by Ted Uram
One of the first things we look at when deciding on which fancy hotel to stay at is the room. Is it tidy, spacious, tastefully decorated and arranged? Is the artwork pleasing? How’s the view? What about the lighting? Is this someplace I can relax for the next few days?
We do this, of course, because we’re spending money. We certainly want to get the most bang for the buck. But what about the spaces we call home?
Your home (whether you rent or own) is a sacred place. It’s where you eat, sleep, rest, bathe, relax. It’s private. It’s your retreat. It’s calming and familiar. It’s also very easy to begin throwing your money away on what can slowly transform into a kind of miserable prison.
If we’re not careful, all the things that attracted us to that apartment overlooking the park, or that 3-bedroom tucked safely away at the back of that culdesac, can become overrun with untidiness and neglect. Worse yet, it can become downright filthy.
How much is your mortgage? What are you paying in rent? If these are fees you cannot escape (even if where you live costs nothing!), then why wouldn’t you do everything you can to claim it for yourself and maintain it to the best possible standards? Wouldn’t that make you happy?
Humans are weird. We’re constantly peering over the horizon, even after we’ve found what we want. How many people have you met living in places across the country and around the world who say things like, “One of these days I’m going to get out of here and never come back.” And all the while YOU are thinking, “Hell, I’d LOVE to live here!!!”
Well, you DO live there. You just forgot.
If you’re anything like me, you stay home. It’s safe. Especially nowadays. With the treatments I get to keep my progressive MS in check, I’m lucky to have any immune system at all! When I do go out, I have to take extra precautions, which includes wearing a mask. This won’t ever change for me, even If covid is permanently eradicated.
Consequently, my home IS my castle. Almost quite literally. I share it with my wife and a dog, and it really is a special little space. Even if it’s just an apartment. It’s a beautiful apartment, with hardwood floors that allow my wheelchair to glide, a washer and dryer in one of its two bathrooms so no one needs to lug laundry up and down stairs, and it’s very well insulated. There’s more, like a nice sturdy counter in the kitchen area that I can roll right up to, a deep tub to soak my legs, and a cozy balcony overlooking the wooded splendor of the Ice Age Trail.
To many, our little apartment would be idyllic, and that’s exactly what we thought when we signed the lease all those years ago.
Recently, however, we’ve begun hunting for a home, which has made me take a good look around…
When did this place become such a mess?
It’s not dirty. Not too messy. George Floorman (our roomba) keeps the floors crumb-free, but they could use a good mopping. The glass doors to the balcony are smudged. The fridge is overcrowded. My shower curtain is on its last leg. There’s a plastic pail beside the stackable washer/dryer filled with exhumed balls of lint.
None of this makes our home dirty, at least not by most people’s standards. But it’s certainly not bright and shiny. Not like it looked on the website brochure. Not the way it was when we moved in.
Why? When? How?
That’s when it hit me…
I don’t need a vacation, new furniture, fresh artwork to hang on the walls… I need to clean this damn place, and clean it good! And then I need to take care of it.
This is the place where bloggers usually provide an organizational list of what to do, when to do it, and how to keep track of it all. But you’re not 12. (At least I hope you’re not that young, disabled, and staying home alone all day long.) You don’t need me to do that. In fact, I think I’ve made my point.
For us, the disabled and chronically ill, home is much more than a place to eat, sleep and bathe. It’s our own, privately maintained little world. And I for one want my world to be a happy place.