Oh, this blasted rain. It's been coming down for two days now, in fits and starts, dustings and drenchings. Everything is gray, wet and sloshy. People scurry with covered heads and umbrellas; you can see February fatigue in their hunched shoulders and set brow. I found tonight's lightning an infinitely welcome event because its searing light beat a path across the grim, monotonous skyscape. Finally; something to illumine that dense shroud.
I do not yet know this house in rain. It's funny really, how I still feel somewhat like a visitor. I forgot about that element of moving: the lack of familiarity one has in a new place. As if you've gone on vacation but with everything you own.
Since Friday, I've spent a great deal of time cleaning. In the scrubbing and polishing of space inhabited just two weeks ago by strangers, I've gleaned some sense of how they might have lived here. These cabinet fronts are the most worn; surely they were those used most frequently. This drawer still has the maker's stamp clearly etched inside; was it ever even used? Where is the dust most concentrated? Where has it started to adhere? What areas appear to have been most treasured?
These little clues of others' lives are inconsequential really, but as I work to make this house ours, I notice and find them interesting.
In a way it makes me sad that we're covering our tracks, so to speak, at our old house right now. The kids and I went by on Tuesday to check the samples of floor stain options the refinishing crew had left for us. Already, the home looked less like ours than it had just six days prior. No more worn carpet leading upstairs to our cozy rooms, no more uneven hue showing where we walked and played and ran most often.
Next week the painters will head in, to spackle away the holes and dings we left behind, evidence of the countless pictures hung via tape and nail, of the wear and tear rambunctious little boys leave in their wake, of who knows what that would give others small hints at how we might have lived.
Nine years sanded and stained and painted over. How dearly and tightly we hold on to things, until one day, we don't, and the debris of lives lived ends up on greasy paper towels and bundles of ripped out old shoe molding waiting for the garbagemen to carry it all away.
I was so snappy tonight. Tired and peevish and achy and short. I didn't like my attitude, but the traffic and errands and boxes and questions, homework and whining and why the hell won't the water just boil already?! I cursed the rain as I listened to the unfamiliar song it played on our house, and just when I thought I'd burst, Tom got home and finished bedtime (kind of), and I cooked the clams and made a salad.
The rain slowed and sated from a good meal, I considered that even though I tire of mud and slosh, browngrayugliness and February, rain is cleansing and perhaps this storm is the final bit of our goodbye and hello limbo week.
Perhaps instead of erasing our happy years in our old home, we're wiping its slate clean for the family who lives there next, offering them a blank canvas on which to paint their own experience. I think that's what I'm doing here, too.