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Tag Archive: housework

Jan 12

Do we really need new sheets, calendars, housecleaning and new thoughts in January?

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it” – Erma Bombeck

Adaptation is what we need in January, we tell ourselves this time of year.

I do not know about you, but the older I become the less adaptive I care to be.

Encarta Encyclopedia describes “alteration” as the state of changing to fit new circumstances or conditions, a revision if you will.

It is curious to me that I used to love change, but now I am not so sure I like it.

Come January most of us resolve to try something new. Buy new sheets. Try to understand a calendar that begins on a Monday. Move the chairs and furniture around, put away Christmas decorations, clean the closets, think new thoughts and look at life differently. And oh yes, if there is time, organize those photographs that reside in boxes in the basement or in files on one’s computer.

I began these January tasks by putting away Christmas decorations and thoroughly cleaning the house. However, I quickly became bored and instead spent the afternoon watching two back-to-back chick flicks, popped popcorn and enjoyed a Root Beer. Don’t tell the spousal unit.

The next day I attempted to take down Christmas decorations again, and this time as I was carrying two many boxes and sacks down the basement steps, twisted my knee and fell on my wrist. No serious damage was done, although I am wearing support braces on both appendages.

So much for housekeeping. You see, as Erma Bombeck once said, “Housework can kill you if done right.”

Then there are the annual January white sales in all my favorite stores, and I am confident this will be the year I replace the sheets. Maybe I will cover the sofa and buy a new bedskirt and comforter set as well. Usually by the time I decide what I want, the sales are over.

New calendars arrive, but some of them begin with Monday instead of Sunday. I cannot fathom these at all, so I probably will not use them. I have to wonder who designed these calendars, some 23-year-old commercial art student fresh out of college? Don’t they know we baby boomers have to have our calendars start on Sunday because that is all we have ever known? Ok, Ok, I suppose they are designed for the business week, but why?

As I was saying, we baby boomers may like to think we are open to new ways, but truth be told, we drag our feet kicking and screaming into the new year and into anything new at all. The old year and our old ways were just fine with us.

Farmers in the Midwest, have a saying for our January conundrum, “Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t botherin’ you none,” like last year.

In many ways though, last year did bother us a lot. Every year does.

So, we contemplate change each January and hope that this January change will actually happen, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Although come to think of it, according to Washington Irving, “There is a certain relief in change, even though it may be from bad to worse As I have often found in traveling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place!”

I think I am ready for February.

Oct 30

Cleaning out the basement closet is scary but illuminating

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”
– A.A. Milne

As in my scary basement closet.

Perhaps, it was the new moon this week that drew me to the large closet in our basement urging me to clean it.

Perhaps, it was that someone asked me to find something there.

My reply to that person, “You wonder if I have it. I wonder where it is. Everybody wonders how I find it.”

At least twice a year I try.

Whether it was the drive of the new moon or a need to find something, I began to search the closet we call “the cave”.

I braced myself for brave entry into this inner sanctum sanctorum deep within the bowls of this edifice of our home.

I told you it was a scary place.

When we originally built the house, we poured concrete walls and a concrete ceiling under the garage in the basement. The idea was to have a climate-controlled storage area and tornado shelter.

Now, that room is merely a disorganized and disorderly closet full of life memorabilia.

Taking a serious look at this most private and secret room bred the need to organize, discard, and donate. One cannot escape the powerful force calling one to sort, systematize, arrange, and classify when one finally tackles cleaning out the closet.

Mark Twain once said this about keeping things in closets, “Have a place for everything and keep the thing somewhere else; this is not a piece of advice, it is merely a custom.”

Now, I see why climate-controlled storage lockers outside of one’s home are the rage.

Keep all your saved things somewhere other than in your own closet and home. That way you can hang onto them to your heart’s content without looking at the clutter and without venturing into scary basement closets.

Erma Bombeck, famed humorist and columnist of the 60’s, had a theory on housework that just has to apply as well to cleaning out closets.

Erma quipped, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”

On second thought, maybe twice a year is too often to visit our scary closet in the basement. I am checking out climate-controlled storage lockers as we speak.