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Deferred Maintenance

Later this year, we’ll be starting a big remodel/restoration/addition project on our house. There comes a time in the months before such a project that you begin deferring various maintenance tasks. Why bother fixing the crumbling plaster on the wall if we’re just going to be ripping it all out in a couple months? The door that always sticks and the window that won’t stay open? No problem! Peeling paint all over the place? Not to worry. All will be taken care of in the remodel. It’s only natural to put them off.

It doesn’t stop there, of course. As time passes and the remodel draws nearer, other things get deferred. Spring cleaning things: running the oven through a cleaning cycle; cleaning the windows; the annual servicing of the furnace. Again, it’s only natural.

But sadly, there’s one more stage in this downward spiral: deferred cleaning. A pervasive feeling descends upon you that even daily cleaning is pointless. Why clean the tub if it’s getting ripped out? Why sweep the floor? Why scrub the sink? Why dust? It’s as though the house is inherently unclean now in some deeper sense. The cosmos would laugh at the folly of cleaning. Right?

We might have felt that way once. Back before we were struck by the reality that Henry has picked up god-knows-what from the floor behind the door and is about to give it the old toddler taste test.