Monday, October 10, 2005

Stacking and Sacking

Today Joe officially fell ill with the same type of cold that Gretel has. Fortunately, she appears to be on the upswing but in the meantime we are all thrown out of our usual schedules and patterns and pretty much sacking out and doing whatever feels comfortable. Which sounds like fun, and it truly would be if there wasn't the sneezing and aching and whatnot. I am completely shocked at how quickly my house becomes a trash house when we slip into this way of living, though. It's as if the junk and dirty dishes replicate as soon as my back is turned so that when I walk through rooms I am stunned at the chaos we've created. I'm not used to picking up every little thing as soon as it's put down, though apparently that's what's required. Couch cushions are askew, pistachio shells are under the chair, plates from lunch are still lined up on the kitchen counter, joined now by the ones from dinner. And when we're all feeling out of it, there are only pinpoints of shock at the mess that pierce the overall feeling of ambivalence.

Tonight I've been thinking a little bit about messes and how I deal with them. For now, I'm sticking just to the actual physical messes in my life. I grew up in a stacks and sacks family. Photos, bills, important papers, lists, newspaper ads, etc., were all tossed into a pile somewhere. And then another pile, when the first threatened to topple. And finally, when the stacker was fed up with the stacks, the whole mess was thrown into a grocery sack and "put away" somewhere. My mother occasionally goes through these sacks from years ago, finding letters from her grandmother, newspaper clippings from when we were children, immunization records from when I was an infant (all of these have turned up just in the past month). I fight the stacking and sacking tendency nearly every day. I file old bills and important papers, know exactly where to find the deed to our house and all three of our birth certificates. Photos are in albums and I have no problem tossing the things that I truly don't think that I will need in the future.

But the tendency dies hard, especially with miscellaneous items. One of those "Sisters are Great" mugs that my brother gave me, a stone egg I've had for years, a ceramic rabbit I bought at a craft fair when I was nine. I've got boxes of these kinds of things stored under the eaves, which is just another version of throwing everything you don't want to deal with into a grocery sack. A piece of advice I've heard is to take a picture of the items and then get rid of the items -- and maybe I will do that someday. For now, I'll call it a kind of homage in cardboard to the method women in my family have been using for decades.


At 10/11/2005 6:58 AM, Blogger Anita said...

At least you have your paperwork under control. Yesterday, I spent two hours sorting my many "stacks" - - mostly into the garbage. I get so mad at myself for letting things get out of control, but the paper flow through my home is tremendous and relentless

At 10/11/2005 5:34 PM, Blogger celeste said...

Wow, I'm not alone. I am organized when it comes to my classes and work, but I have to work hard at it. I have memories of my mom also going through stacks of garbage bags...but this happened when she moved out of, what is now, my dad's house, so she had a decent excuse. We didn't go through the stuff till a few months after she moved out, and after my grandma passed away. But's tough to stay on top of stuff like that.


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