This will be quick, Miss Daisy is waiting to start the night time routine.
We are home now for about four days. So happy to see the family and already have got in some of my babysitting. They change in a few months and are even funnier.
It's good to maintain a sense of humour.
One of the things that happened while we were gone was that we had a large contingent of mice move in. My son-in-law passed by an Exterminator's convention, I guess they have those things, and overheard that this has been an excellent year for rodents and bed bugs. Something about the warm weather etc.
This is what it looked like.
We got home late at night, checked the mail that had been collected and left for us, and headed off to bed.
I pulled back the sheets and guess what was neatly piled on my pillow, in substantial quantities? Mouse poop. The husband was in the same situation. Needless to say that bed got stripped down toute suite, with the expected amount of vacuuming paranoia and pulling around the furniture. At this point my poor husband who has done all the RV driving said, enough I have to get to bed.
So off I went to get some clean sheets.
Well ten guesses what was interfiled between all my clean linens?
I suspect you have picked up on the theme here.
So what, late at night when everyone is dying to get to bed in their own king sized bed, and not the other random beds in the house, do you do without any clean sheets, when you have a husband who at this point, really, really wants to just get to sleep?
Well in the end I did find some clean mouse free sheets - old ones I had put away as drop cloths for painting, so we did get to bed finally- sleeping soundly between the stripes of dried latex.
So much of the rest of the time I have been home has been on mouse evidence clean up. I will spare you the population control drama, but the husband has been doing a lot of carrying paper towel bundles outside with long tails hanging out of them.
It's just been great.
All the cleaning has led me to a resolution of a long standing issue I have had, and written about here before, which is how do you successfully live in a place that is crammed with the evidence of those who used to live here but have left, articulating the space that is never quite filled the same again.
How do you declutter that I ask you?
Well I figured it out.
The issue was not just managing my memories but realizing they had them too.
So I have been asking each kid what from the house they would like in their own homes now in their own happy lives? I have been allocating paintings, dishes, and whatever there is here that might have a memory attached. Our shared history, I realized, should be shared and not just deposited with me.
It feels so great to do this.
Why wait to be like my grandmother who had every item in her house with a name on the underside, names that always changed depending on our current status with her?
And the best part of this process is what I now have more room for, is my family's present.
In the space left by one picture I am hanging putting up the hanging from India my son and new daughter-in-law brought back from India.
I have a map of the New York subway system in the hall and a photo of the grandchildren in the corner where I used to put the Christmas tree.
The long hallway I am starting to fill with photos in one place, like those restaurants where the walls are covered in autographed pictures - a lot of important people once ate here too you know.
And in other places I am going to put things from the travels we are now able to do and rooms are going to be cleaned and painted for two nieces that will be staying with me this summer, and probably one beyond while she starts school.
So I haven't lost all my memories, some are just going to go now to those who made them.
Which I finally realized is what is supposed to happen next.
- I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon