Our basketball season concluded Thursday night so I have a little room to breathe. I sometimes get overwhelmed and neglect being a good housekeeper. Some things have not changed in my life as this entry from October 27, 2005 illustrates.
Any Neil Young fans out there? The rocker is still at it, in his fifth decade of writing and performing music. In 1972, Young offended a number of people with a song he composed called A Man Needs A Maid from his Harvest album. Allegedly describing his love affair with an actress, he struck some nerves with the following lines:
"I was thinking maybe I'd get a maid.
Find a place nearby for her to stay.
Just someone to clean my house, fix my meals, and go away."
Neil's apologists insist he meant no disrespect to the fairer gender. Many of his defenders are women so that's good enough for me. I wasn't offended so my opinion counts little. It wasn't my favorite song on the album, anyway.
Why the Neil Young reference? It has to do with my living quarters. My dad says I am a minimalist- I get by without alot of stuff. There was a time when I only had one fork; I either lost it or threw it away. Have you tried to eat salad with a spoon? Some people from school intervened with a set of Wal-Mart cutlery, greatly expanding my dining capability. My good friends, Sandy and Thom Besso, decided my life would be better with some China so they gave me a very nice table setting for eight: plates, cups, bowls, platters, etc. (Sandy did make the provision that I had to cook dinner for some lovely lady but she put no timetable on the agreement.) When I moved to Houston, it took two years to get my pictures and plaques out of the boxes and on the wall. My furniture consists of one bed, one couch, one desk, one table, several chairs, and a television. Sounds like it should be easy to keep the place spotless. Obviously, you don't know me very well.
My brother Dave was here over the weekend. Dave comes to Houston each October to put on a tennis clinic for our kids at Westbury Christian. I started straightening up weeks ago. I detest housekeeping. I'm not dirty- I'm messy and there is a difference. I hate to dust and vacuum but I don't let my apartment get filthy. I can live with an acceptable level of chaos. As always , it took hours to scrub the joint. Finally, right before I left to pick Dave up at Hobby Airport, I finished. The toilet and bathtubs were sanitized, the dishes were washed and put away, the dust had been removed from the ceiling fan, the bed had been made with new sheets, and the air was filled with the scintillating combination fragrance of Febreze and Carpet Fresh. I was so proud- I should have been in Better Homes and Gardens. That was Friday. Dave left Sunday morning and today is Thursday. I was going to do better this time. It occurred to me that I enjoy a spotless apartment. I made myself a promise that I would keep the place neat after he went home and I did.... for a day. Then, the inevitable happened. A T-shirt was left on the floor. The cap was left off the shaving cream and toothpaste was not wiped up from the sink. One bowl on the coffee table became three. Coffee cups litter the living room. The dishes are piling up in the kitchen. Before I know it, I'm right back where I started- 11222 Braesridge Apartments, # 3329 in total disarray.
I had good intentions and I started off strong. It's like the rest of my life. I want to make changes and I do great- for awhile. Then, just like my apartment, the messiness returns. I get discouraged and I tend to concede defeat. Consistency of effort is so hard to maintain in some areas. I am religious in staying on my weight lifting schedule but not in keeping up with my checkbook balance. I never miss worship service but my prayer life is erratic. I'm never late about turning in lesson plans but my goal to be semi-fluent in Spanish by next summer has fallen by the wayside. I'm like that Neil Young song. I need someone to keep order in my existence. I do have someone. His name is Jesus. He does what I can't. He picks me up when I fall on my face. He loves me in spite of my flaws and unkempt house. He tells me to always pray and not give up. He understands me. He know my life follows the same ebb and flow of my apartment's cleanliness. He straightens up the shambles of my heart and lets me feel I am presentable again. Some men may need a maid but all men need a Savior. By the grace of God, I have one. Does that mean I will reform my ways and keep my bachelor pad in a perpetual state of perfection? Not quite- but at least I can live with myself. Jesus told his apostles he was going to prepare a home for them. I am looking forward to those new accommodations-I'll be able to throw my vacuum cleaner away! It's just a matter of time.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I just wrote one song at a time. Kinda like an alcoholic. One day at a time."
Copy and paste the link below to hear Neil Young sing A Man Needs A Maid:
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org