It took this long


When he got home on Monday, Brian asked me if I’d used the special tools – utility pry bars, they’re called – that he purchased especially for removing tack strips.

No. I’d jimmied them free with the claw end of a hammer, a flat head screwdriver, pliers, and a putty knife, loosening the ends then cracking them at the point where the nails secured them to the floor. Dirty work, sitting in the dust and loose debris that fell from the carpet and pad after I ripped them from the floor of the closet. I never poked a finger, but twice (I shouldn’t admit this) the end of a strip popped up with such force, a piece, studded with its mean little wrong-way tacks, glanced off the edge of my glasses.

Three years ago, we tore up the blue-and-red plaid carpet in the rest of the room. The flooring beneath it is golden oak and scarless. Rather than long planks of wood pressed together, they are shorter lengths, offset. From a bird’s-eye view, it looks like someone laid down long brown bricks.

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It took this long to finish the job because the closet contained a filing cabinet, almost the width of the closet door. I emptied the files last month and paid my kids a dollar apiece to run grad school coursework and records from extinct bank accounts through the shredder.

Kate Christensen says she realized a few weeks ago that all her resolutions, all her intentions, don’t need to happen at once. The two women who have helped me organize my house have said the same thing. Getting organized, or nailing your goals, is not a one-episode fix. In our house, neither is pulling carpet.

I suppose it took me this long to pick up a package of hominy for a similar reason. We can’t eat everything at once.

I soaked half the bag and found this recipe from Heidi Swanson. The posole simmered all day; the sauce came together in minutes. We topped it with the bits from the bottom of a bag of tortilla chips, parsley, and local feta.

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