Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#2: hillbilly feng shui

i like lists. they look orderly. there are those who say it's lazy writing, an easy way out. well, screw those people. it's not easy. it may be easier than a beautifully designed essay, but it's harder than it seems. you have to think about the list, make decisions, decide what stays, what goes, what order to put things in and validate them to yourself as well as others. 

the only reason i bring this up is because i mentioned in the title of this post that it was #2. i do like order. the older i get, the more i like things in their place.  take, for instance, a recent trip by my brother and my two nephews to the cabin, where i am now.  i spend as much time as i can up here, especially these days when i'm not teaching much or at all and the health of my parents is stable and my girlfriend is hard at work.  i've spent some time up here clearing the property we own in front of the cabin so that we can have a better view of the creek and river. once i did that, i worked on our neighbor's property (with their blessing) so we'd have an even better view. it became an obsession of mine, but a pleasant one. now it looks more orderly as well and i have a nice view of the river to look at while i listen to the red sox play.

so, over time, i've gotten the interior of the cabin to look the way i want it to as well.  you know the maxim "a place for everything and everything in its place"? that's what i did last winter. with the help of mary and the intrepid boxer (actually maggie did very little other than to provide moral support), we organized the kitchen drawers, the closets, bookshelves, etc. and found places for all those things you find in a house, hammers, nails, scissors, twine, forks, knives, fishing tackle, clothes, knickknacks (i looked it up, it's really spelled that way), gewgaws (also looked up), and the like.

a quick aside: i give maggie the title of intrepid because she is just that (mostly... she is afraid of mirrors and ceiling fans, but what the hell, i am too). she will run headlong into the densest forest, the tallest grasses with reckless and fearless abandon, bounding through like a deer, in search of rabbits; she will stand by my side and protect me no matter the danger, be it a great dane or marauder (there are a lot of marauders in arkansas apparently. who knew?).

where was i? oh yes, order. after all that hard work, the cabin has an order, a nice rhythm and flow to it. call it hillbilly feng shui.  so when the wrecking crew, the triumvirate -- the hurricane, tornado and whirling dervish (as i like to call them) -- show up, insanity ensues. clothes are scattered about, food is all over the counters and tables, chairs and floor. half eaten cookies, sandwiches, empty cans are strewn about in a madcap display of disorder. cabinets are left wide open, toothpaste is on the toilet for some reason and the smell of unwashed youth permeates the room.  keep in mind these are three men ranging from their 20's to 50's who spend all day fishing, cleaning said fish and generally sweating and eating and farting. this is all bad enough. at least when they are gone, the mess is mostly gone with them.  what is left, and most disturbing, is the lack of order and distinct impression that something is wrong...

the first clue something is not quite right happens when i need to cut open a package of ritz crackers. i reach into the drawer and blindly reach for the scissors. and keep reaching. i turn to look and see they are gone. i look in the other drawer, not there either.  i found them in the bedroom. no big deal, someone had to cut something in the bedroom. fine.  next i look for the steak knives. i have four of them, thereby limiting the amount of people who can come over at one time (sneaky bastard that i am). there are only two. those lost were found in another kitchen drawer.  no biggie. then, today, i needed the flashlight to search under the couch for my nephew's mouth guard. i looked in the drawer under the microwave where it's supposed to be. it's not there. i search under the sink. nope. i then search all the closets. still no flashlight. i'm stymied but, using a bit of maggie's intrepid nature, i mush on, determined to search the whole cabin if need be.

and i did need.  i finally found the flashlight on the very top of the shower caddy in the downstairs bathroom next to the shampoo no one ever uses and frankly should be thrown away.  what was it doing in the shower? one can only guess, and frankly i choose not to.

they are now gone and while i miss them terribly, the cabin once again has it's peace and order restored.

wait -- where is the bedroom clock? perhaps i best go look behind the toilet...

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