The way stuff piles up. The mail and the papers and notes to myself and lists and books. Until a bonfire seems to be the only way to rid ourselves of all the paper.
The way things get dirty, and you get used to seeing them grubby, and don't even realize how much something needs scrubbed, like the pantry door, or the white walls, or the kitchen cupboards.
Dishes and dishes and dishes and dishes. Always more dishes.
The way stubborn little messes won't go away, like the little pile of dark green Play-doh that hardened on the hardwood floor in a hard-to-get-to corner of the dining area, and I try and try to remove it. For. Years. And neither soaking nor a paring knife nor a scrubbing vac can make it go away. Accept it as part of the landscape.
The way dust falls and falls and falls, always more dust. The way the TV and the DVR and every electronic box in our house attracts dust, loving the dust, drawing the dust to themselves. The thin, pale veneer of dust that is hard to see until a certain slant of light picks it up, highlighting it, shaming me with its ever presence.
The dirtiness of our shoes, the tramp, tramp, tramp of dirt and mown grass and little sticks and God knows what from the outside to our inside; the roar of the vacuum sucking it up, one more time; the stain where the Coke fell, and the scrubbing to obliterate said stain; the slow acceptance that part of the Coke is going to be with us, forever.
The cat: its long, white hair, everywhere. His food messes, the way he barfs when he eats too fast. On the carpet. Twice. The litter box. His bad aim. The dead mouse on the sidewalk.
Last night, a quick cleaning: Papers, throw out, sorted. (Or, hidden.) Surfaces scrubbed. Play-doh, ignored. Electronics, dusted, a wing and a prayer. Vacuum roaring. Litter cleaned. Counters swiped. Dishes done.
Just of couple of hours. Just a little tired. And just enough improvement to make me feel just a little better about the state of the homeland.