Friday, April 15, 2011

Tom Boy vs. Cottage Clean

I’ve written in past posts of our home we live in that I named Gerta (see here ).  The name seemed to fit her- she’s a former hunter outfitter/cowboy wrangler’s house with good bones and plenty of space.

I now realize ‘she’ and I have been locked in a subtle battle for many months, and we’ve had strong differing opinions in regards to her personality.

Built in the 1970’s, Gerta is dressed out in dark brown wood paneling and trim, a bedroom with orange shag carpeting, beige carpeting in the great room, beige linoleum in the kitchen and bath, etc.  In my perfect world, she would have had light, bright colors with that popular airy style that people envy today.

I quickly accepted the fact that Gerta would never be a dreamy refuge without an exhausting amount of work and funds, so I focused on my second goal- a ranch house that was tidy, clean and spiffy.

That’s where the battle began.  Silly me- I imagined our new home would like and appreciate a fresh-scrubbed look.   

I was wrong.

Over the months Gerta has shown me that she loves the Tom Boy look- dirt smudges, crumbs and all.  It’s ‘ranch dirty’ for her; and the harder I try to clean her up, the more she sabotages my work.

Take the time I finally got the basement cleaned up from moving- got all trash removed, washed and waxes the floors, etc.  She decided to let the basement flood with water backing up from the drain pipe.
Dan and I frantically cleaned up the mess, washed (and waxed!) the floors again, and she literally spit in our faces again with more basement flooding- this time with water and septic residue.  More frantic cleaning ensued with carpets now being removed and floor scrubbing.  (Notice the waxing has now disappeared- one small victory for her.)

After more trials and errors, and stress and strain, it was determined that the septic system was dead.  Gerta was a sick puppy.   

But she had dragged things on until the dead of winter, and the blind digging of leach beds in the back yard (after removing mounds of snow) left a mud/dirt wasteland ready to be tracked in for months. 

Score one for Gerta.

Then there was the leaking from the ceiling in the basement (drywall removal and mess), 

and the copious amounts of dust she cheerfully blows forth from the heater vents, 

and the carpet/linoleum stains that will never go away…… I finally came to a realization.

Gerta likes dirt.  She’s happiest when the dog sheds hair, when there’s muddy shoe prints on the floor, when the furniture looks grey with dusts only two days after dusting.   

She spent most of her life with men tromping around in mud-caked shoes and week-old clothes drinking beer and talking about the deer/elk they shot.  Men whose idea of cleaning was to drag a mop over the kitchen floor once a year whether it needed it or not.

I was taking a Tom Boy and trying to make her wear a frilly dress.

The battle’s not over yet.  I now understand where she’s coming from, but it can’t be one-sided.  She has to give some, too.  And ‘giving’ does not mean more dirt.


1 comment:

  1. Creative! Maybe there's a compromise on the horizon... convince your 'Tom Boy" to wear a pair of stylish jeans and cute heels with a few accessories thrown on for good measure... instead of a frilly dress! The art of the compromise- haha! Karen