Having broken through whatever was keeping me from writing my blog I wrote two tonight and was preparing to go to bed in case I was lucky enough to sleep, when I thought to myself- you have to write another one.
I had to have a discussion with myself about why it had taken so long to break through the block and I decided it was distractions. Here are some of them.
Patience and Solitaire
The most formidable is what I call Patience and what you call Solitaire. Then there is spider solitaire and I am hooked. One might talk or write about Pokémon or whatever that is. I don’t have a clue, but these on-line puzzles are the straw that breaks the camel’s back; the last defense against ‘getting on with what needs to be done’.
Procrastination at which I am unbeatable is aided by patience the game. Tomorrow morning, my friend Marie, the Organizer is coming to my house to try to make some order in my office. Good luck. She maintains that if my office is in order, the work I so long for will show up. As it is with the disorder nothing can come in.
She had the audacity to tell me I said it to her years ago. She took classes with me and was without doubt my best student. Followed instructions like you wouldn’t believe even if they were challenges she was facing. Don’t you hate it when people remind you of what you said but don’t do? John was brilliant at that. I’d get heated up about an issue and he would say, “You know, I heard this woman lecture a while ago”…………….and there was no reason to say more!
However, I need to have a reason. For instance, I have been promising myself I would clear the dining room table for months, even before I went away on my trip. I’d take a couple of things off and they would be replaced by three other things. With Divine Intervention, my son Daniel, his lovely wife Wendy and 12 going on 30-year-old son Aidan, were coming for the evening. As I was making dinner I had to clear the table. It looks great at the moment. How long will it last? I think Marie will have something to say about that.
Marie the Organizer
I know Marie is going to look at my bookshelves first and that will be the major challenge. Giving books up is a nightmare for me although I have read them and probably would never read them again. How can I distract her I wonder? I am devious at times to what I consider my better good. However this isn’t my better good. I wonder if she’d be interested in doing a jigsaw puzzle with me. Huh. There has to be some way I can get her away from the books.
I look at my library and there are books I had when I was in the New Seminary – why would I want them now? Because they are books, silly. I am a bibliophile and always have been. If she eyes my Harry Potter collection she is in trouble as I have several editions from different areas. Of course there are the Harry Potter books on CD and more than one issue. I’ll just have to watch this ‘helpful’ woman.
I can create diversions at the drop of a hat. Like, I have to make that phone call I’ve been delaying for a while. Just got to pop into the market – forgot the milk. Oh, the feral cats are here – got to feed them. So, Marie, what do you think of the world situation? She isn’t going to buy any of it. I am doomed.
I halted this writing to have a shot at Solitaire to clear my mind when I suddenly thought of an escape from this tidying up. Tomorrow morning, I can make a telephone call to Marie and ask if she really wants to do this and does she understand the mess she will have to deal with. Better still, if I call early enough when she is in the shower, I could leave a message. That way, she can hear it and I can get in the shower so I won’t hear the phone ring and she will leave a message. Oh I am so clever.
Oh goodness, I just remembered with whom I am dealing and that probably won’t work.
I told her because I was a willing care sharer with John for over ten years that I was out of the loop professionally, so she determined that this was the next step, to get back in the limelight where by some miraculous event it will bring me as much work as I like. That’s a tough argument to fault. It isn’t just the work either as many organizations would love to have me but ‘they have no money’. Heard that one forever. I will choose my own volunteerism and no one else. It seems I will have to succumb to the brilliance of Marie. Her home is exquisite, not a utensil or anything else out of place. HELP ME!
Clean Up Day
I woke up earlier than usual this morning and one of the first thoughts I had was – it’s THE DAY. She’ll be here in three hours. Even in my dreams where I hoped to find a solution to prevent this frightful project from occurring, nada. So I started moving things around – to hide them? Who’s telling. The cats wouldn’t rat on me. Actually they would run away if they saw a rat. How soon they forget how it was living on the streets! First thing I remove is the cat litter box and its accoutrements into my bedroom. Next, I dive into the cupboard and tidy up winter stuff that should have gone into one of those plastic things that flatten with the help of a vacuum cleaner. Then I look into the other side of the cupboard, which has become an English food storehouse, the contents of which I will probably never eat. Perhaps Marie would like to take some of them home with her. After I get myself up from the floor as I slid off my chair laughing my arse off at the thought of Marie having anything superfluous in her home, I began to adapt to the reality that MARIE IS COMING TO SORT ME AND MY CLUTTER OUT. It is like an addict in detox. I am serious, sort of. I have a slight heart flutter at what will become feeling naked within the next few hours and it isn’t me.
Probably shelves. My son Daniel bought me these shelves some years ago as he was fed up with seeing books all over the floor. It was a beautiful study for a year or so and then off I went again. So I am not far from being an addict in some ways. After all, it was a clutter relapse.
I look around me with mild panic and know the inevitable will happen so within the next hour I will be piling stuff, rearranging possessions and possibly hiding a few things that she might think unnecessary. I know the questions. How long have you had this? When did you last look at this? When did you last use this? What the hell is this? How do you find anything here? Where are your important papers? How do you know where to be and what to take with you? By this time, my Brixton starts to rise and I know I have to quell it. Trouble is, I can hear the voices of those terrible adults in my life when I was a child………. this is for your own good! Ugh!
For the last few days I have a pinched nerve in my neck. How can I use that? Perhaps I should telephone Marie and tell her this isn’t the day. However, I realize I am merely postponing the inevitable. Marie can be resolute and I am the object of her determination right now. Just like sponsors made me face my demons for all those years, she is doing the same. I should be grateful, “should” being the operative word and one that rarely is used in my vocabulary. I ask myself the old and overused question. If there were a fire, what would you save first knowing that anything live would have been removed. Photos and books. Without doubt.
I am slowing beginning to capitulate. In the past when some wonderful people have decluttered me, I felt refreshed. Even looking at my dining room table warms my soul! In my book, Credit, Cash and Codependency, there is a chapter on hoarding. Thank goodness I haven’t become that bad, but close. I remember working with people who almost passed out when twenty typewriters were removed from the almost impassable basement and a man who gave up his marriage rather than the rooms filled with newspapers. So here I am, awaiting the arrival of the Queen of Tidy and Organizer Supreme.
I recall the wisdom of Professor Albus Brian Dumbledore who said – “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it!” So I had better put the kettle on. When under stress, the only answer is a “cuppa”. A cup of tea. The real medicine. So think of me in this moment of crisis, or better yet, pray for Marie when we play tug of war over my books! She is one tough cookie and one thing is certain – I am so grateful to have her in my life. A great friend and, heaven help me – ORGANIZER
She’s been here and gone, promising to return next Monday. Looks marvelous and lots of books are no longer with us! I can breathe. Yeah.