Splattered Dreams

When we moved into this apartment last February, I had such high hopes. Unlike our former decrepit “We’re not putting any money into it because as soon as the woman downstairs goes into a nursing home, we’re putting it on the market” apartment, this one was freshly painted, fully functional, with a landlord who cared.

Plus, it had a lot less onsite storage, which meant we got rid of a ton of crap. I loved that part.

The walls here were bright and clean. The space was empty. The kitchen, pantry, and bathroom floors were a gleaming bright black-and-white tile, unlike the drab brown failing linoleum of our old place.

I had grand plans. I loved the bright clean floor so much, I bought a case of those wasteful Swiffer cloths. I was going to keep this floor bright and clean, washing it every night.


Fast-forward to November. There’s a spare dresser in the basement. There’s water in the basement. The kitchen set-up doesn’t quite work. There’s a spare kitchen island in the basement.

If we use the toaster oven and coffee maker at the same time, if they’re on the same counter, we throw the circuit breaker. We’ve had to configure that problem into our constant moving-things-around-in-the-kitchen-because-the-space-isn’t-right situation.

We try to keep it clean, but when we got the keyboard for Max’s piano lessons, one bookshelf had to move into the entryway, meaning we took down the bench-and-cubby that I’d made last winter, so the kids have no idea where to put their stuff.

The lovely black-and-white tile? Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep that clean? We try. It’s hard. I’m making three meals a day plus feeding the cat. Plus school lunches. It’s never-ending.

Plus, Thanksgiving. Wednesday I spent the day preparing Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, roasted squash and roots, baby kale. I also cleaned up a bunch of the produce we got from the farm last weekend. Then we left for Thanksgiving.

We returned Saturday and fed the kids lunch; fed the cat; fed the kids dinner; and prepared more Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, roasted squash and roots, and a pumpkin pie for the next day’s Thanksgiving with my in-laws.

The cat was so excited to see us, she threw up next to her food bowl.

We cleaned the floor again, and again, and again. It’s nonstop.

We got home tonight, put the leftovers away, fed the kids, made lunches. Fed the cat. Cleaned everything up. Moved the toaster oven to a new spot in hopes that works better. Made plans to bring the cubby bench in from the back porch (but then where does the bookshelf go?). I’m ready to sell the Early American drop-leaf table in the front hall, which I found in Maine when I lived there. It’s precious and lovely and so original, with wide boards, and tonight I realized I am finally unattached to it, after all this time, and could sell it. For much less than I paid for it, even. I might even just give it away.

We have too many tables, and too much stuff, and the floors will never be clean. I think back to those early days, when most of our stuff wasn’t moved in yet and I was so happily uncluttered,

and I notice we’re down to 2 boxes of Swiffer cloths, which means not only did we fill a landfill with the things, but jesus we can never get ahead of the mess on the floors,

and I guess this is what life is like sometimes, when you’re 42 and not quite living your dreams and surrounded by the chaos and mess of a family.

I’m writing this with Ben asleep on my lap, and I still have to sweep and Swiffer the bathroom.

I’m pretty sure we need to get rid of half of our stuff. Will that help keep our floors clean?

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