I want a house. I want a piece of land, ideally arable, ideally in (or at least very close to) the neighbourhood I live in now, with a (single-story) house on it that I can own, that I can’t be rent-hiked out of, that will keep my girl and me safely sheltered until we can’t live there anymore, maybe even right up until we die. Somewhere I can grow food. Somewhere I can put down roots without fearing that I’ll have to pull them up again.
And I wonder if I’m not seeing this mythical house – you know, the one where everything is (easy to) tidy and every thing has a place to go home to, where there are no roaches and no bedbugs and no clusters of plastic grocery bags either, where the carpet gets shampooed every February (for real) – if it’s not some kind of a pancea. (Pancea: The persistent idea that, if you can just get (or get rid of) X, you will have No Problems Ever).
The reality is that houses are expensive. They need new roofs or furnaces or windows. They tend to be bigger than the average apartment, and so they cost more to heat. I can pine all I want for the opportunity to cover my hypothetical roof with solar panels (~$40,000… I think…) or to install a rocket-combustion-heater banquet in the living room, or a geothermal heating system ($35,000) but, in the meantime, I’d still have to pay for heat and light and electricity.
The reality is that we live in a working studio – leather work, sewing, fibre arts, mechanical repairs, jewelry production, the making of candles, salves, balms and bath teas… the list goes on – and keeping things pristine is… unlikely at best.
The reality is that I’m lazy and tired and don’t particularly relish things like cleaning or tidying anywhere near as much as I love cooking or other forms of creating (creation is messy, that’s how it goes), and my lovely wife/servant is the same, for all that she gets to be her fullest self by smoothing my way through service.
The reality, then, is that if someone (or Someone) just handed me a house… it wouldn’t be the perfect place I picture in my daydreams, any more than a relationship is ever as “perfect” (no problems, not ever) as one’s fantasies.
So I ask myself (again): How do I bring the home I have closer to the home I’m dreaming of? What magic can I work, what work (and Work?) can I do to make that a reality?
Yes, this is totally another Hearth post, less about magic (or even Big-R Religion) and more about the work of tending the home fires – keeping your house wights (laeres and penates, hobs, house-elves, domovoi, home-gods… everybody’s got somebody, right?) taken care of and, ideally, keeping your ancestors from doing a collective *headdesk* at the sight of your domicile – from a practical, manageable perspective.
Calamity Jane talks about surrendering to the task at hand as, basically, a survival strategy for getting through the onslaught of overwhelming days (by-which I mean years) when your kids are young, plural, and at home all day. You’d think that, as someone who (a) doesn’t have children, and (b) does have a Service Submissive collared to her, that I wouldn’t keep finding myself glaring at the mess that is my home, loathing the thought of being the one to do the cleaning but also knowing that I’m probably the best person for the job as things stand right now given that (outside of this specific, two-week period, at least) I’m typically the one with numerous at-home hours available to spend on stuff like this without having it eat too drastically into time that I need to spend doing things like working on the novel, hustling for modeling (or other) gigs, and generally getting my own work done.
So… Surrender. Do it with good grace. I actually do know that I’ll feel better after I’ve done some dishes, tidied the flat surfaces, generally Put Things Away… rather than if I just try to ignore it (in which case I’ll wind up feeling resentful), and that helps a little as a way to get me up and off the couch. Twenty minutes of dishes and another twenty minutes of Putting Things Away goes a surprisingly long way when you’ve actually got forty minutes to spare in your day. And if I’m going to make a point of doing that, then why not put on a witchy/sacred-hearth playlist and light a little “purification” (rosemary or cedar will both work for this) incense while I’m at it?
Who knows. It might even work. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 It would take me thirty years to save that up, if I had the spare $200/month to put into savings with that in mind, or five years if I have $1300/month of discretionary income to throw around… which I could do if I happened to find a 20-hrs/week job that paid me $32/hr. I could do it. I could actually do it. If I found that work… and was able to keep it for that long or, ideally, longer. That would be great. 🙂
 I know. Part of it is that I don’t like cleaning anyway. The other part of it is that, dammit, I’m not supposed to be servant around here. The dishes and the vacuuming and tub-scrubbing and the coffee-making are NOT supposed to be my prevue, so why am I the one stuck doing them all the time?? I know. The world’s tiniest violin is playing just for me. Cope.
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