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I have this overwhelming URGE TO PURGE. The cats are picking up on it. They know what I’m like when I bring out that super-sized box of garbage bags from under the sink. Nothing is safe — they suspect even them (smart cats) or at the very least their little squeaky mouses and nip-covered balls. The last time I did this they hid in the closet until my madness had passed or, actually, until it was supper time when even the threat of a garbage bag couldn’t keep them from the kitchen.

It’s December 29th. That’s why I feel this way. I’m tired. Tired of the holidays — I so appreciate Scrooge and Bah! Humbug! right about now — and  tired of the grey winter, tired of the icy sidewalks that my lazy neighbors refuse to clean, tired of not being able to close the hall closet because of all the junk that’s hanging on the door and, most of all, tired of seeing the layer of dust and stuff on the bookcase that I’ve been staring at for the past month. (Please, Maria, come back from Portugal!)

The weather today is taking care of the icy sidewalk — at least until tomorrow when it’s cold again. And even though I’d really, really, really like to, I can’t hurry the holidays along. We all still have to get through the cheery, Happy New Year stuff. And, as much as I’d like to take the tree down — Shhh — I can’t. There are some traditions that are just too engrained. If I did, I’m sure I’d have a visit from the Ghost of Margaret Eileen Eyerman (aka Mom) to scold me royally for my lack of Christmas Spirit. She always kept her Christmas tree up for the full 12-days-of-Christmas and not a day less but often, many, many, many days more than that. I suspect, but don’t know, that she kept the tree standing, decorated longer and longer the older she got.

If things weren’t wonky at the pool, I’d have taken care of these holidays-winter-duldrums there. I would have been splashing around doing rock-climbing and V-sixes and cross-country skiing in the water to a medley of Favorites from the 50s or 60s or 70s or 80s accompanied by Sue’s friendly but-firm voice encouraging us from the sidelines. And then — the best part — I’d be having a toasted English muffin with a side-order of bacon at the Future Bakery with Sarah and Robyn and maybe even Pixel if he got up. But that won’t happen for another couple of weeks — breakfast, that is, not Pixel getting out of bed!

So what I can do today to lift this blahness from my spirit is clean this house — or at least the bookcase and closet! It usually works. I remember the day after the murmuring ex-husband left, I filled a bucket with water and Murphy’s Soap and, while I wept, I cleaned every surface of this apartment. It smelled really good afterwards and looked great, but all the memories still lingered on in my wee heart — for a while anyway. This purge isn’t quite as dramatic.

I have noticed the older I get the shorter my purges last (did I just hear a “Thank God” from the cats? I’ve had to narrow my scope so that I only attack one corner, one bookcase, one closet at a time. But even with that discipline, I find that one little job evolves into other unrelated cleaning-out. Like I know when I take all the accumulated earrings and bracelets upstairs from their collecting place on the convenient-but-not-meant-for-junk shelf inside the front door, I’ll decide it’s a perfect time to clean tarnished silver earrings. Someone told me one time — and I believe her — that this is a perfectly normal way for women to clean. It works.

It’s time to Just Do It and not write about it. The added bonus is that I’ll, hopefully, creep into the New Year with a whole lot less stuff and dust and clutter. Well, that is, if I really do what I say I’m going to do today or tomorrow or even the next day!

Happy New Year everyone!