… on dreams of sleeping with the enemy

Okay, here’s how it’s going.

Let’s start with the fact that ‘The Disposable Shack’ is an ironic title.

It only became ‘disposable’ once we decided we were moving to Maine and this house that we built and intended to live in for, like, the rest of our lives would most likely be sold while we were, indeed, alive.

Also, it is not a shack.*


Nor is it small.



So there are many places and spaces inside The Disposable Shack that I have always aspired to have all neat and clean and… well… spiffy. You know, linen closets that have all their towels folded and organized by size and color… clothes drawers that open easily and don’t require me to stuff things back into them in order to close them back up… cabinets where, when you open them, things don’t fall out on you…


I have, in the past, aspired to Sleeping with the Enemy levels of clean… of organized… of perfection.

You know that scene in that movie, where Julia Roberts is looking in one of her cabinets in the cold and pristine bazillion-dollar beachfront house? The one where she notices that the labels of the alphabetized clam broth or something are not all facing exactly the same way, and she carefully turns one or two of them so they are all in line?


I watched that and was all… imagine.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t actually think I can achieve that. Nor do I want to put in the work to do it (or convince my family to do it via threats of violence). So I do know that living this way – me living this way – is not a reality.


I watch a lot of HGTV, and the real estate agents on those shows talk about prospective buyers of houses purchasing a lifestyle and not just a home. And I think that the people who might want to buy my house will want to believe that this house will help them to find the stuff that they are looking for – easily and organize-ed-ly – when they open a drawer or closet or pantry cabinet.

So… I’m on it!


I know. Goosebumps.

That is about a one foot square area of one of seven cabinets, each with four shelves, in the pantry. I was tired of that cabinet after I did that.

So I turned to open the tea cabinet, with its once neat rows of boxes and containers that I swear I organized last month (or summer) and a small package of Equal sugar substitute fell on me when I opened it and… oh.


It seemed to have transmogrified into a hodge-podge of barely balanced tea boxes and containers and medicine and… what’s that?



Crystal Light.

Okay so now it is a tea-slash-medicine-slash-summer beverage cabinet.

Also, on top? Best. Bandaids. Ever.

Then I opened the cabinet next to it and realized – in a clear claustrophobic panic – some of the medicines had flung themselves across the border, into the coffee cup area… where there was an additional container of Crystal Light just beneath what seems to be a can of ‘Deep Woods Off!” trying to look casual beside Marshal’s probiotics (don’t ask).


And I’m standing there, staring at all of this mayhem, and I’m thinking, this is bad. I mean, people are going to be checking out my cabinets (oh, c’mon, yes they are), looking for the stunning organization and neatness that this house will magically, osmosis-ifically infuse into their lives.

They will want to believe that their cabinets here will be perfectly organized, always.

Their floors will always be eat-off-able clean, and that there will never be one bug body – ever – on the sill between their windows and screens.

Their kids will never drop even one Lego on the floor to be painfully stomped on.

Their families will be perfect…

This is a lifestyle dammit!


Maybe they won’t worry about the cabinets, or the tufts and fluffs of dog hair I didn’t manage to vacuum up before they walked in to consider this house as their next home.

Maybe they’ll smile at the dent in the floor, between the ‘family room’ and the ‘computer room’… the one that happened during a particularly fabulous Patriots Game as we were high-fiving our hearts out…

Or the place outside where the flat stone is broken on the wall that Mac drove over, at the age of sixteen, busting a running-board right off of the old Volvo…

Might a Dad’s or Mom’s or Grampa’s head nod slowly, and a grin find its way onto his or her face, in recognition of soccer or lacrosse ball dents in the garage doors?

Will they want to know how much we loved our dogs, or that the spot by the side door was where we buried our tear-streaked faces in their ruffs, said our final good-byes and thanked them for being such good boys (and one very special girl)?

Will they recognize Monty’s corner…

Maybe hear Fred’s tippy tappy toes from far away?

Will they take the hint, that the kink in the light chord – the one that hangs in the perfect place for the Christmas tree – is in the exact right place… so that you can tie it up higher when you get a really tall tree?

Will the people who are coming here to see if this might be their new house… look past the imperfections to see that this has been a home for an imperfect, non-perfect, and not-even-possibly perfect family… who has loved and laughed, sighed and cried… and really lived so much of their lives here?

I hope so.

Because all that good life stuff is here, in these rooms and walls and halls… and we will take the memories with us, but bequeath the feeling of this place… to this place. And to the next humans who live here.

That’s the important stuff.

And let us not forget…

The husband in Sleeping with the Enemy? The one obsessed with all the cans facing forward, the spotlessness and perfection of everything… the tea towels line up, always?

That guy was a psycho.

This is not the house for him.

Thanks for readin’.

*My friend, and truly wicked professional photographer, Patty Axford took the exterior shots of the house at the very end of summer. She’s pretty great at what she does.

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