Mali just wrote about her contradictory tendencies (frugal vs extravagant, messy vs neat). While I don't have as many options in the first category--I get extravagant only rarely, and I'm sitting here in an ancient pair of yoga pants (pre-Daisy) and a sweater that is shamefully still in existence (but it's my favorite..and it's warm...and it's green and cable-knit in Ireland...but it's been repaired badly, twice...and it's ratty...and I'm still wearing it).
But that other one, messy vs neat, that one I share. My house is regularly complete chaos. No, that is wrong. It is ordered chaos. There are pictures on the walls and sheets on the bed. It is not a fraternity house. But it is cluttered. My filing system involves, mostly, which floor the item belongs on. That's about as good as it gets. I am not helped by the fact that the house is 107 years old and was abused for its entire youth. The floors are painted and flaking (not lead, thank God). The coal dust, or oil dust, or whatever they burned in the old furnace, is infused in the attic floor and all the plaster walls. The doors have been refinished but the door frames are beat up by a century of children's and boarders' careless feet. A former owner's nephew was a Hitler fancier and I still find a swastika here and there in the strangest places.
I can't blame everything on the house, though. I have extensive book shelves and I periodically organize them. But they always look like something you'd find in a scruffy old professor's office. Kids' toys are adrift, tiny legos, why are there so many kinds, find themselves into corners and cold air returns and under every piece of furniture.
But when I had a classroom? Everything had a place and it was in it. I don't know how it happened, even. It didn't matter if it was a first grade room or middle school art and math. Everything was away. Everything was logical. Everything was perfect, each afternoon before I locked up. Always.
While the filing system in my house involves steps more than cabinets, the files on my computer are easy to locate, every last one of them. I know exactly where my resume is. I know how to find a letter I wrote to my maid of honor in June of 1999. I know all my passwords to all the sites that require them. My bedtable is a melange of lotion bottles, books I finished reading 6 months ago, phone chargers, a thermometer, small heart shaped rocks, and jewelry I forget to take off until I'm prone. But my computer home screen looks like we don't even use the thing.
And trust me that's not because Jake works with computers and he's the neatnik in the household. Just trust me on that. When we got married in the Catholic Church 16 years ago we had to take a fill-in-the-bubble test to measure our compatibility (and for some priests, notably NOT my pastor, it was used to see incorrectly into the future). I don't remember a section on tidiness, but if there had been, Jerry Keaty would have sent us home with brochures for the monastic life. Not that we would have been good fits there either. How do they keep everything so clean?
I once heard a factoid that probably isn't true but I'm going to cling to it, that homes with people with higher IQs created more dust. I imagine the little brownies and pixies getting fed up with the arguments over semantics and the bizarre puns and just throwing down their polishing rags to find a nice steady job somewhere down the way. Regardless of the truth of that fact, I am convinced there are too many barriers to success here at Chez Kennedy.
So come visit me when I have a classroom next. But call before you come by the house.