Flotsam and Jetsam

flotsam and jetsomMy project this month is the attic.

Angel Girl got things started for me – sorting through the things that have a designated place and just needed to go back.

But my job is harder. I’ve been working my way through the piles of stuff that don’t have a home.

The flotsam and jetsam of a family that somehow ended up in the attic.

The orphan shoe.

The pretty ribbon saved from a package.

Scraps of wrapping paper.

An old clock radio.

A cassette tape.

The box of curtains I bought – but never quite got hung.

A random toy horse.

The reproduction fife we bought Matt on vacation when he was four that a sibling later squished.

Random bits and pieces of life, overlooked, outgrown and unneeded on a daily basis.

Every piece must be touched and evaluated .

Keep?

Throw?

Donate?

A million tiny decisions.

The garbage pile gets bigger.

The donate pile tips over.

And there – on a small pile – are the treasures.

The few nuggets worth saving in the piles of stuff.

Mission accomplished.

Topsy Turvey

Jan and I were barely out of the driveway taking Matt to the airport when the kids started taking over Matt’s room.

And I do mean taking over.

It was time.

Matt lived totally out of his suitcase this trip – making it very obvious that he really didn’t need the space. While Angel Girl was having a hard time sharing a room with Dagmar because of her strange work hours.

(Going to work at midnight and coming home to sleep at 8 am makes it hard for Angel Girl to use their room during the day – not to mention the pager thing and the phone calls at all hours.)

Something had to change.

It was obvious I could no longer keep my shrine to Matt’s childhood. While he will always have a place to stay when he comes home (which I hope is frequently!) – he will no longer have a room to call his own.

<heavy sigh>

His siblings carefully and reverently (I hope) packed away the things he left at home and stored them in the attic.

Then things got a little crazy.

When the dust finally settled sometime Saturday night –

~  Dagmar got Matt’s room

~  Buddy got Matt’s dresser

~  Dagmar got Buddy’s dresser

~  Buddy got Matt’s bed

~  Pedro got Matt’s desk

~  Angel Girl got Pedro’s desk

~  We burned 5 bags of trash

~  We gathered three bags of clothes to donate

~  Millions of dust bunnies were exterminated

And everybody’s happy.

And tired.

And slept very well.

Change is emotionally and physically draining.

But you know – it’s also kind of freeing.

And It Is Done.

I made it.

When I woke up the morning of Christmas Eve, I knew that it would be at least New Year’s Day before I came up for air again.

I was right.

Here it is – several days into the New Year, the tree is finally down, the decorations put away for another year, Christmas letters are read, a new calendar is hung, Matt’s back in Colorado,  and I’ve finally come to the end of the laundry piles.

And there – at the bottom of the last pile was the Christmas table cloth, just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

We always eat by candlelight on Christmas Eve, and the candles always drip, and I never seem to have time to get the wax off so I can wash it and pack it away.

And so it waited. Until now.

Today’s list includes, finding my iron, several layers of paper towels, layering them with the tablecloth in the middle, and methodically melting away the wax.

It’s a slow job. But one that doesn’t involve thinking, or even much moving. Unlike the other jobs associated with packing away Christmas.

And for me – it signals the end of the holidays; my last task before I can close the book on Christmas 2012.

And then I can finally say, “It is done.”

Measure. Cut. Sew. Snip. Press. Repeat.

I’ve spent every spare minute the past week cutting material into little tiny pieces and then sewing it back together.

Maybe I’m crazy.

At least a little addicted.

But there’s something very relaxing about cutting little squares and methodically sewing them together to make geometric designs.

Sewing Quilt

My mind wonders as I measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

I plan menus, pray, listen to music.

Relax.

Measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

Piece by piece quilt blocks are forming in my hands.

Green. Blue. Plaid. Solid.

Rhythm. Order. Control.

Quilt Blocks

As my hands work, my mind slowly untangles the snarls of the day, almost unconsciously.

Measure, cut, sew, snip, press, repeat.

Schedules are figured out. Projects planned.  Lists created.

Little by little my pile of finished blocks grows – a tangible and very satisfying measure of my time.

A quilt is forming.

And peace reigns.

 

Spring Cleaning

I felt so rested and refreshed after Easter Sunday that I embarked on a rather ambitious project on Monday – I decided to clean the school room.
Cleaning

Our school room is rather misnamed. It should be called the “catch-all”.

It’s the little room tucked off the living room where we have many library shelves filled with books, my file cabinets, a couple of computers that no longer work and lots of stuff that I need to deal with it.

You know the stuff – it’s all the things that you discover while cleaning and don’t know what to do with.

“Just put it in the school room and I’ll decide later.”

And the things that are out and need to be put away quickly because company’s coming.

“Just put it in the school room and close the door. We can put it away later”

But later never came.  Until now.

It was a mess – but I was determined to deal with the clutter. I went through shelf after shelf, sorting through hundreds of books – each one an old friend.

I straightened, organized and yes – even purged a few. (Oh – but that was painful!)

I emptied boxes, sorted computer games, and worked my way through files.

Now three days later – bits and pieces from the school room are spread all over the downstairs as I sort and sift.

But there’s a problem.

I’m out of energy.

And company is coming.

You know what’s going to happen don’t you.

“Just throw it in the school room and I’ll decide later!”

I think I’ll close the door again. 🙂