There comes a time (quarterly, at Chestnut House) when a proverbial panic ensues; a gentle tsunami of tidy tidings when Ron and I don’t so much clean as we move piles from one room to another in a sort of
Feng Shui-ed frenzy to make the house look freshened and cared for.
The cause of the current upheaval is an upcoming cast party to celebrate “Once Upon a Mattress”. Ron, with a newly re-ignited passion for all things ‘Fitzgerald’, decided to theme the event based on
“The Great Gatsby”.
Now, this would be all fine and good if Chestnut House was painted, powdered, and prettied like she belonged in ‘West Egg’, but, for the moment, she’s looking more Monthon Phuket than Nantucket.
So begins the blitz.
In my great, expansive list of things that should never be combined (i.e. various household cleaners, Right-Wing Conservatives and Government, Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola), at the top is two decorators, a confined space, and a few days off.
As a Virgo, you would imagine I like things kept neat. However, the little Gothic creature I have become sees the beauty in a glorious, intricate spider’s web, and I find it so difficult to knock it down with a straw broom - it feels like I am white-washing over a Keith Haring Mural to “get rid of the graffitti”.
That, and I am lazy. Just lazy. (I finally came out with it - what a burden gone!)
We leave a lot of the general daily maintenance of the floors and baseboards to Dorian Grey. Better than any Swiffer Wet-Jet, Roomba, or Sham-Wow, our slightly unkempt miniature Schnoodle picks up debris and dust-bunnies from unreachable corners and furniture legs. When his coat just can’t hold anymore detritus, a simple rinse-off in the bathtub, a couple of liver treats, and the boy is back to work!
I will faithfully fulfill all of my duties prescribed in the Chestnut House Homeowner’s by-laws. Like a good Edwardian, I will make sure the paintings are hanging level, light the candles promptly at dusk, rinse the Highballs, beat the mint beside the porch so that it is scented before the first guest arrives, and remind Ron of all the things he wanted to do before the event but didn’t get to because of the three or four tandem projects he’s occupied with.
I will create the lovely, dust-covered ambiance Chestnut house is known for - that hazy backdrop that makes every glamorous guest sparkle even brighter against its' curdled, milky atmosphere, and will make sure that the floors are shored-up just enough that the whole party doesn’t end up collapsed in a bundle of feathers and sequins in the basement just below their dancing feet.
And, most importantly, I will enjoy my evening with a grin, knowing Chestnut House is one-up on the original Gatsby House - it was demolished in April of last year.