We’re cleaning the music store so the cleaners can come tomorrow. It’s a weekly event. Oh, we also do the same thing at the house every other week, the night before they come to clean. Does that seem pointless?
Let me transport you back 25 years to when we purchased our music store and moved it to a different location within a couple of weeks of taking over. We picked up, packed up, bagged up clutter, and then did it all again several times and I said, “I’ll never let this store get like this while I’m running it.” Thirteen years later, we moved again and we picked up, packed up, bagged up, and rented a dumpster. (Filled it four times with junk we had accumulated.) And, as we moved into our current location, I said, “I’ll never let this store get like this again while I’m running it.”
Shift scenes to an old Victorian house in this same town. We lived there for eighteen wonderful years, raising two children, any number of cats, and a dog or two. When we got ready to move a few years ago, some of our very good friends were kind enough to help us corral the clutter (they repented, too late) and together we picked up, packed up, and bagged up. And I said, “We’ll never let our house…” Well, you get the picture.
Now, I’ve admitted that I’m not the brightest color in the box, but as Mr Tolkien says with such clarity, “Even he can see through a brick wall in time (as they say in Bree).” He was speaking of a character who “…thinks less than he talks, and slower,” which seems to describe me to a tee, so maybe even I can learn, given enough chances.
When we moved into the house, we hired a housekeeper who comes every two weeks to clean. We do some light housecleaning in between and by we, I mean the Lovely Lady, since I can walk past the same piece of trash everyday for a week without noticing it. And, every other Wednesday, we leave for work in the morning and as if by magic, come home to a sparkling clean abode! The thing about housekeepers though, is that they won’t tackle our clutter for fear that they might lose something important to us. So every other Tuesday, as we arrive at the eve of their semi-weekly visit, we go though the house, sorting and throwing away, precleaning in preparation for their battle against our dirt.
A couple of years ago, we came to the conclusion that we could use a similar plan of attack for the music store, so we bought new shelves, sorted, threw out, and generally did the same thing we had each time we moved before, but this time with the purpose of staying put, only in cleaner quarters. And now, like at home, each week we move errant returns off of counters, wind up guitar cords, and sort any stragglers that have escaped our paper filing efforts of the previous days. The transformation after the cleaners are done is not so mysterious here, since I’m usually sitting at my desk before they finish, but the result is no less stellar.
At last, we don’t have to be embarrassed, either by our home or the business. Visitors to both are greeted with smiles and invited in without fear of distress. Life is easier and less stressful than before. And to top it off, we’ve developed a great friendship with the cleaners, a very nice couple with whom we share many common perspectives. I frequently find it hard to allow them to do their work, since we love to spend time in conversation about many subjects, from music, to Bible doctrine, to our common love of auctions.
I do have one serious issue, though. Their unreasonable refusal to deal with my clutter, and my own inertia, has left me with a location in the store which I think my mother would refer to as a pigsty. I sit every day at a desk piled high with papers which may or may not have any logistical reason to be there. Come to think of it, many of them may even be simply trash. I don’t know and really don’t have time or much of an inclination to find out. So the stacks grow and each week, the cleaners work carefully around them, leaving the impression of cleanliness in our store, which flees as quickly as you look at the desk. I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, not even sure that I want to correct the issue. I guess sometimes, the pig just needs to have a little bit of mud to wallow in, even if the rest of the barn is spotless. Can you understand that? I just need a place to settle into, grunt once in awhile, and merely feel at home.
“Look, ask me what paper came to my desk last week and I couldn’t tell you.”
(Ronald Reagan, President of the United States 1981-1989)