Click on the above to enjoy a little music while reading this blog. It is especially apropos.
I mentioned in the last post that I gave my kitchen a thorough cleaning. This was back in April and weeks later, I am STILL spring cleaning. It's such a huge job, there is no way I can tackle it all in one go, so I work in spurts. I'm happy to report that I am down to the last room: the master bedroom. The downside to this erratic and very slow method of cleaning is that by the time I finally finish, the first room I started with, the laundry room, will be a mess again. I'm not kidding when I say I have been over every shelf, in every cupboard and closet, and handled every object/picture/piece of furniture we own. Bags and bags of stuff got thrown out, about 80 books sold to Half-Price Books, and more bags of clothing and odds and ends were picked up by a charity this morning. It feels so nice to have less clutter and better organization. And I'm especially proud of the fact that finally, after 23 years in this house, I have all my Halloween and Christmas decorations stored in one place.
As with many big projects, I had lots of moments when it got overwhelming --- it's impossible to clean on this scale without first creating a bigger mess --- and I would think, Why, oh WHY did I start this? It's analogous to giving birth: no way out of it except to grit the ol' teeth and push through it. I could have quit, but my OCD tendencies would not allow me to leave the job half done. As it is, it chaps me that Richard insists we wait to tackle the attics (there are two of them) until later in the year when it gets cooler again.
For all the giant steps forward, there were a few baby steps back. Force of habit has me opening the wrong drawer or cupboard for many of my kitchen utensils. Richard was very unhappy when he learned I had chucked his collection of dishwasher-warped plastic beer cups from various sporting events in the trash. He went to a Rangers game last week and came home with some new ones, thumping them down harder than was necessary on the kitchen counter, and glaring at me good and proper to make sure I got the message.
In addition to lots of dust bunnies, I found two capsized cockroaches, a hair scrunchy, a live spider I caught and released outside (I like spiders), three pennies, two pens, four rubber bands, one barrette, one dead gecko and two dead snakes. Finding a gecko inside the house is not uncommon, but the snakes were an unwelcome surprise, small as they were. They were coiled very neatly under the heavy Oriental rug in the dining room. I assume they slithered their way through some small gap in the dining room window, encountered the cats, and were forced to take refuge under the rug, where they eventually smothered. The gecko had a really gruesome demise. It got trapped and covered in some sticky substance oozing out of a bathroom window frame. The only part of the lizard visible was its head, so the poor creature couldn't do a thing except lie there and expire from hunger and thirst. (In my defense, this little drama took place behind blinds that are always closed, this being a bathroom and all, so I didn't know about the La Brea tar pits on my own window sill until now.)
Yesterday, I dragged out three large cardboard boxes I've kept stored under our bed. These boxes, one for each kid, contain the mementos of their childhood: school papers, certificates, athletic jerseys, artwork, medals, news clippings, class pictures, journals, yearbooks, hand-made Mother's Day cards and, in one instance, a letter written to Brent by a 4th grade classmate apologizing for dumping rocks on his head. Probably most moms, normal ones, anyway, would be incensed that their son was someone else's target practice, but I was so amused by the letter I kept it.
Penny, our tightly wound skittish cat (Skitty Kitty, I call her), will no longer have those boxes to keep her company under the bed, her refuge whenever life gets to be too much for her nervous system and she needs to escape. The contents have been temporarily transferred to plastic bins with nice tight-fitting lids until I can figure out how to organize everything. Scrapbooks won't work because a lot of the items are too big and bulky. Richard, always a fan of the easy way out, suggested I wait and give everything, jumbled as it is, to our sons' wives and let them deal with it. That certainly takes care of two of the three bins, but I don't think that is any way to cement cordial relations with future in-laws.
On the top shelf in the master closet, I found another, much smaller, box my father-in-law gave to us and I'd forgotten we had. Inside was a bare handful of papers dating to when Richard was in grade school. When I compare the measly amount my in-laws bothered to save to the hordes and hordes of things I kept for my kids, it's really sad. I admit I probably went overboard, but I clearly remember throwing out ten times more paper than I ever held back. I don't know if there wasn't as much school "stuff" in the 60's, or if my in-laws threw most of it out over the years, probably a little of both, but there's just something about seeing those first clumsy attempts at drawing, or writing and spelling and putting thoughts on paper, that resonate far more than mere photos. My daughter had a really good laugh over a poem her daddy wrote when he was in the third or fourth grade. It was so obvious that this hand-made card had made that little boy real to her, and it vexed me that there wasn't more of that sort of thing to share.
Well, I wanted to get one blog written before the merry month of May petered out, and here it is.
Dust bunny (edited): http://yvonnedesousa.com/tumble-bunnies/
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