The bedroom rearrangement is proceeding at a decent speed, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge something that I’ve realized while preparing the bedrooms to have furniture & possessions moved around. I think I’d blocked this out of my consciousness as long as the bedrooms were in the old configuration, because doing something about it would have been extremely stressful (and potentially impossible in the old configuration). What that thing is…it’s dealing with Lora’s messiness.
Lora, in the privacy of her own space, is…pretty grossly messy. Actually, she’s an unusual juxtaposition of extremely neat and extremely messy. She is absolutely fastidious about beds being made and has extremely strong feelings about any crumbs/bits of anything being in the bed. She vacuums the path between the bathroom and the bed on a daily basis. I love that. We have the kitty litter boxes set up in a row the bathroom, and her constant vigilance about loose kitty litter benefits all of us greatly.
But step off of that path between the bathroom and the bed and you’re taking your life into your hands. In cleaning out the communal bedroom, I found (for starters) a completely full full-sized garbage bag. Full of wrappers, tissues, paper towels, boxes and bags from things she bought (like the cardboard that hair clips come wrapped around or the shrink plastic case that phone accessories come in). As I’ve been cleaning up further, I’ve already got another trash bag half-full and I’m only about a third of the way through the room. That doesn’t count the small grocery bag overflowing with empty plastic & glass bottles that I’ve found as I pick things up. Nor does it take into account the heap of dirty dishes, bowls, cups, mugs and silverware that I’ve been unearthing.
I’m not a neat-freak, but I am fairly tidy. The way I usually like to keep my home is that there may be some clutter and not everything is perfectly neat at all times, but there are a lot of empty surfaces and it’s regularly swept, mopped, and dusted. I try to keep up with the dishes and the recycling although there’s frequently more than I’d like (though not so much that it looks gross). Beyond that, the amount of clutter is usually decided by how busy I am (or sick I’ve been).
I am grateful that Lora keeps the extreme messiness mostly to the bedroom. The only other room that I get stressed about is the kitchen, as her idea of putting away the groceries is usually to take them out of the bags and then spread them out on the counters, instead of putting things away in the pantry closet (which is actually there FOR the groceries. since the counter tops are supposed to be there to cook on – at least, that’s the way I use them). We’ve compromised on that, as she now keeps a row of items that she uses regularly out on the counter (pushed against the back splash), so we can use most of the counter space for cooking.
When it comes to the private bedroom messiness, Lora did apologize when she came home from the doctor and saw me in the communal bedroom with a swiftly-filling garbage bag and took a good look at all the garbage littering the room. Later, Jon told me that while she is oblivious to the messiness unless it’s pointed out to her, she is chagrined whenever she does have it pointed out to her. She just doesn’t “see” it unless someone else says something to her. For his part, as Jon does spend a fair amount of time in the bedroom with her, he plans on saying something to her more often about the level of mess. He’s not happy with it either, though it doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers me.
Cleaning up the bedroom has made me realize that the mess itself is another reason why I didn’t feel comfortable in the communal bedroom. I’m never going to feel at ease in a room that has so many wrappers and other detritus littering the floor. Even though I’m starting to realize that I’m never going to be 100% at ease with the bedrooms in this apartment, I’m seeing more and more that it is really good for all of us that the spare bedroom becomes Lora’s bedroom. I think that will mean that the communal bedroom will be much easier for me to relax and feel at home in, and Lora will still have a room where she can have all the privacy and alone time she needs, including the privacy to be messy.