There are strange moments when I’m struck by how much of an adult I’ve become. And most recently, I had a moment where I was grateful that one of those moments no longer included sawdust in my underwear.
Six months after Dave and I were married, we moved into our first home. Little did we know that we, like many others were caught up in what would become the “handing out mortgages like bubble gum” craze that contributed to the economic crash in 2008. So, like two young kids eager to be adults we bought our house and got to work making it a home- painting, gardening and eventually remodeling the whole kitchen.
At our wedding Dave’s brother Joe joked that the first time he walked into my apartment he knew that I would be a perfect match for his brother who also wasn’t known for his fastidious cleaning skills. So there we were, two messy people, in love, surrounded by piles of dishes and laundry. We weren’t as bad as April & Andy from Parks & Rec eating off frisbees so we wouldn’t have to do dishes, but we weren’t that far from it.
The most cluttered and messy area of our house was our dungeon of a basement which was both Dave’s woodshop and our laundry area. Often when we would work on projects we would either be too tired or lazy to clean up after ourselves; not rinsing paintbrushes, putting tools away, or sweeping up sawdust. Though we’d throw drop-clothes over things in the basement so they wouldn’t get covered in sawdust- inevitably those tiny little wood fibers would get everywhere. Including the piles of laundry in the basement. Little pieces of wood stick very persistently to delicate fibers of shirts, leggings and underwear even if they have been washed & dried.
I’d be getting dressed in the morning happy that I’d not only washed and folded the laundry but actually carried it upstairs when I’d feel the uncomfortable prickle of sawdust in my underroos. This would typically result in cursing Dave, our laziness, vows to sweep up the sawdust eventually and discomfort all day because there would always be a piece of sawdust that I missed.
This past weekend when the sun finally emerged in the weeks of cloudiness Dave and I felt uber-motivated to get some house projects done in our home here in Cleveland- scraping and painting our front porch railing for me and doing some carpentry work to repair our 1/2 bath for Dave. Though we were sweaty and tired from our various projects at the end of the day, I clicked on the shop-vac to suck up the piles of sawdust on the floor (which were not too far away from laundry baskets) and help him clean up. The familiarity of the situation made me smirk with nostalgia at the days of wood-fiber covered clothes and ask Dave if he remembered all the times I had yelled at him in our old house about the sawdust.
It’s funny how small things can make you realize that you’ve become an adult, or at least that certain things have matured about you- visiting your old haunts to enjoy some of the pub food you loved in college only to realize it was actually kind of crappy (sorry Miller’s Thriller @ MSU’s Harrison Roadhouse- the thrill is gone), choosing to work for yourself rather than someone else & feeling the exhilarating fear of starting your own business, or as one of my girlfriends experienced when a teenager hit her car- being the calm adult who knew how to call the insurance company, AAA and worked to soothe the panicked kid who was worried what his dad would think about his messed up fender. Or in my case, having sawdust-free underwear as we’ve slowly learned that life really is nicer when big kids clean up their own messes.