Friday, October 8, 2010

...How often does one post on a blog?  There are many differing opinions and I am buffeted between my opinionated children who love to tell their creaking, ancient mother what to do in the only arena (technology) in which they can best me--sorry, boys--and what I have read on the web.  My other valued advisor, my brother-in-law Jon, has advised me to be wary of blog burnout which makes sense since Seth tells me that I appear to be typing in my sleep 

So, I think, on average, I will post 3-4 times a week and greatly appreciate the support and feedback I have already received from readers. Thank you all for popping in and taking a moment to read what I write.  You are valuable assets in my bid at world domination and I won't forget it.

I am including another archived column (immediately below) from my local paper and, with huge affection, bid you farewell until Monday.  Have a grand weekend!

Clutter Patrol

I have attempted to write a shopping list with a tire gauge for the last time. Has anyone else grabbed for a pen and come away with everything from a rectal thermometer to a cake tester instead of a functional writing implement?  Am I the only one with not one but several junk drawers crammed with ancient tubes of crazy glue and seed packets from the Paleozoic era?  If so, you are like me—a creative genius motivated to excel by surrounding herself with clutter.  Just kidding…you’re a mess.  The line forms to the right.
Now that the house is occupied only by two adults (admittedly of questionable maturity levels) and several cats in various stages of hairball distress, the time has come to conquer the clutter.  I used to fear that I was a borderline hoarder until I started watching Clean House where, not only did I learn that I want to be Neicie Nash when I grow up, but that people have far worse issues than I. I forced my husband to watch an episode so he would finally stop tucking flyers from junk removal companies under my pillow and he was silenced by what he saw.  While this could have bought me several more months of accumulating empty shopping bags and old TV guides, I decided to take action before I ended up on the Discovery Channel.
I started in the kitchen.  Sitting at the table with a glass of ice water and a portable phone in case I needed the police, I pulled out a drawer and began sorting.  After a few exhausting minutes,  I had no choice but to take a break to call everyone in my address book, watch Dr. Phil, register on Facebook, check the battery in my carbon monoxide detector, give the cats flea treatments and review all my past mistakes from birth to the day before yesterday.  Then it was lunchtime.
It took another few days to work out a somewhat organized system. When Seth came home on the day I’d begun, he was so grateful to see progress that he was happy to eat three bananas for dinner so as not to compromise my momentum.  I made piles of receipts, filled baggies with rubber bands, erasers and old tokens from the batting cage.  I tossed out forgotten pocket combs, broken nail clippers, old batteries and multiples of take-out menus.  I combined photos in envelopes (without stopping to pore over each one) and found a bucket for loose change which I later rolled and counted only to discover that I was $112.38 richer.  I stacked pads of post-its, chucked pens that didn’t write and pitched chargers for phones I no longer own. I did, however, keep the pencil sharpener in the shape of a nose.  I’d been looking for that everywhere.

Motivated by the grateful weeping of my genuinely thrilled husband, I then hit the closets in our bedroom and am happy to report that I located Jimmy Hoffa.  I said goodbye to winter jackets that haven’t fit for decades and packed up old belts, bags and enough single gloves for an army of Michael Jackson impersonators (too soon for MJ jokes?  I think not).  I also found a stuffed doggie sewn for me by my grandmother when I was three years old and had no choice but to sit on the floor, surrounded by the debris of my life and sob for about a half hour.  It was very cathartic.

By the time the closet debacle was complete, I had several huge garbage bags divided into appropriate categories and the stuffed dog was enjoying a sunny spot on my bed.  Seth was delirious with joy.  He favors the spartan decorating style of a prison cell and foolishly thought that I finally shared this viewpoint.  I had to snap him back into reality by menacing him with several sets of chopsticks still wearing their festive wrappers.

Never will my home be a show place.  It will always look as if a quirky family lives within its’ walls.  Books lean and tilt on jam-packed shelves. CDs and DVDs fight for space in the den and the boys’ old games still occupy the cabinets because God forbid they come home hoping to play Battleship and I have just thrown it out.  My drawers and closets will eventually fill-up again and my home will indicate the presence of life in all its’ disorganized glory.  As for Jimmy Hoffa, he was so happy to get out of here that he didn’t even say goodbye.     

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