Archive for April 21st, 2022

Part of the reason I got such a good deal on my property was that superficially, the house was in a frightful condition.  It was structurally sound, solid, and dry, and though we needed to do considerable work on the electrical and water systems to get them to the level I was comfortable with, we were able to move in right away and then fix it up over time.  But while I cleaned up the most obvious dirt, dust, and grime pretty quickly, and tackled the less-obvious stuff as I got to it in the process of remodeling, every house (especially a 100-year-old one) has innumerable nooks, crannies, corners, behind-fixture spaces, and other places where grunge and filth can hide.  On top of everything else, the house was unoccupied by humans for so long, the spiders had multiplied until they were numerous enough to field an entire arachnid legion without much trouble; it seemed like no matter how often I cleared away the cobwebs, there were plenty more within just a few days.  Had I attempted to get it all perfectly clean from the get-go, I would’ve been so overwhelmed I would’ve had little time or energy for anything else, so instead I adopted a strategy of “clean enough”, keeping in mind that it’s a farmhouse near a rain forest, and that we have pets and have been constantly remodeling for the past five years.  Over the past two I’ve been living here full-time, and except when I’m traveling or absolutely slammed with the building project, I like to clean pretty well once a week; I dust, vacuum, wipe down the counters, clean the stove, mop the floor, etc.  And over the past year I’ve realized that almost every time I do so, I notice some crud somewhere that I hadn’t before; it’s as though it had been hiding and suddenly leapt out at me, taunting me until I eliminate it.  Obviously, that’s silly; most of this grot has actually been there since the last owners were alive, and I simply hadn’t gotten around to looking closely enough at the spot it was lurking to notice it before.  But I think a lot of my not-noticing is a psychological defense; my brain refuses to register most of it because if I did, I wouldn’t stop cleaning until I dropped from exhaustion.  So I only let myself notice one or two such spots every time I clean, and as the general level of cleanliness increases, the remaining problem areas become more noticeable one by one.  This is, as I wrote above, a farm; it’ll never match an operating theater.  But it’s reached the point where most of the rooms now look clean to me, and it’s a lot easier to maintain that level once achieved than to deal with hidden messes which have been slowly accumulating since the late twentieth century.

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