Tuesday, January 08, 2008

fresh start to old habits

Each year, as our family unboxes all the cherished memory-laden treasures to start decorating for our Christmas holiday season, we moan about who put things away the previous year in such a muddled mix. And each year we solemnly determine to have all the lovely Christmas decorations put away this time in an organized fashion by the sixth of January, the last day of our family's celebration. And each year, the only one left by the sixth of January to carry out this pledge is me. So I'm knee-deep in muddle once again.

I'm not obsessed by organization. Long ago I realized that if God really wanted me to be organized, he would have given me the secret to clone myself, so the other me could take on all the chores this me does so pathetically. No, I simply want the fun of decorating and creating scenarios for our family's gathering to be aided by some degree of knowing where the heck the stuff is. But by the sixth of January, my attention has moved on, impatient with the boring task of packing up the recent glorious past and reducing it to pedestrian order. Instead, serendipity takes over again, and stuff gets moved and maybe packed as I happen to need that particular space.

The dining room is not currently on the list of immediately needed spaces. All the family, houseguests, and the sprightly grandchild who stayed over for an extra week of fun with Nana are firmly back in their own routines in their own habitats. Even my husband is out of town. That leaves me with the quiet I crave, along with a craving for some personal regeneration after all that recently spent energy. What I really yearn to do is curl up in the cushy loveseat by the big back window, daydream a little as I observe the winter sky, and catch up on that growing pile of books that beckons forlornly. Unfortunately, those other piles of dislocated treasures have been accumulating in the dining room. The no-longer-fresh greenery is gone, leaving static arrangements of silver and glass. The straw joulupukki are huddling in the corner, trying to remember where their stable is. The partridge hovering atop the hall mirror is feigning invisibility like a possum, hoping to avoid the jumble and simply stay put, maybe for the whole year. Again.

But oh my, that new nutcracker! Over the years, during the several times we've lived in Germany, we've accumulated a wonderful collection of hand-carved and hand-painted wooden nutcrackers that we bring to the celebration each December. In spite of their occasional weapons, they are all normal-sized and well-behaved, and each has his own storage box proudly labeled and documented, even if some years the more intrepid stay out and abroad.

This December my husband came home triumphantly, grinning from ear to ear, with his new find: a gigantic solid nutcracker that reaches above my waist and weighs the equivalent of a tree trunk. The grandchildren applauded and danced around him. The visiting neighbors all noticed him and were amused. Since there was no denying my husband his trophy, captured on early sale from Costco (his favorite one-stop shopping mecca) and somehow representing his European background, His Regal Redness still fiercely guards his toys till his master consents to consign him out of the limelight and into the shadows of Christmas Future. Not only can I not budge this behemoth, but I have no idea where to store him if I could. Actually, it's nice to have at least one chore that is NOT my job. So I give the big fella a pat on the cap now and then as I pass by.

Of course, I have other excuses for not yet painstakingly packaging away the last of the Santas and tonttus, trees and ornaments, and many glittery things. Sunday, which was the sixth of January, required my full attention elsewhere for a full day of teaching at Scrapbooks Plus. And back at my desk, I am loath to do without the soft glimmer of my small pink and white tree even as it gets unceremoniously shoved aside by the growing miasma of Valentine stuff for my next class project. Want an in-progress peek?


Jeanette said...

What a lovely view you have from your studio. :)

carol wingert said...

I think you need to extend your deadline for taking stuff down :). I vow to have it down by Valentine's Day every year. Last year, I cut it close...February 13th! Oh well, life still went on.

Watching the winter sky, reading the growing stack and planning the next class all sound like way better alternatives!

Can't wait to see what you do with your red products!