Monday, January 26, 2009

Back to (what usually passes as) normal

I think it may be safe to say we're all better now. Phew. The Viking's sinus infection is still trying valiantly to hang on, but he's been throwing lovely antibiotics at it that are steadily, if slowly, doing it in. Somehow, I managed to sidestep a full-blown infection and just felt like a damp rag for four days straight. But that's all behind me! And, thankfully, the children did not get it.

So, do you want to know what I've done with my new-found energy and vitality? In addition to keeping up with my cooking and laundry duties, which are humming along nicely, if not perfectly, I have completed one of the most time-consuming and dreaded of all tasks in our home: cleaning out the files. I think you might know what I mean....isn't it dreadful?

We have two locations for files. All our current paperwork is kept in the file drawer of the computer desk, right in the kitchen, right at our fingertips, as it were. Bills, medical forms, important documents, bank records, all that stuff is kept close by. Stuff that is more than a year old but still needs to be kept on file goes in file boxes stored in the basement, high on a shelf in case we ever get a bit of water down there. The really important stuff (birth certificates, passports, etc) are locked in our secret, water-and-fire-proof vault. Miles below the city. Guarded by dragons. And managed by goblins. Okay, too much Harry Potter?

Every now and then, (usually once a year or so) the files in the desk drawer get full to bursting and cannot hold another single sheet of paper. When that happens, you would think someone who would have the sense to reason, "Hmmm, perhaps it would behoove me to sort through these files and relegate the older documents to the basement or rubbish bin?" You would also think it might occur to that same person, or, perhaps, another reasonably sane, perfectly capable and responsible person living nearby, to then take a quick peek into the basement boxes and clear out files old enough to be discarded to make room for the new ones.

But no. What all seemingly-responsible persons in this house do instead is to pile papers into the basket sitting on top of the desk which is supposed to be for papers needing our immediate or continued attention. Our household "in" box, if you will.

I don't want to tell you how high that pile in the basket had gotten to be. It was in serious danger of toppling over and burying a small child beneath its bulk. It was a nasty paper-cut waiting to happen! We hadn't been able to find anything for months!

I suppose it was the advent of tax season that prompted me to take a good, hard look at our filing situation. In our house, tax season begins right after Christmas. The Viking started making his annual tax-related grunts and groans and I knew a good, thorough file cleaning was on my horizon.

So, this past weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and just get it done. I had The Viking haul the boxes from the depths of the dungeon. I checked to see when the good programs were scheduled on PBS and parked my bottom on the couch in front of the tv, leafing, sorting, tossing and labeling. The menfolk were more than happy to dispose of the rubbish pile for me, dancing with glee around the well-supplied, paper-fed bonfire in the back yard. Man-Cub kept running back into the house, breathless, with cheeks and eyes aglow, to ask, "Any more for the burn pile?"

When those boxes were done, I started on the file drawer and repeated the process a second time. Man-Cub was beside himself with delight. Once I'd sorted the new-old stuff into the basement boxes, I decided I'd done enough for one night. There was much disappointment that fire time was over, but the hope that there would be more on the morrow sustained more than one faint heart.

The next day was much the same. There wasn't as much burning, but enough to keep the natives happy and when it was all over, I had nice, thin, sleek files sitting comfortably spaced in the file drawer, equally nice, sleek, amply zoned files in the basement boxes, and a virtually empty "in" box on the desk! What harmony! What serenity! What zen!

Okay, once I again I get a little carried away. But it was a job well done and I felt great that I had done it.

Now if I could just figure out why the rest of the desk looks so dang cluttered and messy, I would feel really good!

Next week? My closet. Specifically, my shoes. I've been putting this task off for about five years. I'm serious. I may need to be medicated for this task.

I'm tired just thinking about it.


Leila said...

See, I would totally sort shoes over paper.

The reason papers pile up on the desk is that it's torture to file them.

You have to read them to file them. Do you have to read your shoes? No.

I rest my case.

Pippajo said...

You present a very compelling case indeed, however, throwing paper away is not nearly as heart-wrenching as trying to decide which shoes to throw away!

I have an odd attachment to my shoes, even the ones I no longer wear. Do I have any attachment to paper (besides the occasional sweet, homemade Mother's Day card)? No.

The defense rests.