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Just Like Mom


We are close to listing, I believe by Wednesday of this week. By then my right knee should move from softball size to small watermelon. I spent yesterday in the garden, as I had the day before. I painted the patio, and then that led to thinking that the frames around the window looked dirty, so I pulled out a small ladder and repainted those. I believe I have become just a little crazed. Today in 97 degree heat I will be repainting the door in from the garden. It’s the domino effect. Every time I clean one thing it makes the thing next to it look a little duller. I really need to stop. The place looks beautiful. I will be taking pictures soon, and will share some of our handiwork.

A few weeks before my Mother died she began cleaning out drawers. She made a comment to my sister about not wanting people to think she was “dirty”.  She wasn’t expecting company, there was no one set to arrive at her home to inspect her cleanliness, it was as if she had a premonition that those drawers would be opened again, but the next time it wouldn’t be by her. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about moments like that. How alone she felt at times. The last night she spent in her house was alone, up all night suffering a heart attack. She was afraid, she always put my Dad first so she didn’t wake him, instead she sat by herself that entire night. It breaks my heart. What’s worse is that she spent the night in the comfort of her only friend, her cigarettes. So often I wish I could go back and tell her to call me, or to call one of my sisters. There isn’t one of us that wouldn’t have rushed to her side.

All of this came to my mind this morning as I continued the relentless preparation of my house to make it ready for sale. I am my Mother’s daughter. I have been looking at homes for sale closer to Dan’s job, and quite frankly I am appalled at some of what I am seeing. I would be embarrassed to reveal the kind of filth that is photographed and publicly displayed for the world to see. OK, so I’m being a little harsh, but really? I have cleaned every inch of this home, it is immaculate, every nook and cranny I can think of is getting a through go over. I wouldn’t dream of asking someone to move in and clean up after me. Years ago in Chicago we were looking for a house to buy. We went to see a typical Chicago Bungalow owned by someone named Otto. The house needed work, which is a challenge I enjoy, but what I didn’t enjoy was the amount of dirt I saw on every window ledge, the unappealing odor, and the general mess of the entire house. When I see that (or in this case smell that) I wonder what could possibly be underneath it all. Yuck! Sends a shiver down my spine. When we left Otto asked if we were interested, and when we said no he asked why. We lied, said the house was too small, but the reality is that I wanted to tell him to clean his house. A little elbow grease never hurt anyone.  I love my home, I’m proud of my home, and if I didn’t clean it my Mom would be ashamed. That in itself is enough of a motivating factor.


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