Monday, January 2, 2012

She's Hired

JannyLou and I put away my Christmas decorations today.  It was a multi-layered event in oh-so-many-many ways.

I was a packrat when it came to packaging.  I held onto the boxes that were meaningful. There was the golden oval from Nieman Marcus with the sculptured floral arrangement permanently affixed to the lid.  There was the carefully wrapped in 1980's paper box and the self-sticking bubble wrap that fit neatly into the plain brown box the MackenzieChilds ornament has lived in since I was there one very hot summer 2 decades ago.  I saved significant shopping bags for strands of lights.  The White House Commemorative Ornaments sent to us by the Hoon's for as long as I can remember each lived in its own special flat box, complete with the explanatory notes... like a record album used to have liner notes..... but I digress.

When The Big Guy realized (a year and a week ago) that he could not expect the house to miraculously clean itself nor put away the holiday cheer on its own, he handed JannyLou and Fast Eddie his house key and said "Go for it."  He hadn't done that since we were first married and the Golden Gopher had his own room in our Chicago apartment for his weekly weekend escapes from Gary, Indiana.  He came to the conclusion that he couldn't do it on his own. 

The realization was huge for him.

Pulling out the boxes that our lovely neighbors had purchased at Lowe's and filled with my treasures was a very interesting experience.  Instead of my little boxes nestled in bigger boxes I opened large, clean packages of styrofoam peanuts and ornaments sleeping amongst their softness.  It was a pleasure to unpack them and place them right onto the tree.  I wasn't dealing with bubble wrap or wrapping paper I'd salvaged from gift boxes to help my memory recall the wonder in the recipient's eyes.  I was creating a new tree, a beautiful tree, with my own stuff in a different format.

It felt great.

The trash collectors come tomorrow and I wanted the tree to be gone.  This week is going to be an emotional roller-coaster and I want to be calm and sane by the time Little Cuter and SIR arrive in town on Friday.  I want everything that must be done to be done, and everything that must be considered to be considered, and everything that must be packed away to be packed away.

I started in the garage, because that's where the biggest mess existed.  I opened all the doors and began a desultory examination of the task ahead of me.  I was half-heartedly picking up bubble wrap and moving it all to one area of the garage when I saw JannyLou coming across the driveway.

Within minutes, she was engaged in the task. This makes two years in a row for her, since she picked up the slack for me due to my unforseen hiatus from the process last year.   She showed me how to lightly layer the popcorn.  She unfolded boxes and shoved them into the side of the recycling can.  She corralled the bubblewrap and the popcorn.  She lifted and toted and kept me company as I made executive decisions and, gradually, as the afternoon wore on, I began to see the floor. 

There was more than putting away, though.  We've each had a rough year in 2011 and neither of us is feeling much of a change on this first day of 2012.  We both wanted something marvelous, something huge, something clarifying and cleansing and tremendously wonderful.  We are both disappointed.

We laughed about that as we pondered ways to put this behind us and move forward with reckless abandon.  There are decisions to be made and plans to be fulfilled for each of us.... and that thickens the plot considerably.

But I think we were mistaken to be disappointed.  As I reconsider the afternoon, I think we found what we were looking for.  We were picking up the pieces of the year and we were doing it together.  We were listening to one another and understanding the depth of the throw-away comments we tossed around as my deocrative pillows and candle sticks made their way into cardboard homes for the next 11 months.

We have one another.  My tree is at the curb.  The floor is swept and there is nary a red ribbon to be found.  We are moving forward.... damaged, certainly, but moving nonetheless.... because it's what we do.


  1. "Amen," is all I can say to that.

  2. My God, I wish I was this organized! I asked hubby if he wanted to take the tree down today, but since we both are fighting a stomach virus compliments of our ten year old, we both just had enough energy to pick up the new toys that have been scattered all over the house.

    On New Year's Eve, it dawned on me about this week. I have Roxanna's book pre-ordered and it will be delivered to my Kindle and read on my iPad. As much as I can read it without sobbing. I read the first chapter on the Worthy Web site and was sobbing. :(

    It is going to be a hard week. I'm glad Little Cuter and SIR are going to be with you too.

    Oh, before I forget... my dad and step-mother gave hubby a sweatshirt that says, "The Big Guy" and my two year old one that says, "The Little Guy". I smiled when he opened them yesterday and immediately thought of you...


    Envious with your organization Megan xxx

  3. You are so very much on my mind.


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