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Cleaning up in a down market

Letters From the Home Front

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I've been sick. It's not the "I couldn't get out of bed to meet the Queen" kind of sick, nor have I been compromised to the point where if the world ceased to exist at noon today I might not catch on until, say, November. I just feel yucky. And for me, yucky can be much worse than incapacitated. This is because it gives me too much time to think. When I am a blur of productive activity, I tend to not notice or care that the blinds need dusting or that a very large spider has been hard at work recreating a scene from "The Munsters" somewhere near the point my south-facing dining room wall meets the volume ceiling. Yet when I slow down, either by choice or by circumstance, all I notice is the deferred maintenance. I see dirt at the atomic level and I suddenly believe that my highest priority is to either clean the carpets or plant crops. I see the familiar junk pile near the front door, the one which could easily be mistaken for the U.S. Postal Service's bu...