We had the house professionally cleaned this morning. It was my gift to myself - and to the 10 students I'm having over to eat Thai food and watch "Elf" tomorrow. I had originally planned on setting up a regular time to have them clean in the new year, as I've reached the point of realizing I simply can't keep up with everything to my own satisfaction.
But then, Buddy got so scared by the couple and their vacuum that he had a seizure on the newly cleaned bedroom floor (which I then cleaned up myself); I got sick from the smell of ammonia; the cleaning couple failed to vacuum my one beautiful rug in the center of the office/guestroom; they broke a drinking glass (which I'm really not bothered by in itself, but what if this happened every time); and they didn't clean the living room furniture or vast windowsills.
Most of all, though, I'm not feeling the sense of peace and newfound clarity I'd dreamed this moment would bring. It just feels like I cleaned the place - which I do do sometimes, and just about as thoroughly as the pros.
Maybe there is no peace or clarity living in a house with hairy cats (especially if one's epileptic). Maybe there is no peace or clarity out there on the horizon. Or rather, maybe it's always out there on the horizon, but never arrives. Even when you finish a pile of grading...balance your checkbook...wash all the linens...clean out your inbox (like that's ever going to happen)...have a hard conversation...prepare a Sunday School lesson...have your house professionally cleaned.
Plus, they re-made my bed. Which I was not expecting at all.
On the other hand, they found a pair of earrings I'd been missing, and about 89 cents.
Three or four years ago I gave up worrying for the new year; the next year I gave up getting sick; I can't remember what I gave up for this year (credit cards, maybe?); in a couple of weeks, maybe I'll give up expectations at the start of 2007. Are expectations a necessary and valuable part of being human? Do expectations make our lives better or worse?
I expect no answers from you.