Making room for a better desk for my husband, shifting and sifting through towering stacks of papers, rearranging upstairs bedrooms where grandchildren sleep when they visit — and doing something about the heaps of toys, books, and games, which are clogging what is called the playroom — isn’t a bad way to begin a new year.
Chris has semi-retired, going from full-time work at Pace University in Lower Manhattan to two days a week. After having what he refers to as a weekend marriage for 16 years, he will be here most of the time, now, and we have to find physical space for him to have a proper home office.
I wouldn’t call us hoarders, exactly, but we both do have a penchant for keeping and accumulating things that really aren’t necessary: brochures detailing last season’s opera schedule, newspaper clippings about sled-race dogs that we never did send to that grandchild, binders filled with warrantees for small appliances that broke years ago . . .
We spent Sunday going through boxes and files that had accumulated, mine and his. It will feel good when things fall into place again, I am sure. Actually, it feels pretty good already, especially when I look under the bed and around the corner of the bedroom where we have two computer tables and see them uncluttered and swept clean.
Of course, I’ve been officially semi-retired myself for some time — ever since my son David took over as editor of The Star. But in my case (what with the office right down the lane and the responsibilities I continue to have there), I have continued to work most of the week. Furthermore, even though I have one desk at home and another at the office, I haven’t found it possible to confine the work I do to the logical places. It tends to spread all over the house.
I’m afraid my husband and I are workaholics, which is going to make organizing our time together more difficult.
Meanwhile, the clean-sweep impulse took me upstairs, too. I got help moving two bookcases, one bed, a crib, and a dresser from one place to another on Sunday. We have books here from three generations of children. Since my own kids were small, I’ve loved having all sorts of interesting old hardcovers around, especially from their father’s generation, but enough is enough! It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff and give away at least a few boxfuls. There’s a big bookcase upstairs of children’s books handed down in my husband’s family, too, and I suppose it’s time he figured out a better place for most of them.
The living room is also in flux, or, I should say, it’s pretty much empty. A couch and three chairs have gone off to an upholsterer, and I’m not sure when they will be back. That encouraged me to have the floors waxed, however, and they’ve never looked better.
To be honest, I’m not sure whether it was Chris’s new schedule that prompted this passion for reorganizing everything I can get my hands on or whether the mild weather this winter has fooled me into doing what might be called spring cleaning. Whichever — it’s about time.