Friday, December 7, 2012

Cleaning Closets

When I decided to temporarily leave full-time employment 2 years ago, part of "the plan" was to clear out the clutter all over the house, starting in my overly large walk-in closet and then working my way through the entire house, including the attic, sorting, tossing, organizing, selling, and, in short, creating a clean slate.

I have made a bit of progress here and there. With the help of some wonderful friends, the garage has been emptied of the tools that were of absolutely no use to me. I sorted through a bunch of papers that had been shoved in the attic (aha...the missing car title). And I've done some rearranging, picture hanging, and even painted a room.

But 2 years later, the closet still needs to be cleaned.

There just is something about the closet. It is quiet, dark, and intimate. It is where we kept our clothes, the most personal of personal items.

I dreamed about you a few nights ago. It wasn't like so many of the other dreams about you, which are usually both hopeful and confusing. In this one, we were arguing. About what, I don't remember, but each of us was quite peeved with the other. I woke up feeling disconcerted and anxious and, generally, in a bad mood.

Most of the clothing has been gone since that winter, taken to a men's homeless shelter in downtown Jackson. But the closet continues to haunt me, physically drawing my strength and resolve away each time I set to sorting, folding, tossing, organizing. I work for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, dissolve into tears, and am, quite simply, done for the day. Progress is slow. Aching. But I refuse to allow myself to move on to another clean/sort/toss/organize project until the closet is completely done.

Yesterday, the garage door broke. The hinge just snapped. So did I. Nearly every day reminds me of how much I relied on you to take care of the small things that make me feel so helpless and useless. We were a perfect match, you and I. You were the practical, hands-on McGyver who could fix, patch, jig anything with little effort or thought. I am none of those things. In fact, I am the complete opposite, often stymied by the simplest of household repair or maintenance work. So much needs to be done around the house, and I am at a loss for where to start. I call in some local handyman type, but as soon as that repair is done, something else requires my attention. Yesterday, it all crashed down on me, and I am furious with you for leaving me with all of this crap to deal with. And I miss you so very much.

Today, I think I had a closet cleaning breakthrough and have finished reorganizing the built-in shelving.  Creating a jewelry, purse, and journal/personal book shelves. It's as if I made it through the "hard part." I am now certain, hopeful, the rest will be easier, if not quicker, as I go through my own old, outdated dresses, skirts, suits, slacks, blouses, shoes, and piles of t-shirts from races past. 

Of all the items I took to the shelter, suits, shirts, jackets, shoes, I couldn't take your cowboy boots. Remember how I hated them? I tried so hard to talk you out of them and for years, before you finally broke down and bought them, had been trying to convert you to a more traditional look with lace-up dress shoes. But, you were set on cowboy boots, and those became both your go-to casual and dress shoes. You even had your dress slacks tailored for the boots. Your black, fancy-stitched, pointed-toe cowboy boots now sit on a bottom shelf in the closet next to a box with all the sympathy cards and notes we received and a few photos that remind me of the fun times we had. 

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