Where's the village?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Everything is not in its place.

I have an old spice rack on my wall. It was given to us by a friend of the family, with spices still in it from nineteen-fifty-something when it was given to him and his wife as a wedding present. We immediately dumped them all out and washed the bottles, so it's a spice rack of nice clean empty shiny bottles in four rows of twelve, except for one empty space which is the saffron bottle, because I kept the saffron -- damned if I'm going to throw out something that expensive even if it's 60 years old. But that spice rack, when I can stop looking at the incongruous empty space, is an inspiration to me. It's practically my motto. They're all neat and tidy and in a spot that fits them exactly right, that was made for them. They have a place.

There's an old phrase that I like: "A place for everything, and everything in its place." I know myself too well by now to believe that I will ever have everything in its place. There are times when I believe everything is in the exact wrong place, at least in the dajamou's playroom, which then leads me to ask why am I bothering to have "places" for a four year old's toys?

But that's the thing. I have this wide-eyed, slightly panicked, clutching-to-the-floating-debris deep down certainty (read: delusion) that if I just had a place for everything, if there was a perfect box, basket, shelf, cubby or bin for every last thing this family owned, then I would be able to breathe easy and concentrate on what really matters. Things like making sure the dajamou grows up with an inherent sense of her self worth and without too many body image issues. Like snuggling with my beloved. Like maintaining the lines of communication with my family. Like reading every Hugo and Nebula award winning novel from the beginning of time. In roughly that order.

The reality is that my house is...well, OK, I'll be honest and say it's not quite a hovel, but mostly because it's big and rambling enough that the crap can spread out to a somewhat even level of entropy. Excepting, as always, the dajamou's playroom which is a slow motion hurricane at all times.

But when things get too crazy and cluttered and covered in white clouds of dog hair (they call it blowing coat, what this beast does twice a year), when the burden of it all becomes too heavy, I can turn to the kitchen wall and gaze upon my nearly perfect spice rack (gotta use that saffron soon, dammit) like a Martha Stewart mandala and feel like there's hope for order, somewhere in my world.

But I swear. If this house gets burned down, or we have to move, or pretty much whenever I ever again have to choose a new home? I am SO picking a small one. One that only has room for the necessities and that I can vacuum in 20 minutes or less. But not until I take full advantage of the dajadaddy's equipment-and-space-intensive hobbies, like mead making, woodworking, and sewing. After that? It's all about the small house, baby.

But only after.


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