Monday, June 20, 2011

Achieving Closet Nirvana or Who Wouldn't want an Electric Back Massager?

You only feel as calm as the crap that lurks behind the scenes of your home.

I realized this on Friday when I literally had to lean on a closet door to get it shut. It's contents were so jumbled and squeezed together that it needed an aggressive approach -- and more than one try -- to simply close the door.

Please don't send me in that closet.

Once closed, a visitor would never know the roiling hell throbbing behind the passive neutrality of the door's wood grain. But, if they mistook it for the bathroom, and opened it accidentally, I would be sending in search dogs to lead them to safety

Then yesterday, I attacked a different closet in the house. It was Father's Day and my gift to Seth, upon his suggestion*, was that I pretend he wasn't home, so I busied myself with chores while he enjoyed this respite.

Before I began, I set up a system that involved garbage bags, a continuous loop of Al Green's greatest hits, a xanax or three and one of those hats that has a contraption to hold cans on top that dispense liquid to the wearer through straws. Often used for beer, I put Diet Coke in mine.
"Hoist One for Sarah!"

These hats are, typically, worn by Sarah Palin's campaign workers.

This closet was half linens and half miscellaney. I finally (and very grudgingly) put the boy's --the oldest one is 26 -- crib sheets into the Goodwill bag along with half of the 600 washcloths and kitchen towels I have accumulated as well as two of four ice bags and three of five hot water bottles. I threw out the half eaten Whitman's sampler I had, apparently quite successfully, hidden from myself a few years back.

I found eight tubes of toothpaste (plus there were enough toothbrushes for Angelina Jolie to cheerfully distribute at a foreign orphanage before adopting another child) bought on sale and tucked away that were so old, they were glowing slightly. Out they went along with the giant bottle, also glowing, of Multi-vitamins purchased on sale as well.

I also discovered the electric back massager I gave Seth one year that he claimed to love but, sadly, was "broken." Oddly it, worked just fine when I plugged it in.

Sucking on Diet Coke and singing along with Al, I tossed things into garbage bags, stuffed more into boxes and organized that closet into a shining example of order and clarity. 

This order and clarity reflected back on the remainder of my day and I felt refreshingly rational every time I walked past the's door as neutral in appearance as its companion's down the hall. Only I, and the search dogs called in previously, knew the difference.

I've learned that even if your house is relatively (and I use that term very loosely) neat, if there is a pulsating mass of junk and debris compacted into your closets and drawers, true serenity cannot be yours, Grasshopper. You must make neat in order to approach the Zen-like state called "Closet Nirvana." I shall continue striving towards this challenging goal in the days ahead.

*Seth's Father's Day Requests
1. Do not ask me to measure anything. Tape measures are very simple devices. You can do it.
2. Do not make eye contact with me if we meet on the stairs.
3. Do not attempt to engage me in conversation about that "funny article" you just read about kitty cats because I do not care. At all.
4. If you notice me napping, do not wake me even if there is a serial killer at the front door. Ask him to come back later or deal with him yourself.
5. Relinquish all remote devices to me starting at 12 am on the morning of Father's Day and ending at midnight. And yes, of course I get the big TV.
6. No matter how much you want to talk to me, resist. But please make sure I have three delicious meals available exactly when I so desire and discern these times strictly through intuition since there will be no spoken communication between us for 24 hours.
7. Don't hurt me once Father's Day is over even if you find the electric back massager that I hid in the linen closet because it was a stupid gift in the first place.
"Hey, Baby, I'm here to help you clean those closets...."


  1. Seth had ALL THOSE DEMANDS - and he is not even YOUR father!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Plus he made me fan him with fern fronds--but silently and with no eye contact.

  3. Thanks so much for the laugh kiddo. I seriously needed it today.

  4. It is I who thank YOU for laughing, Michele!