I don't know how many heels Achilles had, but one of my many Achilles' heels is dealing with stuff. By "stuff" I mean things that come into our home and things that I use. I remember my mother-in-law once saying that when she came home from somewhere, she didn't feel right until she took a moment to put everything away. And I looked at her with such admiration and awe. Let's just say I have no internal chip that drives me to put things away.
I would say that the most common theme for me is bags.
For example, last December we returned home from our two family Christmases and I did what I do every year. I put everything down in the front hall and collapsed into bed. In the next day or two I consolidated the gifts into bags and dropped the bags in different rooms depending on what was in them. Kaycie's bag of toys got hung on her bedroom door, the bag of our stockings, gift bags and tissue paper was put in our bedroom until I could get a minute to take them to the basement, the normal bag of last minute Christmas cards and paper and tape and pens that I annually tote around everywhere was thrown on the kitchen table. That practice comes in handy in many ways. For example, this summer when I needed tissue paper, all I had to do was move a basket of folded laundry and a bag of baby clothes to find some tissue paper! AND... you can imagine the glee Ken and I experienced when we found the contents of our stockings when we decided to clean our bedroom this past September.
I need help.
Bags seem to be my coping mechanism for things I can't get to right away. A bunch of notes from Kaycie's school come in - I stuff them in a Sobey's bag and hang them on our mail organizer for later. Knolan dumps a chocolate milk in his lap, I stuff his pants in a Zellers bag and hang them on the railing to the basement to throw in the laundry later. I think I might do my hair in the morning, I stuff my velcro rollers and a hair dryer in a bag and throw it on the newel post at the top of the stairs so that I can blow dry my hair downstairs in the morning without waking anyone up. I have a bunch of crap that I need to bring in from the car - I fill up a tote bag, bring it in the house and hang it on the closet door knob. I buy groceries - I put away the perishables, and put a bag full of toiletries on the steps to go upstairs.
But for as much as the joy of finding 8 month old Jolly Ranchers and Christmas scratch and win tickets is basically unparalleled, there is the good, there is the bad, and there is the ugly.
Good = "Ken! Look! Gift cards and cash from our birthdays!!!"
Bad = I still don't know where my hair dryer and velcro rollers are... and it's been about 4 months.
Ugly = You haven't smelled gross until you've smelled month old chocolate milk.
Anyway, back to last week. It was about 3:00am and I was still up, sitting in bed with my laptop working away on a spreadsheet, eyes glazed over from the week that felt like it would last forever, 12 empty glasses on my night table, three bags on the floor beside the bed (one with garbage in it, one with papers to recycle, and of course, one with a baby gift for our neighbour's daughter who is now almost 3), unopened mail all over the place, laundry (dirty? clean? who knew, really) all around the bed, and papers all around me in bed and on the floor. Ken wakes up all bleary eyed and stunned, slowly realizing I hadn't gone to sleep yet, and that this wasn't the first time this week. He stumbled to the washroom and on his way back found me hanging my papers for work the next morning in a bag on our bedroom doorknob and then climbing over my crap pile to get back into bed. He wanders into the hallway, looking around and then comes back into the bedroom, looked at me with half-amusement and half-eye-rolling and said,
"You are a garbage city Blair Witch."
To which I responded with a delirious, unstoppable laughing fit.
I mean, the analogy was so perfect. I was so focused on work and commitments in those days, that I was almost on autopilot, compulsively working, building a nest of garbage, clothes, empty yogurt cups and water glasses around me, scaring my loved ones, and leaving bag talismans on every available doorknob.