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I sat on the stairs of my new home, a pair of pliers in hand. I pulled staple after staple. It was depressing work especially when I could see people working on more exciting demo projects. I would have loved to hammer the tile. Or at least scoop it up.

Peeling wallpaper was another job I could do. Wallpaper and staple removal were about all I could do in that house. Modified bed rest during pregnancy is hard enough. Buying a fixer upper house while on modified bed rest is torture.

I did the best I could with the few jobs I could help with. My pride never hurt so much as it did when the carpet layers essentially told me I had wasted my time with the staples. They said all we really needed to do was hammer in the staples flush with the stairs. Great, I got carpal tunnel for this?

My fingers are sore from scrubbing all morning. I have scrubbed baseboards, doors, windowsills, and mopped floors. That was just the laundry room. It’s not like I am even scrubbing off nine years of dust and grime either. I have attacked that laundry room many times. It still took hours.

Heath rescued me when he saw me scrubbing the wall and baseboards by the stairs again. I have problems. The extreme perfectionism I suffer from gets a little ridiculous when I clean. Once I start I can’t stop. I work until my blood sugar drops too low or Heath rescues me. He was a little annoyed because I had already spent hours on the stairs a couple days ago.

Scuff marks taunt me. Nine years, I tell myself. Nine years with young children growing up in this house. I find myself scrubbing harder. I have learned that if you are patient enough and scrub hard enough, one of two things will happen. The mark will disappear or the paint will come off. Even with mild soapy water. I have problems.

The worst spots on the walls seem to be right where the texture is the most intense. It’s not like I haven’t been a good housekeeper over the years either. I have! I just can’t stop nitpicking when I know our deposit is at stake. I know more likely than not we won’t get our deposit back regardless of me scrubbing my fingers to the bone. I still have to try.

It’s strange prepping a rental house for a move. I have scrubbed this hard in apartments that I lived in for much less time. Not surprisingly I got the full deposit back. This is a house though. That we have raised our kids in for nine long years. I didn’t clean this meticulously when we sold that first fixer upper after four years of occupying it.

Selling a home is different from walking away from a rental. I look at this house that we have lived in for a significant period of time and think it just needs to be repainted. If it were my home I would repaint baseboards in a heartbeat. That’s the only way those scuff marks will ever go away.

I would do a better job painting too. The more I clean the more original mistakes I see. Drip marks, sides of door frames that never got the second coat they needed, knots in the boards, paint bleeding onto the walls or wall paint bleeding onto the baseboards. I know. I need to stop. Someone else’s work is not my problem. But it’s not perfect so it is my problem!

I don’t know if they are selling the home or renting it out. There are a lot of unfinished projects the handyman will finally have to finish though. In the meantime I am killing myself scrubbing because I can’t seem to stop. The worst part of all this is cleaning rooms we still need to use!

Heath joked that the Relief Society sisters will come in and wonder why we need help cleaning! That’s the hope. No, I do need help. I can’t get behind some places until things are moved. Like the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, some of the heavy furniture. My conscience won’t let me not keep working until this place sparkles. That and the promise of Diet Coke. I work for simple pleasures.

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