Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride: revised.

Questions for you guys ‘n’ gals.

Are the tops of your baseboards free of dust and dirt?

Look around the bolts and behind the toilet. Spotless?

How about the knobs on your stoves? The fronts of your kitchen cupboards? The places inside and outside cupboards and drawers where hands grab. Are they free of stickiness and fingerprints?

How about inside and outside the microwave and its handle? Near brand new?

It’s all these and oh so much more that had me laboring away for a some solid seven hours yesterday — a day after I moved in.

I’m not a neat freak, though I’ve been called otherwise. Freak has a connotation of “unnatural.” Nothing about my extreme cleanliness and orderliness is perverse. It’s normal. For me.

My roommate’s not the cleanest person in the world, neither the messiest. Her housekeeping is average, her attention to details lacking.

Consequently, she can walk into a room and not notice the details that jump out and scream for a sponge, a scrubbie, some serious elbow grease.

The long list of projects large and minute that I took care of yesterday would bore anyone but another so-called clean freak. So suffice it to say that I removed accumulated gunk, groddiness and grossness from places unseen and/or untouched by human hand for years.

It’s what I do and who I am. I’ll clean before I unpack because I must. Diving into the deep corners, recesses and places is how I get to know a residence. The process grounds me in a space; it’s little different from getting to know another’s body.

There are consequences to these great gifts of cleanliness, meticulousness, attention to detail and orderliness.


As I was on my hands and knees squeezing between furnishings to reach behind potted plant stands to wipe gunk of baseboards and vacuum into corners, I flashed back to my life some three years ago in Tacoma, when I last had a fulltime job.

I was a cleaning person at historical high-end properties (where the standards were exacting and strong attention to detail non-negotiable).

I cleaned, and clean, others’ homes to glistening perfection. You’d have to look hard for a flaw. I cleaned their homes with the same heart, care, passion, mindfulness and attention to detail as if it were my own.

The tragedy is: It never is. The irony is: My own living space is usually substandard, lacking or miserable. I’m certain that in a former lifetime I was an Asian maid who scrubbed the homes of the wealthy to glistening perfection and then returned to a little shanty in the dark part of town across the tracks.

I’ve never had a home — and by that I do not mean “own a structure.” Home as in a place of true comfort, rest, retreat, space. Inviolate sacred space. Not as a child and not as an adult. The closest I’ve come to home is my Subaru.

At that job, in that immense yearning and need for a home, I contemplated much as I worked by myself and aspired then and there to move my life in the direction of a home, someday.

Things haven’t gone that way.  Yesterday, as I cleaned my roommate’s home, I had a flashback to those powerful and aching and, yes, depressing times back in Tacoma. Things are no different now. In fact, in many ways they’re worse. I’m even farther from a home than I was then.

Always the bridesmaid never the bride … always the maid never the homebody.

Does the examined inauthentic life have value? This I contemplated in my despair and growing realization and acceptance that I may well die before ever experiencing home.

The place, in case you’re curious, sparkled after application of my attentive hardworking hands and heart. My roommate, when she returned from her day’s outing, muttered “thanks” when I exclaimed “surprise!” and went about her business with her beau.

I went back down to the basement quarters and had my supper.

Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride: revised. Ever the maid, never the home maiden.

I shouldn’t yet I do so despair for my future and end of my life, so much closer than the beginning.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lexiemom
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 23:38:49

    Aw, that makes me sad. Although, in honesty, it is a little unexpected. You strike me as the free spirit type. Never one to be tied down to a particular place, always and ever eager to journey onward & upward. But then, home really IS where the heart is. It’s not the place. It’s the love. Here’s hoping that you will soon find that place where you belong. That place where you feel safe and warm and loved.


    • allycatadventures
      Oct 20, 2011 @ 13:11:47

      @lexiemom – I’m not surprised. Not a bit. I’ve been around the block more times than you could shake a stick at and know how people can be/are. Consequently, I wouldn’t mind residing on my own island. People suck!!!*
      *with occasional exceptions 🙂
      Home? Shit, who can think of home when struggling just to stay off the streets?! Home in Denver may forever elude. Certainly will if this pace and rate of housing upheavels continues; what is it now, approaching residence #4 in three months. Soon I’ll lose count!


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