Monday, February 2, 2009

Perfect Imperfection

Last week we had a "snow event". It could have been great as we got about 4-6 inches, but they were quickly followed by sleet and freezing rain, making our fluffy white snow into about 2 compressed inches of ice. Then it melted a bit and became ice covered slush. That night it refroze.

I was driving home the other day at dusk the next day, and as I entered the neighborhood I marveled at the scene. The sun was reflecting off of the glassy snow in the front yards of the houses I passed. Some were sheer perfection, not a single foot print marred the snow, making it look as smooth as smooth could be. Some houses had a yard full of a choppy mess, jagged edges of ice were left where children had obviously tread. These yards had evidence of fun stomped all through them. They told a story with every step. You can guess which yard my own house sported.

I can be ridiculously obsessive about my house. You'd never know it if you walked inside, but in my head there are no hand prints on the walls, scuffs on the floors nor dirt on the carpets. In my reality, I have an abundance of each. I have been in houses just like the one in my head; shiny kitchen floors and counters, perfectly painted molding and door jambs and carpeting in which each fiber stands at attention. I marveled at them, envied the cleanliness, but there was always something missing. A story. I can never read the story of that particular family.

My house is laden with stories. Start with the front yard. It is a choppy mess of ice and snow as 4 out of our 5 kids have stomped hundreds of times through it. There is a blue plastic baseball bat buried somewhere in the snow that was not rescued beforehand. On the porch is evidence of an unnamed child's artwork with crayon (they thought it was sidewalk chalk, not sure how that mistake was made) that we only managed to get half scrubbed away before other projects took precedence. Our front door really needs to be sanded down and freshened with new paint.

Entering our house you will immediately see a pair of snow boots laying inches from the coat closet in which they should reside. Another pair is standing neatly by the grandmother clock, mere feet from the closet. In the living room (that is really our office) is a lone Cinderella doll laying on the couch. She has only one shoe, so I can only surmise that she had a rough journey to this resting point. The dining room table is heavy with school books, crayons, pencils and glue sticks. A paper butterfly, compliments of Chick Fil-A has also landed on the table.

Venturing into the kitchen there are three boxes of cereal still sitting on the kitchen table from breakfast and an abandoned cereal bowl. The sink sports dishes waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher that is waiting to be emptied. Beyond the kitchen is the family room where folded laundry is stacked on the back of the couch and the floor is strewn with yesterday's toys. A chewed pair of 3-D glasses from last night's Super Bowl commercials sits atop the dogs' kennel, complete with Iggy's teeth marks.

I will spare you the view upstairs.

I suppose I would rather live in a house that has a treacherous ice field in the front and cereal bowls in the sink than live without the 5 tornadoes that left the chaos in the first place. My house definitely tells multiple stories. But I still dream about shiny kitchen floors and counters, perfectly painted molding and door jambs and carpeting in which each fiber stands at attention.

1 comment:

Susie said...

Oh, me too! Me too!!

Fast-forward 20 years or so and we'll have that reality...and we'll probably feel saddened by all the echoes.

I was looking around at all the stuff everywhere(!) and realized that we actually live's home...not a catalogue pic. (Though sometimes I would "settle" for the latter. *wink-grin*)