I suck at housekeeping. I’m not even really that clean. I am perfectly content to have clutter and even little dustbunnies running around. Every once in awhile, usually late at night or while procrastinating on some important project, I will get a cleaning urge and just clean the heck out of everything (or at least one specific area). And I do try to keep the grossness out of things, in general — I do maintain the kitchen and bathroom reasonably well.

But it’s just not a priority to me. I like to say that I have other, more important priorities (Elinor! making food! reading! showering! brushing my teeth! watching the second season of _Glee_!), but more often than not, I’m just lazy. I know this about myself.

Chad knew it, to an extent, before we married, but now he knows just how far that extends. I would say that it is one of the largest stresses on our marriage, to be honest (though most days it’s not a huge thing — he does love me, despite my failings). But it is a stress, because Chad is affected by his environment greatly. Things need to be ordered, and in their place, and pleasant for him to function at the level he prefers.

I respect this. But I suck at keeping the house there, and though I am a bit neater and prioritize cleaning because I live with and love him, I have a continual sense of needing to do more. Chad is actually pretty understanding about most of it, and most of my guilt is self-inflicted, but it is there.

Anyway, once in awhile Chad pleads with me to make one specific area of the house a nice one, replete with organization and pleasant light. We have this nice, unheated sunroom on the western side of our house. Chad has made half of it his work-out area. A NordicTrack sits there, along with weights and yoga mat. Plants separate his half from my half, which is a staging area (so many parts of my house bear this name …). Elinor’s carseat lives there when she’s not inhabiting it, and so do random clothesline things, bookshelves that need to be incorporated into our house and MDPL’s space, cat toys, the diaper bag, bags from the Tattered Cover, and, recently, bags from my mother’s basement that contain that last remnants of my childhood.

Oh, and reigning over all of that is the meoda-setla.

Let me write a eulogy for the meoda-setla.

The meoda-setla was a gift from Christine Breiner to me, the last week of my first year of college. I had just discovered that I was going to be an RA in Gund, the weird but desperately proud non-smoking dorm, and Christine, a cross-country-running senior, had been the RA in the room I would have there prior to me. The room was essentially a double single — a huge room, big enough for two, perhaps the largest single on campus, though it was in Gund. (And I am not knocking Gund — I loved Gund desperately. But it was never the happening place, you know?)

Anyway, the meoda-setla is an armchair chaise longue. It’s a cute, overstuffed armchair whose seat extends three feet out so that you can rest your legs on it. Even when I received it from Christine, it had seen better days. Its upholstery was a drab grey, after having originally been white or cream with embroidered flowers on it. I was taking History of the English Language with Professor Klein at the time, and we were reading things on Old English. A meoda-setla is a mead bench in Beowulf’s time, and the sweetness of that idea, paired with the extreme functionality, led to my christening of that chair.

I put it in the western facing corner of my sweet-ass double single, the largest single on campus, under the window. At one point Monica and I had a contraband kitten living on it for a little while. I spent hundreds of hours on that thing that year, and I stored it in the basement of another house the next year while I was in England, then retrieved it when I moved into a Woodland apartment with Monica, Celia, and Maggie. It sat in the corner, again, and I have vivid memories of reading _The Golden Compass_ and literary theory on it in the afternoons, as well as SOBBING on it right after watching _Donnie Darko_ for the very first time.

After graduation, I couldn’t bear to part with it. Mark was kind enough to help me pack his truck around the thing, which barely fit in the bed of that full-sized truck. It went with me to my parent’s house. Then to my apartment in Golden, then to the house in Arvada, then back to my parent’s basement while I moved to Nashville for grad school, and then back up the rickety stairs into the apartment Emily and I shared. It moved to 560 Delaware, the first place I bought, and that’s where Chad began to plot revenge upon the meoda-setla.

Honestly, it was the cat’s fault. Since the meoda-setla had, as I said before, seen much better days, the felt-y stuff that was stapled under the base, hiding the creaky springs, had come apart in some places. Iza managed to worm her way up onto the felt, and then that was all over. Iza always loved that chair, anyway, but when we got Alex, the meoda-setla became the cat chair du jour, every jour, and though I slept in it for eight hours straight the day I got the swine flu, I couldn’t spend that much time in it anymore, once I discovered that I had asthma and that it was cat-induced.

So the meoda-setla became just the cat chair, and it is large, and 560 Delaware was small, and Chad begged me to get rid of it. We have had numerous loud discussions about the meoda-setla, and that’s pretty much as bad as it gets in our house. But I clung to the history of the thing, always saying that it just needed to be reupholstered, and that someday I would get to it. It really is a unique chair. I once went online to find something like it, and I don’t know if anything like it exists. So I should reupholster it ….

Yeah, right.

When we moved here the meoda-setla went to the sunroom, off the beaten path. The cats still love it, to the point that we just cover it with a blanket so that I can occasionally wash the blanket and save our house from cat hair and dirt and Iza’s dingleberries while still allowing the cats to sleep on it. But Chad still hates it, and it still takes up a lot of room, and I never sit in it because of the cats and because, despite my being OK with a little dirt, even I am offended by its complete shabbiness.

But I still refused to get rid of it for a long time, due to that history I mentioned, until after Elinor was born. Then something clicked in me, and I realized that it is just a chair, and dingy one at that. I will probably never have the time or the money to reupholster it, and I do love my husband. I acknowledge my failings as a housekeeper; perhaps I could concede the point and give up this one item as a sacrifice for his happiness. It’s obviously taken me a long time to accept this idea, but accept it I have.

I tried to Freecycle it. Freecycle is a service where you post free stuff for people to pick up if they can use it (often very random shit — from coupons for formula to old keyboards to old beds — I got my clothesline from Freecycle). I thought for sure someone would want it. To wit, my ad:

“An old, slightly ratty but lovely chaise longue armchair (an armchair with a seat long enough for your legs). The most comfortable seat in the world, but well loved by us and our cats — if I had the money and room in the house, I would reupholster it, but for now it is just covered by a long blanket. You will need a pickup truck or long bed to pick it up.”

No one wanted it.

So today I called our trash service. For $15, they will take it away. I made an appointment for next Tuesday.

I am having second thoughts. But it is just a chair. I wish I weren’t so attached to the chair, and the memories, and some vague idea of the part of me that the chair might represent.

I am still wondering about reupholstering. Perhaps I could save up.

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