“How long do you think the new carpet smell will last?” one of my co-workers asked.
I had to leave work early because the carpet guys were coming.
“I have no idea,” I replied. “Is that like the new car smell?”
My family replaces carpet every 45 years or so whether it needs it or not. This particular carpet had reached replacement age. It was the color of cat vomit, which, I suppose, was both a pro and a con. The new carpet, grey-ish brown, will hide dirt well, but probably not cat vomit. Oh, well. I guess you can’t have everything.
When my husband and I bought our first house, we immediately tore all the carpet out. Lovely hardwood floors were hiding beneath it and we wanted to enjoy them. Bud hacked the carpet into manageable size chunks to roll up and put in the alley for the garbage man. About halfway through the task, he noticed that the rolls were disappearing from the alley. Back in the house, he watched as our new neighbor on the other side of the alley went out to scavenge the latest roll. She was carpeting her garage with our discards.
The second house we purchased had green plush carpet throughout the second floor. When we first looked at the house, Bud said, “We can pull this up and replace it.” I agreed. Seventeen years later, when we moved out, it was still there.
The third house had mostly hardwood floors, but upstairs, in one bedroom, a previous owner had laid orange shag carpet. It was hideous. “This has got to go,” Bud said. I agreed. Eleven years later, it’s still there.
The carpet we replaced is at my father’s house. As we reclaimed this particular room — it had become the depository for so much stuff that there was no place to sit — everyone has enjoyed it, even my father. Maybe especially my father. Whenever we have a fire in the fireplace, he loves to sit back there and enjoy its beauty and warmth.
Yesterday he asked about going back there.
“They’re putting in new carpet,” I told him.
“Can we walk on it yet?” he asked after the installers left.
I had no idea. My experience with new carpet is pretty meager. Actually, it’s pretty non-existent.
This morning I vacuumed so we could move the furniture back in. Pay no attention to the shelf of books that fell down during the night. Or the fact that I didn’t vacuum neat straight lines, something Bud liked to do with that old green plush carpet when we were showing the house. Just note the carpet that’s NOT the color of cat vomit and picture a crackling fire in the fireplace.
Ah — new carpet for Christmas.
It smells okay — but once we put our Christmas tree in there, it will smell like Christmas.
And then, hopefully, it will begin to smell like home.