Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Excavation or, Packrat Shedding Her Skin

How's that for a set of mixed metaphors?

Cynthia posted a wonderful piece today that, sadly, reflects many of my own failures in life. The battle to manage the paperwork is a never-ending one for those of us whose household documents reproduce like mice. A little spaceperson would never guess, after a survey of my house, that we have moved to a paperless society. And while I note that one of Cynthia's commenters has posted the wise, wise advice never to let a document pass through your hands a second time, I note also that that admonishment only works for the kind of people who alphabetize their spice racks. Those of us as likely to find the oregano tossed in with the pots and pans or, better yet, in the living room, have different DNA than the Julie Morgensterns of the world. They make it look so easy but, different species that we are, we can manage the household paper about as well as we can swing from trees.

I'm on vacation for two weeks, and one of my plans is to develop some control over the areas of my life that are forever spiraling out of it. Current papers -- the ones that had babies who toddled through the hallway while I was sick for a couple of weeks -- are on tomorrow's schedule. (There are, sad to say, the taxes. There are some bills that are, uh, unpaid. Hi there -- waving sheepishly at Cingular and Tulane University.) Basement papers -- the piles and files and heaps and hurricane remains that no doubt include essays written by students who have long since become NASA engineers and radiologists --are for Thursday.

Today? Clothing. I could outfit an entire nation from the proceeds of my basement, as long as its citizens were all female and partial to styles of 15 and 20 years ago. (A plethora of sizes is available.)

I've piled about seven or eight bags -- maybe 100 pounds -- of clothing into my car. I've found some places in the basement in which to hang winter clothes and the summer clothes that would look great if only 20 pounds would evaporate... . I've reorganized the racks in my closet. The shelf and the floor where everything fell off the shelf last month still need some work. My daughter's closet, the deep walk-in next to mine (old house) looks like it's been attacked by the grown progeny of the front hall paper creatures. So, actually, does her room. And the linen closet is calling as seductively as the Sirens to Odysseus -- here, here, veer this way.

So is Nancy Grace. And trash TV takes precedence, of course, over my journey toward glory and perfection.


Kathryn said...

You are already glorious and perfect. I admire your resolve to achieve a more organized state but think you are wonderful the way you are -- quite comforting actually.

I aspire to make the same corrections for myself. Perhaps that will happen if I find all the paperwork I need to finish my taxes by the end of the week.

LightYears2Venus said...

It sounds like you have done a mountain of work already. It is the pits when we have to spend "vacation" excavating the house and I bet you've got schoolwork to do, too. Maybe you can delegate one week to homework and actually relax one week. I'm relishing the realizations that my daughter is coming to now that she's out of college and beginning to manage her own bills and medical, repair, insurance, financial, etc., paperwork. One more modicum of newfound respect for Mom. But I guess it's better than churning butter, chopping wood, and putting clothes through the wringer. I guess. Good luck with the control (TV and otherwise). *debbi*

Lisa :-] said...

You never can actually vacate, can you? :-]

Bedazzzled1 said...

I think I feel relief to know there is someone else out there wading through mountains of clothing and papers. My redecorating of the master bedroom and bathroom has been stalled in large part due to the ungodly amount of clothing I have. I am finally trying to sift through the garments and be less sentimental about what I keep.

And papers? Ugh. I don't even want to think about sorting and filing or tossing them right now.

I don't "do" Nancy Grace, but surely there are other things calling ME away from glory and perfection.


Cynthia said...

I did the clothing purge last year, and it was truly liberating. Oh, I hope I can have the same success with the paper. Good luck on the excavation. At least we know we're not alone.

emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, I can so relate to this post. I've been avoiding doing my taxes for 3 months now, but the deadline approaches, sooooooo...what did I do tonight? Why, my son Christopher's taxes, of course...well, I had him come over, and did them on my computer (he doesn't have an internet connection), after which I felt so good (so morally superior, but to whom? why, to my slacker self, of course) that I started on my own...I hate paperwork, really hate it...


Carol said...

I believe that those who lead totally organized lives free of paper mounds, clothing castles in sizes and styles that shall never be worn again, and every piece of important paper at their fingertips in perfectly organized file cabinets have a disease that I'd gladly catch. I did catch it long enough to have alphabetized spice drawers with all labels facing up and a linen closet that, when the sheets and towels actually get folded and put away, is highly organized. It's the paper piles that do me in. Prior to the seder at our home last night I had to move 3 large piles from my kitchen desk to this one so that my kitchen looked presentable. Aaaagghhhhhhhh....
At least the taxes are ready to go; just need to sign and write the checks.