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My husband once conjectured that pens morph into clothes hangers when you need pens and clothes hangers shape shift into pens when you need to hang a sweater. I have evidence to prove his theory. I corralled all the pens into the pen and pencil basket during my frantic five minute desk sweep earlier this week. Today one of my first tasks in the three day bedroom marathon (not the fun kind) was to hang up and put away the mountain of clothes at the foot of the bed so I could find the bed to change the linens. I hauled out all the spare hangers in the closet, worked my way through Mt. Sweatsuitntowel in good time and ended up with two sweaters and a pair of jeans without hangers. There were, however, three pens on my now cleared bedspread. Proof that clothes hangers turn into pens and proof that if you don’t hang up your clean clothes they’ll protect you from spearing yourself on a Bic in the night.

The problem areas in my bedroom include everything. Thus, I started in the corner by the window and worked my way around the room counter clockwise, moving boxes, vacuuming where the boxes had been, moving nightstands, vacuuming under nightstands, cleaning and polishing nightstands, the TV armoire and the bookshelf. I had just dusted and polished the armoire and the nightstands a week ago. The picture at the top of this post shows how much dust I get in this house. Everyone does out here. It’s not just me, at least that’s what I remind myself daily. We live in the desert, along the edge of a dry wash, on a gravel road. Dust hangs in the air and often obscures the mountains ten miles to the south. It creeps in vents, windows, doors, and comes in on clothing. Forget taking shoes off at the door. You don’t know how lucky you are if that’s all it takes to keep your floors clean. We’d have to strip and hose off before entering to keep from dragging in dust, dirt and bits of hay and this wouldn’t stop dust from coming into the house. The upside is, I’ll know if anything is missing because there will be a dust free spot.

I purged more books, more movies, and dear lord lugged a 70 lb cardboard box filled with model magazines, modelling books, history books, space and science mags, and old games into the out room. I did this while dodging dogs, dog toys and furniture. In my manual wheelchair. Backwards. Eat your heart out Ginger Rogers.

redbeansBehind that giant box of yard sale goods I made several discoveries.Ā  I discovered yet another box of DVDs from when I purged the closet last year and I discovered I’d not actually eaten all the canned red beans my best friend shipped me from Louisiana as comfort food after my husband passed away. I also discovered his favorite pair of beat up old sneakers and discovered I still can’t part with them yet. Keeping them feels like he’ll be back soon.

I think the toughest thing I did today was cleaning the bookshelf. It wasn’t difficult physically. It’s a cruddy little bookshelf we kept DVDs and his books and whatnot on because our real bookshelves were holding up his books in other parts of the house. I’d already purged most of his books from that shelf last fall. Amid the histories of various wars and how-to books on modelling, I found the last book he read. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It brought me to tears when I found it and it did so again today. One day I’ll have the strength of heart to read it, but not today.

bookshelfbeforebookshelf before


I didn’t want to put too much back on the bookshelf as I hope to move one of the nicer ones into that spot by Sunday and fill it with meaningful, comforting things. Useful things can go wherever useful things go, but my room needs to be something that gives me warm hugs and reminds me of the good things in my life and in the world.

I had lots of help today even though John was at work. I had to get down on the floor to deep clean the nightstands and the instant I did…


Here is a before picture of my Addams Family ceiling fixture.

addamsfamilyfixtureI can’t reach it, John will have to clean it and hand me the glass to wash. But it will get done by Sunday night. For now, I’m just leaving the light off and not looking up while I’m in bed. This has worked since my husband became ill. I really haven’t given a damn about much since he got sick. My patio and backyard projects last year helped me care about the outside of the house. The Cure is helping me care again about the inside of the house.