• Last modified 678 days ago (June 16, 2022)


Another Day in the Country

Clearing the deck

© Another Day in the Country

The house I live in, which we designed and built for our mother, has huge, spacious decks in every sense of the word. A deck encompasses not only outside porches but kitchen and bathroom counters as well.

The kitchen deck is wide and long, comfortably accommodating an area with stools for impromptu meals — not that anyone does that at what is now my home.

“Those stools are uncomfortable,” my sister complains.

She thinks plain, cheap, wooden stools aren’t “stable,” so we always eat at a table when it’s just the two of us.

Guests sometimes sit at the “bar” and chat while I cook. I like the company, preferring that to someone trying to help. (I’m a pretty fast cook, so stay out of my way and we will have a meal in no time!)

My mother enjoyed the spacious counters in the house. As was her custom, she kept them clear of everything but a toaster, a “whizzer,” and a set of vintage canisters.

Now that I am Lord of the Manor, the decks are clear only when I’m not in residence. While I’m home, the decks constantly are cluttered. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

I use the spacious kitchen counter not just for orchestrating meals. That deck also is the repository of anything creative — from paintings to repotting plants.

The deck where I set things that are transitioning and projects I’m procrastinating about while contemplating new ideas.

Traveling from one spot to another in the house, things land on the deck. Jess returns a container she took home with leftovers and puts it on the deck. Someone brings in packages from the front porch or the mailbox. They land on the deck. If you are my guest, trying to help clear the table, you put dishes on the deck. You get the picture?

I feel guilty about the deck in the kitchen because it’s never clear, static, and cleaned off, as when Mom was in residence. Oh, well. That’s life — my life.

When I first came back to live in the Ramona house, I had to adjust to absolutely no counter in the bathroom. I don’t know how we survived,

Now, I have a spacious bathroom deck, too, and it’s filled with life’s necessities at my finger tips.

No matter how many articles I read or pieces of organizing equipment I buy, that long, spacious counter is what even I call cluttered.

I like it that way, even though it’s slightly embarrassing. I know where everything is: hair brush, tooth brush, pastes, potions, and pills right there in plain sight.

When it’s time for me to travel to California (or anywhere, for that matter), I clear the decks.

It’s like an older generation worried about getting in an accident and not having on clean underwear. I don’t like the thought of someone coming into my house and thinking, “What a mess. She didn’t even clear the deck before she left!”

As if that really matters!

But I do it, just as I do when guests are coming. It’s a sign of courtesy, I tell myself. It’s clearing a spot for something new and magical to happen.

I think we should clear the decks more often, not get too comfortable in our familiar clutter. Just stop, clear the deck, take a deep breath, rearrange your life a little, and see what transpires on another day in the country.

Last modified June 16, 2022