Two years ago we moved out of the house for a few weeks while my brother-in-law ripped up all of the carpet on the main floor and replaced it with hardwoods. Two children under the age of ten, an 80-pound dog, one cat and two and a half acres had led me to the conclusion that clean-up would be a darn sight easier with hard surfaces. True, the dog hair sashayed in tumbleweeds across the wood floor to settle in the corners, but when the kids slopped chocolate milk over the sides of their cups or flung a handful of rice or pasta to the floor, spot-cleaning was a breeze.
This morning as I dragged my Dyson around by the extension, sucking up fluffs of fur and dust, crumbs and dirt from everyone's shoes, I ran up against the carpet square in front of the kitchen sink and groaned. The swath of hardwood behind me was clean, suctioned bare by the vacuum, but this rough, nubby throw rug was knotted with black dog hair, stained by food coloring and pasta sauce and food crumbs were pushed down into the texture and weave. Ugh.
It is so much less satisfying to clean the various rugs scattered around the house than it is to simply swoop the vacuum cleaner around the hardwood once a week. To truly get these clean, I am often forced to toss them into the washing machine and confront just how much I miss them when they're gone. As someone who avoids wearing shoes and socks whenever possible, I have been teased about my odd dance steps across the cold wood floor in search of a soft warm haven by my family members. But the truth is, they prefer them, too. And so does the dog.
The soft fluffy areas are more forgiving when I am standing to do laundry or cook or wash dishes. They are more comfortable on my bare feet when it's cold and I like to squish my toes down in the fibers and feel the softness brush against the skin between my toes. They are more pliable and just feel good. They do pick up more crumbs and fur and spills and hold on to them longer. They are higher maintenance and won't last nearly as long as the hardwood floors. But there are more important things than being clean and shiny. So I've decided to take down some of my "hardwood" barriers and make a concerted effort to show more of my soft, fluffy side. Maybe people will start doing funny little dance steps in my direction just to experience some of my warmth and accommodation. Maybe I'll become more attractive to those who are seeking some pliable support. And I'm certain I'll get a little dirt and muck on me, but maybe someone will spill some good, dark chocolate on me, too. That might be worth it...