Monday, November 23, 2009

Crunch Time

I've never particularly enjoyed the holidays. At least not in recent years. All the work preparing, and then all the work un-preparing, has caused me considerable angst. Thanksgiving is not too much trouble. There's not much decoration. It's just a big meal and making sure the fridge is prepared to hold the leftovers. Christmas is more difficult, with the round of parties, extensive decorating, and the big meal(s) so close on the heals of Thanksgiving. But I muddle through.

I suppose the worst part of it all is cleaning the house for guests. Lynda and I do not tend to keep the house real clean, not that we two are the only inhabitants. Heck, why mince words: the house is a wreck. The kitchen table is generally covered with papers: mail to be read, finances to be filed, coupons to use or discard, magazines and newsletters we don't feel like reading. Since we rarely have company between holidays, by Thanksgiving it is an insurmountable task to clear the clutter. So, a day or two before the kids arrive (or other guests) for Thanksgiving, we shove it all in a box, put it in the south bedroom, and figure we'll get to it before Christmas. But, a week after Thanksgiving the table is covered with Christmas card stuff, and other stuff also begins to pile up. When someone comes for Christmas--another box or perhaps the same and the same outcome.

By now the south bedroom is incredibly full of junk. Not all of it is junk. Much of it is boxes and bags of children's books relatives have given us to give to Ephraim. These are mostly unsorted, and maybe we'll go through them with Richard and Sara when they arrive. But also in the room are boxes and bags of...what? I couldn't tell you what all is in them. We need a serious house cleaning, starting with the kitchen table, then the south bedroom, then the storage room in the basement, then maybe the garage.

Actually, except for the south bedroom I would say other parts of the house are, right now, in better shape than they were a year ago. We have done kitchen table cleaning for the last week, slowly working through the piles. We even pulled one box out of the south bedroom and went through it. It was mostly stuff from last year, or maybe two years ago. The good news is if we haven't had or seen the stuff for that long we don't need it, and most can be discarded. The bad news is a few things are not easy to decide on.

The garage is relatively straightened up, and the basement storage room is slightly cleaner than last Thanksgiving, in part due to some extra shelves. We may, however, have a little less junk in the room; certainly fewer empty boxes, which tend to add to the clutter.

So what's to be done? Tonight we must finish decorating the Christmas tree, which stands there with lights but nothing else. I must move a file cabinet out of the basement bedroom, and see that the Dungeon (our computer work area) gets a significant overhaul. Must also find a place to stash the old, over-sized monitor that I changed out last night for a free, surplus one from the company. I'd love to do a little work in the storeroom. I'm not far away from having it look pretty decent.

But, it looks like the stuff on the table will find its way to a box, perhaps the same box not yet emptied from last year. We're careful not to stuff bills in there, only those things that are junk mail or a step above junk mail, which we'd like to go through but never seem to find the time. Hopefully that box will get cleaned out the week after Thanksgiving. I don't want to see some of that stuff for a fourth year.

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