Sunday, April 8, 2012

Aren't You Glad You're Not a Baseboard?

There are many parts of a house that are eternally neglected and ignored, things out of sight or hidden. But none more so than baseboards.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. We use baseboards for their beauty, which garners compliments from our visitors and helps us feel better about ourselves. "Yes, they are so lovely!" you might respond, "had them flown all the way in from Italy." You would finish your vintage bottle of wine, your guests would leave, and you wouldn't think of the baseboards again.

We kick them, nick them, and hit them with the vacuum cleaner as we drag it from room to room. We never dust them unless we drop something like a coin or a contact, and our retrieval takes us within inches of the wooden board. We are appalled at the layer of dust and lint and rush to the cleaning closet to get our bottle of Murphy's Oil Soap.  Squirt squirt here, squirt squirt there, a couple of good swipes with an old rag, and the baseboard is clean as a whistle. We invite more guests over to marvel at our beautiful trim, and the baseboards once again verify we are worthy.

Baseboards keep out mice. They hide the unsightly crack between the drywall and the floor, like face powder. They give a sense of security, of foundation. They are always there to greet us when we come home.

They are the target of angry cats and dogs left too long in. They are the bane of existence of house painters. Don't believe it when the paint store tells you taping will save your woodwork. It is a lie. Nothing offends a baseboard more than sloppy paint jobs. Drip of white here, splat of blue there, and they are ruined. Their pristine essence destroyed by a careless flick of a brush.

So on behalf of baseboards everywhere, I ask you to spend some time today with your baseboards. Share your appreciation for all they do for your home. Give them some special polish next time you clean. And for goodness sake, stop running into them with the vacuum cleaner. You'll be glad you did.

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