Where there’s a will, there’s a pump­kin

Maryland Independent - - Southern Maryland Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

It’s af­ter La­bor Day: of­fi­cially pump­kin time.

I’m some­what crazed about all things gourd-re­lated, as we know, but I do force my­self to wait un­til Septem­ber be­fore turn­ing my house into its own lit­tle corn maze. The John­son res­i­dence is bland for nine months of the year, but fall? Christ­mas? I don’t mess around.

The only trou­ble, of course, is try­ing to dec­o­rate on top of clut­ter. It’s just com­pound­ing an ex­ist­ing prob­lem, you know? But with a tod­dler on the loose, I’ve had to re­lease some per­fec­tion­ist ten­den­cies to pre­serve my san­ity. It’s not pretty, but it is nec­es­sary.

Like many folks, I cre­ate pock­ets of “stor­age” in avail­able nooks around my house. It would make too much sense to, you know, have all my clothes and ac­ces­sories in one closet. I pre­fer to have them scat­tered hap­haz­ardly across mul­ti­ple rooms. Re­ally adds va­ri­ety, you know?

Some of my sel­dom-worn-but-want-to-keep items — like my wed­ding dress — are cur­rently in the closet of a spare bed­room. This is the same cesspool of mis­ery I’ve ref­er­enced when get­ting ready for our yard sale, go­ing through old high school mem­o­ra­bilia, etc. You would think sham­ing my­self by writ­ing about it re­peat­edly would in­spire some ac­tion . . . but you’d be wrong. Cute, but wrong.

When Spencer and I were mov­ing in, any­thing that didn’t have a log­i­cal home — pots in the kitchen; linens in the closet — wound up either in the base­ment or Hulk Room, said spare bed­room so named for its green walls and pur­ple shag car­pet. There wasn’t yet an Oliver, but the bed­room clos­est to ours was al­ready con­sid­ered the nurs­ery. The Hulk Room was left to rot.

I’m be­ing dra­matic, but it is frus­trat­ing to walk down the hall and see that dis­or­ga­nized, ran­sacked space ev­ery day. Again: nor­mal folks might be com­pelled to, like, clean or some­thing, yet ev­ery week­end rolls around and finds us with 1,118 things we’d rather be do­ing.

I’m great at that: find­ing other ways to oc­cupy my time. Less pro­duc­tive, in­con­se­quen­tial ways, typ­i­cally . . . but in my own de­fense, our tod­dler re­quires con­stant eye­balls — and the days of us tack­ling tasks to­gether have been sus­pended. It’s much eas­ier to get stuff done with mul­ti­ple peo­ple keep­ing each other mo­ti­vated. Alone in the Hulk Room? Well, I’m prob­a­bly just check­ing Face­book.

There is noth­ing baby-safe about the spare bed­room. The floor is lit­tered with staples and saw­dust from pre­vi­ous home projects, the sup­plies for which are aban­doned in a cor­ner. Stacks of plas­tic bins con­tain the de­tri­tus carted over from my child­hood bed­room, plus ev­ery­thing else I’m not sure what to do with.

Many of my clothes are there, too. In the past three years, I’ve worn five dif­fer­ent sizes — plus ma­ter­nity wear. As I’m back on the, er, larger end of that spec­trum, I fi­nally re­moved from my closet any­thing I could barely wear even back in my ex­treme weight loss days. Only cur­rent sizes al­lowed. No sense liv­ing in the past.

We spent our La­bor Day week­end talk­ing about mak­ing changes around the ol’ homestead, and I did man­age to find my duster to clear out some of the res­i­dent dust bun­nies on and un­der ta­bles and chairs. With Oliver crawl­ing all around the house, I’m more aware of our floors than ever be­fore. In a bad way.

But I think I started and stopped 10 projects over the course of the three days we were home. It was the first year in many that we weren’t trav­el­ing over La­bor Day — and though I’d planned to view it as a stay-cation of sorts, I couldn’t bring my­self to sit on the couch. Not with so much un­opened mail scream­ing at me.

My son is in an adorable phase where he says “bye!” quite cheer­fully to any­one en­ter­ing or ex­it­ing a room. As I ran around scrub­bing and dis­in­fect­ing the down­stairs (and a smidge of the up­stairs, too), Oliver was whip­ping around to wave at me so of­ten I feared the kid was get­ting whiplash.

But I want to get things un­der con­trol. Fall feels like a clean slate, and we’re head­ing into the busiest time of the year. If I’m over­whelmed now, how will I con­trol the de­scent to­ward Christ­mas? How will we ever get our house in or­der?

Well, in “or­der.” Be­cause or­der is def­i­nitely rel­a­tive these days.

Some folks em­brace spring clean­ing. But me? I guess I’m all about au­tumn clean­ing. Mostly so I can set all my ce­ramic pump­kins out.

“You can’t dec­o­rate a mess,” my mom al­ways says — and I be­lieved that. Un­til I had my own house, any­way.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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