Almost every day, when I drop Princess off at the farmhouse for the schoolbus or when I pick her up (or sometimes both trips), I stop and go in. There’s much to do at the old farmhouse. Other than my furniture and boxes of books–which had been in storage all this time at my cousin’s old office building in Spencer–I’ve moved everything I own, one trip at a time, in my car. As I move out of each room, I clean it. I dust the innumerable knickknacks and antiques, some of which I have to take out from where I’ve put them away while I lived there with my things, and carefully put them back where they were before. I cleaned out all the kitchen cabinets and brought the farmhouse things back from the plastic storage bins in the cellar where I kept them. I remade all the beds, with freshly laundered linens. And I’ve cleaned, and cleaned. It’s taken two months, a little bit at a time between settling in here and hatching chickens and writing a book, but I’m almost finished.
And each time I clean a room or make a bed or put something away, I think to myself, And this is for the last time. Because everything at the old farmhouse is a hassle. There was never any solution to a problem in that one-hundred-year-old house that didn’t present a whole new problem. It was hard to live with the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter, sharing one bathroom with four people, maneuvering (and trying to clean) around so many breakable knickknacks, tripping over antiques at every turn, a floor that at one point started crumbling under my feet, mice in the walls, a dearth of electrical outlets, and my very very favorite–rooms with no doors because GREAT AUNT RUBY DIDN’T LIKE DOORS. If the gas furnace wasn’t broken, the hot water heater was. Or the washer. I actually brought a dishwasher there or I would have probably shot myself in the head.
Stupid old parlor.
Stupid old kitchen. (This is Georgia’s mess–she’s in the middle of sorting things to put back in the cabinets.)
Stupid old antiques.
Stupid view from the old cellar porch out to the old wash house.
Stupid room with no door. (This was Princess’s bedroom. It’s the last room I have left to finish cleaning out.)
Stupid dead great-grandparents hanging on the wall.
Stupid light switch about ten feet from the doorway into the room.
Stupid nativity sets in my old bedroom that I’m redecorating in its former “Christmas Room” glory.
Stupid Christmas tree that I had to look at in the corner of my old bedroom for two and a half years because it was too big to hide away with the rest of the “Christmas Room” festive paraphenalia. (I packed up most of the “Christmas Room” stuff because I couldn’t stand to look at Christmas 365 days a year.)
Stupid bed that isn’t mine anymore.
Stupid creepy loom room.
Stupid arrangement of old heavy irons on top of a big can that I used to try to prop shut a door that won’t close right. (It didn’t do much to keep out drafts.)
Stupid old porch swing.
Stupid old house.
And yet as I pulled those plastic bins full of the old farmhouse dishes out for Georgia to look through and decide what should go back in the cabinets in that kitchen that I’ve already taken all my things out of, I watched her sort through and start arranging things, and I thought, GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!
I love that stupid old house.