The Cross House
In an episode of Friends, the obsessively compulsive Monica is discovered to be hiding a secret: a messy closet.
I often think of this episode.
For, I work hard at keeping the Cross House neat and tidy. I regularly vacuum top-to-bottom. As mentioned recently, I keep the lawn mowed and edged, and the windows clean. My tools are kept neatly in the main pantry.
In all the many rooms, there’s no clutter, and no mess to step over and around.
At twenty, I was nothing like this. If I was renovating a room it would be a total disaster: stuff covering every inch of floor and tools scattered about. But, after I moved to New York City, and then after founding my own architectural design firm, I slowly learned the value of a tidy and clean construction site. So did the people working for me. My main contractor, Mark, ended up implementing this standard on all his construction sites.
Keeping things neat not only creates a safer working environment but it seems to help elevate the mood of everybody working on site, an invaluable consideration.
So, why do I often think about Monica’s secret closet?
Because…I, too, harbor a secret.
For many months I have been rebuilding the SE second-floor corner. I have been using the sleeping porch as a staging area and this is where I have been tossing everything, and where the chop-saw is kept.
It’s a friggin’ mess. As is the adjacent sewing room. These areas are my current Monica Closet.
Oh, the shame. The shame.
This is a pattern of mine. When I spent months last year working on the NE corner, the long bedroom was my staging area. And it was a horror, unfit for all decent society. When I finished the work, the room was cleaned and it has remained so since. At one point, the hexagon bedroom was my shame as I worked on the second-floor west facade. Once the work was finished, the room was cleaned and it, too, has remained so ever since.
Curiously, if I am working with somebody, I don’t create a mess. This seems thoughtless. But, just me? I get so focused on the work that I pay no attention to the mess.
Today, I totally cleaned up the sleeping porch. Tomorrow, work will begin on finishing the remaining bit of the SE corner and it felt wrong to start a new phase with the detritus of the previous phase all around.
In short, today I emptied Monica’s closet.
And, at 62, I am going to try and break this old bad habit by not creating another Monica closet as I continue laboring away at the south facade.