Thursday, November 20, 2008

Piles of Stuff

Since my diagnosis, cleaning my house has been limited. I find picking up a few things, dusting, and making my bed to be the extent of my energy. The dog hair drives Dave crazy so he is motivated to sweep and vacuum. Without the children here, these small efforts keep the house fairly orderly.

However, an exception exists in the form of piles in the family room/kitchen area. We all have these spots in our homes and I do believe they are inevitable. Men have to have a place to empty their pockets when they arrive home. Dave's spot is on my kitchen counter top in a corner area I like to keep open to put some of my pottery pieces. Usually, his I-phone plug in cord is hanging there. Of course, his wallet and I-phone are dumped there along with a couple of dirty kleenex tissues and spare change. Often, I see business cards, notes from his assistant, and receipts along with buttons and screws. Finally, if he has worn a tie, off it comes to be tangled with the I-phone cord. The next morning, when he goes to work, he takes the wallet and I-phone but leaves everything else to be mixed with the next load at the end of the day.

Our kitchen has a built-in desk. This is where the bills and the mail accumulate. For some reason, there is a big delay for taking the junk mail off the desk and placing it in the recycling bin. It is amazing how we put everything of importance on the desk but we still lose things only to find them months later right on the desk (like my jury summons a few months ago). Since I have not done much shopping, we have 3000 Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons stacked there. Val-pak coupons for gutter cleaning and various restaurants are saved as if they are money. We pay bills online so the desk has about 1000 empty bill envelopes mixed with bank statements and other important documents. Rarely, do we see the bare surface of the desk.

The laundry room counter is through a door right next to the kitchen desk so it has become an extension of the kitchen desk. The thousands of medical bills and statements we have received for my treatment have found themselves in piles in the laundry room. At least Dave is organized and on top of the medical situation so the bills are at least in two or three rather neat piles. But still, I cannot use the counter top for its intended purpose---to fold laundry.

Last of all, I have a magazine pile. We have a glass table at the end of the couch. Actually, it is a piece of circular glass sitting on a stump. Ok, people, this is the Pacific Northwest and we have weird furniture out of trees and driftwood and shells and stuff. Not only does this end table hold a number of issues of Coastal Living and Food and Wine, but it has become the repository for all of the Christmas catalogs we receive everyday. The table is next to my regular perch since I have been sick, and I intend to do my Christmas shopping from this spot using the numerous catalogs. Nothing holds the glass to the stump and I fear the whole shabang is going to topple over in the middle of the night smashing glass everywhere and traumatizing Apolo even more than he already is.

The scary thing I noticed last night when Dave got home and brought in the mail is that once the pile places are filled to capacity, the kitchen counter top begins to be transformed into yet another spot for a pile. And this place becomes an unruly mixture of absolutely everything including newspapers. Before I got sick, on a regular basis it was my job to attack the piles. My efforts would fill the recycle bin and reveal surfaces we hadn't seen in weeks. I love my house to be clutter free. But lately, I haven't exactly had the energy.

Until I am feeling better after my last chemo, I think my house is doomed to piles. After all, you cannot expect a man for whom it is normal to clutter up a pretty part of my kitchen with the contents of the bowels of all of his pockets, to care about sorting through back issues of Coastal Living.