In my last column I told you that reconstruction of the damage done by the fire we had last month was nearly complete. At least the rebuilding necessary in the attic and the bedroom was complete, and we were able to leave our temporary quarters in the guest bedroom.
It was time for the cleaners to go to work. I considered this a real bonus. Finally we would have the spring cleaning totally done in at least two rooms and the attic.
Don’t misunderstand. I try to do the spring cleaning annually in our house like my mother always did. But, in my defense, my mother was a dedicated housewife. She stayed home. I don’t.
So every year my spring cleaning gets interrupted by other concerns. It always gets started in a different place each year but it never gets totally done in any given year.
Now professional cleaners were going to come in and clean two whole rooms and the attic. What a promise. They told me they would scrub everything and return it to its place. Suddenly the promise was a threat.
First the attic. There had been fire, firemen, and construction people in our attic. It had been necessary for all of them to move things to get their jobs done. How in the world would the cleaners ever know where anything belonged. I didn’t even know. My solution was to propose that they get rid of the wood smoke smell, and I would put things where they belonged.
OK, but what about the clothes? Bill was right. I have too many clothes. The ones in the attic definitely needed to be laundered or dry cleaned to eliminate the essence of wood smoke. I couldn’t wear, sell, or even give them away in their post-fire state. That necessitated moving them all outside so they could be sorted into bags marked “dry clean,” “machine wash, hand wash” and “pitch”.
They cleaned our bedroom walls and furniture, and I washed the drapes and curtains. With the new ceiling and carpet, the old bedroom looks great. I am sorely tempted to leave all those boxes of stuff we removed in storage. It’s going to be a real pain to put it all back. Maybe I’ll leave it for awhile and if I don’t miss it, I’ll just pitch it. Or I could move it to the attic, if I get rid of a lot of stuff in the attic.
The guest bedroom was the easiest one. I had all kinds of family pictures displayed there along with books I already read but didn’t think I could part with, and shelves full of various knickknacks. With a granddaughter’s help I sorted through all of that and filled four big boxes with books and items ready to go to places which can use them, sell them for their own profit, or distribute them to folks who can enjoy them.
We had one closet where I had stashed all the pillows, both bed and sofa, that we no longer used. I gave them to our family that had the most resident kids. Had a bad moment the next night when we moved back into our old bedroom. I couldn’t find my favorite pillow. I thought I had probably given it away. But the next morning I found it on the sofa downstairs where I had taken a nap the day before.
With the advent of cooler weather last week, in the 80’s instead of the 90’s, our granddaughter came back and we returned the attic to a semblance of order. It really wasn’t as junky as it looked. Things were just out of place. Well, the Christmas wrapping station was a bit of a mess, but it didn’t take long to straighten it up.
Just two trash bags later, I knew what was where in the attic, and one of the trash bags was full of collapsed boxes I was sure I’d need some day. The other one was full of stuff I couldn’t identify so I decided nobody would ever need it either.
Now all that remains are the boxes of things from shelves in my big closet and the small guest bedroom. Maybe I can fit them into that little bedroom and then board it up and forget it. Bill suggested putting a Dumpster under that window and shoving all the boxes out into the Dumpster. So if you see a Dumpster under that second story window you’ll know he won.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Daily Advocate August 10, 2005.