Before you get all skritchy, this is NOT a post about how to clean during this COVID-19 pandemic. I promise! It’s about… well, it’s about how a lot of us are coping with some of the weird changes that have occurred – and continue to occur – in our rapidly changing world.
This will be Musette’s Musings Lite. A really skittery post because, to be honest, I’m not having a very good time with my own thoughts these days.
By nature, I’m a cleaner. I have been told that I clean ‘unconsciously’ – and not only do I do it at my own home, I’m liable to do it at yours. So if you come into your kitchen and find all the cabinet faces and handles, etc washed…. it was probably me. The good thing is, my friends KNOW this, even though I am unaware of having done it (auto-cleaning? Ambien-clean?). So no offence is intended and none (apparently) is taken. And hey! You get a clean kitchen! What’s interesting is during this enforced isolation, a lot of my friends who are by nature NOT cleaners, have suddenly found themselves cleaning and reorganizing! Closets! Cabinets! Shelving! I suspect it’s an urge to control some aspect of our currently uncontrollable situation. When we are all released back into the wild, they’ll be able to access that Staub pot that was hiding in the back of the cupboard!
It’s official. I am a hoarder. But not in that ‘newspapers to the ceiling’ kind of way (I worked with a guy whose entire office was floor to ceiling newspapers! The only way they could get them out of there was Building Maintenance! and a scissors lift! Seriously. So, no. Not that kind of hoarding). My hoarding is totally ridiculous in that I hoard the things I bought SPECIFICALLY for something. Case in point: SOLO cups. I buy them for one reason only: to germinate (or harden off) seedlings. If you come to my house you will NOT get a beverage in a SOLO cup, so it’s not like I’m saving them for some future cookout. Nope. Just. For. Seedlings. So, imagine my surprise when I found myself getting panicky about using all of the SOLO cups. For seedlings! And it’s not like they’re toilet paper – go to any grocery store and you’ll find shelves full of SOLO cups.
So what gives? I think I inherited a bit of my mom’s gene – she wasn’t a hoarder but she placed value (?) on weird things. I remember her absolute certainty that Mrs Butterworth bottles would be a collector’s item in the future. When she died I found three (THREE!) boxes of Mrs Butterworth bottles, washed, labels removed (hence destroying any collectability, had there ever been one to begin with (hint: nope). She’d even shrink-wrapped them!!!
I pray nobody finds boxes of SOLO cups in my storage room. To be fair… I do wash and reuse them – they’re usually good for several seasons… so maybe…….
Okay – this one is a bit sad. And a bit liberating. Mostly liberating – but also a bit sad. So. El O was a hoarder/tosser (in ALL the iterations of that word but for this post we’ll focus on the ‘buying stuff and tossing it somewhere’ definition). Sooo much money was spent re-buying things that he’d already bought – and never moreso than Stuff you find in a garage. I considered the garage the least of my worries but it turns out that The Garage was the weird trigger for me – just looking at mounds of… crap… made me feel anxious and enraged. So, on a chilly Saturday I embarked on Operation GTFOH! A friend asked why I didn’t just sweep all the crap into trash bags. Well! Hoarders of El O’s type rarely separate the wheat from the chaff. The 4 hours I spent combing through all that detritus netted me, amongst other things:
an unopened coil of electrical wire
18 Allen wrenches
a pipe wrench (anyone with old plumbing knows the value of a pipe wrench. Also great for home defense)
bags and boxes of unopened connectors and caps and stuff like that
A tote full of MY GARDEN STUFF (including a fountain pump that I was planning to purchase! Squeee!)
A partridge in a pear tree (okay, I made that one up)
My circular saw (when you live with someone as handy as El O, DIY isn’t something you even think about. Now I have to think about it again – and I’m glad to have my tools!)
Most important – by taking on that filthy, triggering task I am actually claiming this space as my own. This is not where I expected to be – but you know what? Feck it. It’s where I am and it’s totally FOINE! But it’ll be mo’ betta if I excise the ick and start thinking of it as mine. Well, mine and Jane’s – or maybe just Jane’s. Ya nebber know with her!
So. There’s so much more I want to share with you but this is getting long. So tell me – what are you musing about right now? How are you doing during this weirdAF time? I know this is a stressful time for so many of you (it’s stressful for me even though, for the most part, it’s my Regular Life on steroids). How are you managing? Please feel free to share here – you are heard and respected here and I hope you feel comfortable in knowing that.
I would tell you I would have The Girl poke a pawnail but, to be honest, right now I’m not good for it. I dash in to our tiny little PO, grab my mail from the box and get the hell OUT! People here are completely careless and, if you can believe it, in this teeny, 1400-person town, we’ve had at least one COVID-19 case (he’s fine – but his colleague is on a ventilator). The number of people not taking any safety precautions is terrifying so I mostly stay out of spaces (it’s ironic that I actually feel safer in the larger areas, isn’t it? but perhaps that’s the whole thing – Kroger’s employees are masked and gloved. Here? nah.)