clearing out the spiderwebs. Sometimes they come back within a few days, before I have even left for Ohio. On my last trip I decided to do a deep cleaning of my house. I took every piece of furniture away from the walls and I swept and vacuumed every corner. When I got to the living room, I had this strong urge to flip the couch over. I noticed spiders running away across the floor and there was a little white pod where they might have had a nest.  

No wonder the webs seemed to reappear overnight. They were living under the couch. Every time I would come home and clear out the webs, the spiders would scurry under the couch and wait. And as soon as I went away, they would start spinning their webs again. After my cleaning spree, I also looked online for some natural remedies to get rid of spiders. I found that they don't like the smell of citrus, peppermint and eucalyptus, among other things. So I bought some aromatherapy sprays and sprayed the underside of my couch as well as the corners of the room and near the doorway. But it didn't end there. 

The next morning, I was still feeling like I wanted to do more. I took all of the curtains off the windows and washed them. The dining room curtains were dry clean only so I set them aside to take them to the dry cleaners. But the more I thought about it, I realized that I really didn't like them anymore so I put them into a giveaway bag instead. And then there was the rug in the living room. I had rolled it up and put it aside when I was moving the furniture and I just left it there. I decided that I liked the open space in the room and I didn't want to put the rug back.

There is a story behind that rug. I have had it for about 6 years. It is a Persian rug that I bought after I had the hardwood floors re-done at my house. I spent about $2,200 on that rug. Other than my car and my house, it was one of the biggest purchases I have ever made. I found it at rug at a shop in Birmingham when I was dating the Boy. At the time I was making a lot of money working at my corporate job. I had looked everywhere for a rug that would fit the space and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get that one rug off my mind. Eventually I broke down and bought it. 

When I think about it now, I cannot imagine ever spending $2,200 on a rug. It seems like a colossal waste of money. But at the time, I had plenty of money and it made me happy. It is still a beautiful rug, but it doesn't belong in my house anymore. Somewhere along the way, what used to be one of my prized possessions turned into something that was weighing me down. And I knew that it had to go. 

Usually I just take things to the Goodwill when I no longer need them, but getting rid of a $2,200 rug is a bit more complicated. I remember when I bought it, the lady said that Persian rugs are an investment and she assured me that it would hold its value. That is definitely not the case. But I have found a few furniture consignment shops down here in Ohio and I am going to list the rug with them and hopefully get at least a fraction of what I paid for it.

When I left for Ohio I sprayed the room with lemongrass and I moved the couch and the table into the center of the living room, which will hopefully discourage the spiders from taking up residence under my couch again. I am going back there today, so I will see how my spiderweb mitigation plan is working.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I will be able to keep driving back and forth between two houses. I wonder if I should think about selling my house and if I do, I wonder what I would do with all of my stuff. One of the home organizing books I read last year was called Clutterbusting by Brooks Palmer. It is one of my favorite organizing books and I highly recommend it. Much easier to follow than Marie Kondo. Brooks believes that our things have energy and that if you look around a room you will be able to see (or feel) which items have become stale and no longer belong there. That is definitely what I felt with my rug and the dining room curtains. 

At some point, I wonder if I will feel that way about my entire house. When I am here in Ohio everything is alive because we use it every day. We have only what we need. Nothing ever feels stale. We might get rid of a stack of books now and then, or reorganize our pantry or laundry room, but that's about it. Mostly we keep the energy flowing. But my house is different. When I lived there all the time, it used to feel alive. And when I deep cleaned it, I could feel the energy return. It wants me to be there. It wants to feel lived in and used. It doesn't want to be taken over by the dust and the bugs. And I don't want to see my house that way either. 

I know I am not ready to give up my house just yet. When Mark Johnson comes and stays with me for the weekend, it feels like home. And even when I am there alone sitting on my couch watching a Hallmark movie at the end of a long day, it still feels like home. I am hoping that some of these little changes I made will help bring life back into my house and keep the bugs and the dust away. And eventually I will figure out what's next.

No comments: