A home’s personality and a 4-foot lawn spider

Originally published ???? in the Dickinson County News.

I remember a conversation about a year ago with our humor columnist Carole Achterhof. As I stared at her four-foot lawn spider, she explained to me that a person’s home is a reflection of their personality.

A year ago, that scared me a bit. Because if it were true, my personality was full of dead cockroaches, mouse traps and fresh paint. Today, I’m not scared of the idea at all.

My roommate and I have developed a bit of a strange yet sophisticated taste.

But you won’t find four-foot lawn spiders at our place.

You’ll find our collectibles – movies, compact disks, books, giraffe figures, real artwork, and Doughboy memorabilia.

You’ll see simple flowers – daisies and wildflowers and lilacs. They’re usually fake, but once in a while, a good friend will brighten our home with the real ones.

You’ll see a pug and a kitten. (A new kitten since the last one passed on just two weeks ago.)

And you’ll see lots and lots of photographs – of people we miss, people we laugh with, and people we love.

I think our personalities shine through at our little house in Milford. We’re a pair of young adults who love life and love people.

On a different, yet related subject, I remember as a child watching my mother frantically run around the house cleaning in anticipation of company.
I thought she was so stupid for worrying about what other people thought.

I had a favorite reply for the cleaning whirlwind: “When I grow up, I’m going to leave my house a mess when people come over. If they don’t like me for me, then who needs ‘em?”

My mom always just shook her head and gave me that omnipotent answer: “Someday you’ll understand.”

Darn it, she was right again. If my house is a reflection of me, I wouldn’t want anyone to know that my personality includes some dirty laundry, dust mites and – God forbid – a little ring around the tub.

We all want people to see our house at its best, and likewise to admire the parts of our personality that are the most glorious.

Living a busy life has taught me something that Carole Achterhof learned a long time ago: be yourself and don’t let other people dictate how you live.
Which is why Carole has a four-foot spider in her front yard.

Oddly enough, her home was immaculately clean, all the beds were made, dishes done and clutter neatly tucked away in anticipation of my arrival.

I understand though, just as my mother said I would: It’s important to clean up for company, otherwise your “true” personality wouldn’t shine through.