Archive for March, 2018

Mama Bunny

March 26th, 2018

My mother,  Wanda, thoroughly grokked celebrations and gifts. She was better at those than I am or shall ever be.

Come Easter, yes of course, we did church (as every week) and the mandatory dressed up in new clothes pictures, but oh the baskets. They were always fancy and full, and I remember it, she already customized them for our candy and toy preferences.

Her whole life, she carried that over to birthdays and Christmas, particularly the latter. For her children and grandchildren, she did her more particularized purchasing. If you liked something, she made it her duty to provide it.

For our first son, one expression was seemingly every damned Masters of the Universe figure (and those where big honking gnarly dolls). Nothing came up to the Christmas when she provided him the G.I. Joe masterpiece, the 7-foot 6-inch long air-craft carrier. The USS Flagg covered most of his bedroom floor and attracted many of chums for loud in-house play dates.

I and college chums recall the surprise boxes she’d send at birthdays or holidays when I was at school and not her house. A particularly memorable Halloween box included along with waaaaay too much candy, a bright orange strobe jack o’lantern. Yes, strobe.

I was more Wanda-ish this way when I was a young parent. However, my uxorial unit still brings it to my attention when I act out for my sons or grandchildren. I haven’t fallen into oldsters’ lethargy and still make an effort. Although this year’s Easter baskets have maybe a third the variety of ones she would have stocked.

Truth be told, I lean that way because she raised me that way.

 

 

Battling My Stuff

March 6th, 2018

My life has long been equivalent to Chrome with two dozen tabs open. My response is to kick into straightening and discarding…when it interferes with the quotidian.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson is the guide of the year. Last season’s was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While numerous other decluttering books, but you needn’t go beyond these two. Plus each is physically small, and the former is just over 100 pages and the latter just over 200.

If you have that puerile, emotional fear of dying, don’t pick up Death Cleaning. The author is 90 or so and accepts her mortality. The advice tells how to clean up your act so your heirs don’t have the many burdens of sorting and clearing out your crap.

As a bonus, as Magnusson learned following her long-term husband’s death, death cleaning makes downsizing and moving manageable mentally, physically and financially.

Another plus to her book is the set of Swedish terms and their underlying concepts. For one example, she set up a “fulskåp — an ‘ugly cabinet’ used to display, for reasons of diplomacy, all the unloved gifts you receive.” Stuff you feel you can’t toss or re-gift…yet, but too hideous to use.

On the other hand, Kondo is very type A (can you be type AA or AAA?). Her guide is overly detailed in many areas, like how to sort and store your clothes. She seems to have control issues. Then again, she does organizing for others professionally. She’s good enough to get paid for controlling.

I think you can get what you need out of Death Cleaning alone. Even if you expect to live another 40 or 50 years, the piece of mind and efficiency of her methods read like great habit and mindset.

If you really need someone to boss you around, in micromanagement, look to Tidying Up.