The Stress of Too Many _ _ _ _

(this is NOT my house)

Collectors, beware.

Souvenir shoppers beware.

Old People, beware.

There is this disease of sorts that seems to be running around the world these days — worse than Covid 19, worse than malaria. Well, worse in the fact that so many of us suffer from it.

Sometimes we recognize the symptoms and can live with them; other times we ignore the signs until it’s too late. It can strike young, middle-aged, or old people. 

Yes, it’s a people disease.

It’s called SAVING THINGS.

Come on, be honest — how many of you have way too many unicorns, shot glasses, signs, or spoons from places you visited 40 years ago? Your kids baby teeth, their first artwork, their second artwork, their 354th artwork. Yard implements you might someday actually use. Cute pots you may eventually use to transplant overgrown houseplants. A jungle where your patio door used to be.

I’ve felt the strain of this disease for years. Years ago our kids lived with us for a while while looking for a new house. They found one. Half of their stuff was moved out. Five  years later they found another house. The rest of their stuff finally found its way to the door.

I was getting close to 70 (still am), and find I cannot handle all this clutter I’ve collected through the years. I thought I binge cleaned and donated a few times already but this disease is like watching a pot of water boil… little bubbles keep popping up, one bubble at a time, until you turn around and the pot is boiling over.

What made me think of this is looking out on my front deck at three dogs. None are my original choice, but I opened my heart and took them in at various times in my life. No regrets.

Except there’s too many dogs in my house.

I am getting old and need peace and quiet. 

Maybe that’s why I’m purging my house of knickknacks and extra rugs and baby toys and all sorts of things that have long outgrown their use. It’s not hoarder stuff — it’s clutter stuff. 

I think that’s worse.

I need to be able to walk through a room without knocking something over, or smile fondly at a few unicorns in a cabinet and not think of having to dust 00 more or stop tripping over the pots I’ve stacked by the back door to bring to Good Will a month ago. I want to go for a walk without having to yell a three sniffers/wanderers/adventurers to get back here or else.

Ahhh…. my dream world.

What is yours?



I’m Too Old To Be This Busy

I’ve been quite busy lately, helping my kids update and fix up their new house before they move in next month.

I have never been a cleaner by choice. I’ve survived, my kids have survived, yet my house has never been a front runner for Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens.

Because of both retirement and Covid, my house is the cleanest it’s ever been. I have a new refrigerator that I keep meticulously clean, and my clean counters and organized pantry are finally proof of my boredom.

I mean, I’ve always been clean — I’ve just always been messy. Disheveled. Sidetracked. At the end of the night before I go to bed I retrace my steps of the day and take 20 minutes putting everything back where it came from.

I so envy my daughter-in-law. She is clean, organized, and keeps up after three kiddos, a husband, and a dog. I’m always getting organizing ideas from her, including bins, shelves, and lists. 

I’m lucky if I can sort yesterday’s pj’s from last week’s.

Every time I come home from her house I am inspired to put more away, get rid of more clutter, and organize the rest so that I can find what I want when I want. 

But I believe it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

I still have a tendency to go three directions at one time, start projects I don’t finish, and extend my energy way past my 68-year-old limit. I want to do ten things at one time, including art projects, writing a new novel, sewing beads on my t-shirts, finishing the two books I started reading, and watching a 52-part Chinese TV series with English subtitles.

One thing is pretty darned clear.

I will have to live until I’m at least 95.

I can’t see getting everything done and organized before then.


Keep Your List Long

listDue to a change of plans, I am home alone for the weekend. The weather is beautiful, the sun warm, the breeze making my windchimes sing.

So far I want to drive to the gas station for flavored coffee, write a couple of chapters on my novel, move the stuff from my tiny closet to a now-spare-bedroom closet, vacuum, dust, make shrimp in red sauce, walk the magic trail behind the university, walk my own magic trail on my property, sew bling on a particular top, change the kitty litter, shorten the sleeves on a new hoodie, watch the rest of Rome, write a poem, find new artists for my SEAG, read my WordPress buddie’s blogs, ride my bike, rearrange the deck, brush out the cat, and edit another novel.

And it’s only mid-morning.

The only thing I’ve managed to do so far is go get flavored coffee.

Am I the only one who plans big and falls short? All the time?

I often wonder if I would have enough time to do it all if I were retired. Doing the job thing from 6 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. (that includes getting ready) five days a week doesn’t leave much time to fool around. You would think I would have an Architectural Digest-sort of house, lovely gardens, published novels, spiffy wardrobe, plus time to excercise/walk/ride with all the free time I have before I go to sleep at night.

We’re never home on the weekends — whose fault is that? Between visiting the kids and camping and my hubby leaving for work at 4 p.m. on Sundays, there’s not much time left for anything except doing the dishes and laundry. And maybe ONE fun, great meal. If we’re around.

I have talked to many retirees who have told me it doesn’t get better.

It gets worse.

How can that be?

They let me in on a secret. The more time they have the more they think they can do.

Of course, sitting on the deck, listening to the wind blow the windchimes, gets equal billing with mowing the lawn. Painting a picture gets just as much private time as washing and putting away laundry. And they still manage to see kids, grandkids, friends, old co-workers. They manage to get a walk in along with stopping by the farmer’s market, build things in their workshop, write poetry, rearrange furniture, watch a movie, repair the lawnmower, and dozens of other things.

Many of them say they don’t have enough time in their day, either.

I’m beginning to think that Einstein knew more than he told us. That time is relative. For one person time flies by; for others, it takes an eternity to tick out an hour.

I tell myself I’d rather have an overly-long list of “to-do”s than a short list of anything. Having too many things to do in one day assures you that there will be things to do tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. That the Reaper can’t possibly come and visit because your list is too long and he’ll just have to come back when that list is done.

Which makes me think of a few more things I’d like to add…


Thanks is a Clean Word

ThanksI am writing my Thanksgiving Day Thanks Post a bit early this year. Between family gatherings and Black Friday shopping and all-weekend football games, I never know when a moment of mental clarity will hit, nor when I might be able to share said clarity with you. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. You do, too. I don’t need to state the obvious — my past blogs reveal the miracles of survival I’ve been privy to the last year (couple of years, really). And I’m thankful for the usual — health, family, sanity (although there are those who wonder about that last one). But there is one thing in particular that I’m extra thankful for. Especially this time around.

I’m thankful that with company coming Thanksgiving Day, I have to power clean my house.

Now, before you chuckle and say people come for the food and friendship and not the eye candy, you are right. But I’ve always said you need to throw one big party a year so that you can really clean house. How many of you pull out the sofa and pick up dust bunnies and lost pencils and ancient Cherrios? How many  of you move the super-fragile things you have precariously perched on shelves and speakers to dust?  When was the last time you vacuumed the crumbs out of your sliverware drawer? Or organized your mail pile?

This is not Hoarders over here. I do have an over-accumulation of furniture and boxes downstairs, some remnants of departed family members, others in a holding pattern until my son sells his house. We won’t talk about the Mud Room: that is my husband’s jungle, and I get lost just looking in there. Somewhere down there is a nice, cozy TV area, kinda a sports-theme corner with a small TV, sofas, chairs — you know. But I wouldn’t know what it’s like sitting down there because it’s temporarily storing a gym’s worth of exercise machines just waiting for bodies to arrive.

My plans for this pre-Thanksgiving weekend are not so ambitious as to break up the chi that has so carefully been arranged down there. The bedrooms are fresh and clean, and a path will be made in case family members are too full and sleepy to make their way home Thanksgiving night.  No, my thanks on this pre-T day are a lot more humble.

I am going to give thanks by cleaning out my Tupperware cabinet. I then hope to move along to my bedroom closet. Not too much at one time — progress is often made one step (or cabinet) at a time. But my heartfelt thanks for getting one more thing off of my to-do list will be with me long after the turkey is turned into soup.

Remember — giving thanks on Thanksgiving — on ANY day — is not only about thanking the powers-that-be for your family or your health or your connection with Spirit. The powers-that-be hear your thanks for that every day. And the Universe thanks you in return.

What they don’t hear is your thanks for finding the shoe you’ve been looking for for two months. Or the flash drive that fell down into the sofa a long time ago.

Thank you.