Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Strange Energies

I've been cleaning house with fiendish intensity the last few days. This is highly unlike me. I'm more the "sit in a pile of my own accumulated filth and flip channels" sort. But this cleaning thing has gone on for WEEKS. I've had episodes where I've been overcome with disgust and cleaned up a room or two. I've had the week of "pre-mom" panic cleaning. It's this strange new thing that has me boggled.

I'm serious . I was up last night at 11:30 pm folding laundry that had lived happily in a basket for over 2 weeks. Coming home for lunch today, I grabbed a broom and swept away cobwebs forming around the the little sidelight by the door -- they've easily been there since July or so. I got HAPPY when the floor was finally mopped to my satisfaction. This is just not normal Sherri "Housework Kills" behavior. I've given my vacuum cleaner a pet name, and I LOOOOOOOOVEEEE my Swifter Duster.

Husband and I have been theorizing. If (for some esoteric reason) you've read this weblog for any length of time, you know that my Mother-in-law (MIL) has finally moved into her own Florida home and will no longer be an occupation force in my home for the winter. This happened at the end of October. She is now firmly entrenched in her new home, getting settled into her new life, and we see her about once a week or so for lunch or to help with some project. My house is MINE. The room that once -- quite literally -- had a brass plaque on it procaliming "Mom's Room" has that plaque no longer, and is MY OFFICE. Getting that together has changed everything.

So the theory goes that, now I no longer have "panic cleaning" in my life, now that I no longer hybernate in the bedroom for 3 months, keeping my head down and my mouth closed while MIL runs the world, I've finally -- after 10 years and 10 months -- got a HOME OF MY OWN. No more "out of bounds" areas. No more storing stuff for other people. No more feeling like an unwelcome guest for a quarter of the year.

And, damn it, MY HOUSE will be clean. At least most of it. The bedroom still looks like I live here. Then again, I've NEVER managed to have a clean bedroom for more than a few days at a time (it's the place I go to unload everything, and I read in bed a lot so there are always piles of books and magazines next to the bed). Still, I'm thinking I can change that. I am pleased with my house. I WANT it to be clean and sweet smelling. I want it for ME, not to avoid the frowning looks and disapproving comments of someone else. It's freaking amazing how removal of a negative incentive brings back the energy.

The only downside is neglect of my writing practice, but I'm not terribly worried about that. I have to make time to do that, and I have been using that time -- not to stare mindlessly at a computer or tv screen, but to improve my life and my environment. I'm always happiest when my house is mostly tidy and clean, with just enough messy spots that I don't feel scared to eat in the living room.

Of course, this new trend of sitting at an actual table on an actual chair may take some getting used to.

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We are going on a cruise in a few weeks -- at least theoretically, as our tickets haven't arrived despite the huge dent in our credit card. This is a real, actual, 10 day cruise to the Carribean. One of those cruises where you dress up in evening-wear for dinner.

I bought dresses. I mean dresses -- one is burgundy georgette with beading and this incredible velvet trench coat, the other is a plum velvet with silk inserts at the skirt. They are the kind of dresses usually called "gowns". I have to wear heels and stockings (well, cheater stockings -- I hate and abominate pantyhose) and make sure my pits are shaved and ALL that. I need sparkly jewelry. I may even need a freaking EVENING BAG (the two I have are roughly 40 years old and were my mother's...I'm afraid of them. My mom didn't have a lot of evening functions and these bags weren't intended to last this long. They may bio-degrade at any second.)

There are still some other items to purchase, like another pair of dress shoes (Mine are pretty ratty at this point).

Here's the kicker -- I will have to take approximately three pieces of luggage. I no longer OWN three pieces of luggage. I gave away my set to a friend because I had gotten one of those rollaway bags and never used the rest. Suddenly, I need a bag just to carry FREAKING SHOES.

I'm not a shoe whore. I have friends who are shoe whores, who grow faint at the smell of new leather, who have more shoes than they have bobby pins or eyeshadow or old ex-boyfriend stories combined. I buy a shoe, I wear a shoe, it falls apart and goes to the back of the closet in retirement. I have big ol' feet that don't LIKE shoes much. I go barefoot most of the time, actually, unless it's blisteringly hot or freezingly cold.

But I will need, by my reckoning, at least 5 pairs of shoes for this trip. I will need a shoe I can walk a lot in (either my trainers or my walking boots), a pair of everyday shoes for shipboard days, a pair of not-that-dressy-but-sort-of-dressy shoes, and at least two pairs that go with my dresses. I will possibly need some sandles for beach-ish activity. I'll need shoes in case it gets cold (and, at sea, it does -- I've cruised in winter before.) I'll need shoes I can wear when it's hot. Foot comfort is a big deal to me. I'm in trouble here, folks!

Men have all purpose shoes. My husband figures he can get buy, even pushing it, with black dress, brown dress, trainers and slide-ons. He could conceiveably skip the brown dress shoes.

Eh, it's not that I'm precisely COMPLAINING, mind you, I'm just facing a problem I've never considered before IN MY LIFE. I have little experience in shoe-packing, shoe-outfit matching, and shoe chosing. I can't really judge what is and isn't necessary. I am not shoe-coordinated.

Maybe I'll just get some of those rubber-soled socks and crouch so my long skirts cover them...

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