Yesterday evening, I warmed up the delicious flounder fillets I had prepared in the morning. I turned the oven on and when the fish was hot, I served dinner. SIX HOURS LATER, I was getting ready for bed and as I was turning out the lights in the kitchen, heat seemed to be emanating from the oven. I checked it – and it was still on the 325 degrees. I could have made a whole Thanksgiving feast in the hours I had, accidentally, left the oven on.
I fret when I do things like that because I have a reputation of being meticulous, responsible, reliable, OCD, anal, and a perfectionist.
“Am I getting senile?” I remembered to ask myself and my husband.
When I woke up this morning, I patted myself on the back for having gotten out to make it to my exercise class on time. I remembered to take my combination lock that I have not used for the past month. (Winter was fine until five weeks ago and after one storm and another and another and another, we stopped going to work out). I looked at the lock in my hand and could not remember the numbers. I tried two different combinations and got it my third try!
“So, I am not senile after all,” I laughed and turned to my husband.
“You should have written the numbers down,” he chided me. Then I remembered that I had, indeed, written down the combination in my cell phone. Only I had forgotten that I had ever done that.
Which counts more: what I remembered or what I forgot?
How many pair of reading glasses do you own? I have six pair sprinkled all over my house. One pair is on the nightstand, of course, for reading at night. One is on the dresser for when I can’t find the pair on the nightstand. One pair is on the desk and another is on a tray on the bed in the den/second or guest bedroom/ office with the desk. One pair is by the telephone on the kitchen counter. One pair is on the table in the entry so that I can see who sent me what when I take in the mail. One pair is supposed to be wrapped around my neck as my latest and most valuable accessory. I told you in a beginning blog, you don’t need the jewelry, but you need the accessories. This one is a big brass circle strung on a heavy piece of leather and its sole purpose is to hold the pair of eye bobs I treated myself to and that you can buy on amazon. This pair should be sewn into my chest because even with all the pairs that are placed strategically throughout the house, inevitably, when I have to give my credit card info, I can never find a single one of them. I get so frustrated that I go out and buy yet one more pair of glasses that gets misplaced even though I placed it very carefully in a most obvious place! Reading glasses have replaced socks as the most MIA item in my very organized and meticulously neat house.
Do you have the same problem? How many pairs do you own? How minutes a day, week, a month, a year do you spend looking for them?
For years now I had a big sign “ACHIEVE” in capital letters carved out of wood sitting atop my book shelves in our office/den/second bedroom. It seemed appropriate at the time. We were not yet semi retired. We were still trying hard “to achieve,” although now ten years later, I cannot for the life of me remember what it was we were trying to achieve.
Once you are retired, you realize there is no more achieving. Your goal is to just get through the day, the week, the month, the year – stay healthy, pay the bills, and enjoy.
When I was on the local tv show to talk about my “decluttering dilemma” blogs along with the professional declutterer, a young woman on the tv crew asked me if she could have my “ACHIEVE” sign as I had brought that item in as an example of something I had but did not need.
I gave her the sign.
Now when I look up, there is an empty space on the top shelf. I remember that Barbara, the professional declutterer, said that the rule of thumb is – if you bring something new in, you should let something old go. Well, I let the something old go, and now I think I need a new sign that says: “NO NEED TO ACHIEVE.” Do you think I can find that at Homegoods? No but you can find this one on Etsy!!!!
When I told my friend my vision, he said he was thinking about establishing a fund and giving away theater tickets in order for the living to remember him. “Here, it’s on me,” he wanted to say from his grave. My husband liked that idea and thought that maybe he would establish a fund that would give away Yankee tickets. He might get a busload of people wanting to remember him. But that would leave me giving away books or tickets to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (I obviously would not be needing a bus).
My daughter found a nature preserve upstate NY, where bodies are buried unmarked. I think she hopes we will sign on there so that she will have one more excuse to go hiking.
Since we are the “ME” generation, proud of breaking rules and pushing the envelope, is anyone planning to do something unique? Or will you, in the end, settle for the same old, same old traditional / religious last rites?
AND WHEN EXACTLY ARE YOU PLANNING ON PURCHASING THAT COVETED PLOT? I have been throwing away those advertisements since I was forty!!!!!!!!!
When I was studying interior space planning for commercial applications, we were given a funeral parlor to redesign. It was a local business, and looked more like a pizza parlor than anything else to me. The walls had walnut formica paneling halfway up. The top part was a blue and green floral print wallpaper. Heavy drapes closed the windows off for privacy. When I went into measure the two viewing rooms, I realized I was not alone.
You have to forgive me – I was in my early twenties and I was not raised Catholic. But the bodies gave me a sense of purpose and drama. I decided to embellish on the theatrics. I drew up a stage on the diagonal. I thought about the kind of stage lights that give off a cloudy haziness. I wanted the body to be the focal point. I wanted 4 different colored upholstered light weight chairs that could be moved around to form spontaneous conversation groups. I was thinking sorbet colors – soft blueberry, raspberry, peach, and mango. I wanted soft peach or blueberry carpeting. I thought the viewing could serve as the transitionary send off. I wanted to allude to a heaven that I desperately wanted to believe in.
Do you know the commercial where a young mother is holding a cell phone and walking out of a house? She asks her mother about the house that had been on the market. It might even be the house next door. (PLEASE do not ask me what the commercial is selling. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast and besides whether it is a realtor or a phone company or dog food, it it irrelevant to my point!). Her mom tells her the house sold. The daughter says: “I know” and walks out of the house, up to her mom, kisses her, and lets her know that she was the buyer!
Well, that has become my favorite commercial ever since my cousin’s daughter moved into an apartment in the same condo building as my cousin. Why did her daughter do that? So that when her oldest gets dropped off from school, he can go directly to his grandparents and she can continue to work carefree for the rest of the day.
Am I the only mom who is wishing and hoping that will happen to her? I go to open houses in our neighborhood and pray.
I remember how hard it was to be a single mom, raise a daughter, and work two jobs.
Every time I call my daughter, I ask her if there is anything we can do to help. And every time, she tells me she is fine. That is how I know she is not yet mature. When you are truly mature, you can’t believe that anyone else is actually OFFERING help and you don’t hesitate – the definitive “yes” just pops out and you feel such relief and gratitude.
I have this theory that you take the average life span and you divide it in half. The first half you are just growing up and the second half you are an adult. Prehistoric man lived maybe thirty years. So, they became became adults when they were in their teens. Since we are living on average into our 80s, we can’t expect our “adult children” to be really mature until they are middle aged!!!!! I don’t know you feel about it, but my theory explains an awful lot of ridiculous behavior!
The thing that got me started thinking about my “stuff” was a conversation I had with a complete stranger while we were standing on line at the Marriott in Birmingham, AL. I was there visiting my step children. Out of the blue, the woman in front of me on the line for breakfast omelets started telling me that she was in Birmingham to clean out her mother’s estate. She could not believe how much stuff she had to go through. She said she wished that her mother had given her a manual full of stories because she could not fathom the reason behind the items. What did they mean to her mother? To her they were just junk. She could not make heads or tails out of the clutter and she did not have the time to go through all of it. She had to get back to Texas to work.
When we got home, I looked around my tiny beach cottage home. I saw all the paintings that no one will be able to store even if they wanted to. I saw my furniture through the eyes of my daughter and step children. I have Ethan Allen traditional pieces alongside garage sale chic. Every item has a story. But who had time to tell the story and who had time to listen?
And besides, the adult kids all want West Elm. They aren’t interest in our stuff.