The Mudroom

How is cleaning the mudroom like writing a thesis?

Recently an urban friend of mine on Facebook confessed that he had to Google the word “mudroom” in order to follow the meaning behind a silly thread in which I had mentioned my mudroom.

I suppose I’ve been taking my mudroom for granted.  Doesn’t everyone have one?  The timing of this awakening was perfect.  Columbus Day weekend marks mudroom turn-over at my house. I no longer assume that readers will know what this means.

Mudroom turn-over becomes necessary when the contents building in the narrow entry of the house, one that has been piling up all summer, begins to close in on itself from the sheer magnitude of its existence. One knows mudroom turn-over is pending when the colors of the pile no longer coordinate with the colors outdoors.  Verdant beach towels and aqua sunscreen bottles clash with the rusty leaves and stone gray skies mirrored by the window.  The flip-flops on the top of the pile cannot be worn with socks and the picnic basket for meals at the pond has to be set aside so I can rummage through the basket of daffodil and garlic bulbs beneath.

Yesterday, I spent four hours combing through the heaps, vacuuming dead mice that had dried to skeletons, and filtering out now useless articles: bikini tops and beach visors, apres sun care and snap pea seeds.

This morning, I relished the shine of the washed pine floor while the rug dried on the porch.  But, only for a minute.  It’s thesis revision time.  Like the seasonal wreckage I’d sorted the day before, I now faced my messy draft with the same heavy heart that mourns summer end.  This mess, too, had begun in June: a blank slate and the excitement of all that would fill the space in support of the adventure.

For four more hours, I culled and removed and trashed and stored and kept only the barest of necessities, the most useful matter.

Does it shine?  Dare I stand back and relish?

Perhaps it’s still a bit premature, but somehow the white space between sections, like the empty hooks hooks waiting for winter coats to stack and stifle, are breathing a little better, and so am I.

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