I Resolve
The extra weight will have to wait. This year, my neglected house needs a little TLC.

Her garden beds are bare. Her hardwoods are shabby and none too chic. And that new coat of paint I pledged became yet another broken promise.

Men! I can hear her harrumph, as I pull out of the driveway and leave her stewing in her squalor. You make them a home, and what do you get? Loose shingles and another lonely Saturday night!

And who can blame her? My pretty little Oak Cliff cottage could be the jewel of the block if I would just spend a little more time with her. She was born in 1939 but doesn’t look a day past 1945. She’s a modest charmer, lacking the pedigree of many of her tonier neighbors. (An architect I know thinks she may have been designed by Charles Dilbeck. My house blushes at the mere thought.) She’s looked after four families over the years with motherly aplomb. Mine is the fifth. And though I had grand plans for her when I first moved in, the passion has cooled over the past five years. But I still love her, and she deserves better.

So, therefore, I deem 2006 The Year of My House. Typically, I don’t make resolutions. Or at least I don’t fulfill them. (My credit card bills and cholesterol level can attest to that.) But I need a little extra motivation this year, and my home needs to feel the love (as well as a few strokes of the old paintbrush). So, here goes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1: It’s time to get down-n-dirty. Flowers will not spontaneously burst forth from barren patches of earth. Seeds help. So does watering. My girl deserves something pretty this year.

RESOLUTION NO. 2: Cleaning is not a spectator sport. It’s time to put down the remote, pick up a rag, and learn the difference between Pledge and Palmolive. (And what the heck is a Swiffer anyway?)

RESOLUTION NO. 3:  Fear not the Forbidden Zones. I’m referring to those dark, secret spaces you never enter: under the kitchen sink, your desk drawer, the hall closet, under the bed, etc. It’s time to don the Hazmat suit and clean them out.

RESOLUTION NO. 4: Go up to the attic. It’s been five years. It’s time. (See resolution No. 3.)

RESOLUTION NO. 5: My kitchen is not the Louvre, and the tangerine KitchenAid mixer is not a piece of art. It is a device that is meant to be used. Learn how to use it. That also goes for the immersion blender, the food processor, the espresso machine, and the rice cooker. That’s enough. Save the panini press for 2007.

RESOLUTION NO. 6: Choose a color. Yes, latte and cappuccino are very similar. But I can’t let the subtleties delay my decision any longer. It’s time to pick a color and give my house the facelift she deserves. After all, she is a Dallas gal.

There’s much more to be done: a new roof, repaved driveway, refinished hardwoods, a 50-inch Plasma television. (Okay. That last one isn’t completely necessary.) And the extra work might mean a few more Saturday nights at home. But that’s okay. My sweet little house has been a good partner. She looks out for me. It’s time I returned the favor.