I wonder how many people clean the house before they go away for a few days. I always do—vacuum the rugs, wash the dishes, take out the trash, tidy up—and not merely because burglars, should they choose this time to visit, would be scandalized by my usual level of untidiness.

I do it so that I come home to a place that’s ready to welcome me when I return. I don’t want to come home to my everyday disarray; I want to come back to the home I envision, where all the pieces are in place except for one. The last missing piece is me.

Naturally, before I go away I do the laundry as well. Then, when I return, I have clean clothes in the closet and an empty hamper waiting to be filled with my traveling clothes when I unpack my suitcase.


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