And another reason I’m grateful for the snow: it gives me an excuse to resurrect this post from my old blog.
Jen Fulwiler just celebrated her 35th birthday, and asked people under and above the age of 35 how they feel about this time in their life. As someone who just turned 37, I can sum up this time in my life by what’s happening today: I’m old and mature and responsible enough to be expecting an assessor from the bank to come over in a few hours to look over the house in preparation for our refinance, which should save us a few hundred dollars on our monthly mortgage payment.
But I’m also tired and cynical and lazy enough to have put very little effort into cleaning said house, even though I know it will cause me considerable embarrassment when the assessor comes over. Unlike the party guests we recently hosted, he will be (DOOM! DOOM!) Allowed To Go Upstairs.
I tried to kid myself for a while that the house is simply charmingly cluttered, filled with the sweet, if somewhat chaotic, hallmarks of an enviably happy and bustling family. I even clung to this fantasy while (not even lying, here) wiping ketchup off the bathroom mirror this morning. Wiping, not scrubbing — which means it was fairly fresh. Which means that someone was . . . using ketchup in the middle of the night, in the bathroom? I don’t want to know.
But when I went to wake up the kids, I had to face the hard fact that — well, all moms say, “It looks like a hurricane hit here!” Well, my house really looks like a real hurricane really hit, and hit, and hit. It looks like there should be burnt-out refrigerators scattered here and there. It looks like there should be people standing on the roof, shooting at helicopters. Worst of all, there are actual high water marks in one room, even though we have never been flooded. At least, I think it was water. Uh.
A few years ago, I would have broken my back to have the place spic and span. But a few years ago, we couldn’t even have considered owning a house, much less refinancing one. A few years ago, we would have had more free time to clean, because my husband was working one job, not two, and I wasn’t working at all. Our kids would have been home to help clean, because they weren’t going to art classes or field trips or planning sleepovers with their friends, because we didn’t have any friends, because we never left the apartment. And our credit was shot because we did things like buying things and then not, you know, paying for them. And I would have done all the cleaning myself, and been furious about it, because my husband and I were not in the habit of communicating with each other, or helping each other, or working together. Today, the kitchen is kind of grimy, but there are fresh flowers on the counter. My husband brought them home for me the other day, because he thought I could use some flowers.
So, at age 37, have I broken even in the ledgers of personal responsibility? Have I really made any progress, or have I only become more adept at making plausible excuses for my failings? Is today a cause for pride, or a prime opportunity to do an assessment of my own soul, seeing as I’ve repaired my own spiritual credit to the degree that I probably qualify to refinance my own time, and could be saving myself years off purgatory by just getting off my behind and cleaning the bathroom for once? What if I got a sheriff who so offends the people of Rock Ridge that his very appearance would drive them out of town? Wherever will I find such a man? Why am I asking you?
Well, happy birthday, Jen! DOOM! DOOM!