Sunday, August 21, 2011

Paring Season

There's something about the end of summer, the return home from vacation and the promise of structure soon to be restored by the routine of the school year that makes me, frankly, insane. Not because I don't welcome September with open arms. Quite the contrary: the two weeks at the end of August are riddled with bored children, messy rooms, last minute scrambles for playdates and day trips, and the final fraying of my nerves.

Clearly, I should be living in Florida. Not just because it's warm year round, or because the cost of living is a fraction of that of New York, but because in Florida, school starts tomorrow.

It's not like I'm uptight, one of those women whose houses look like children don't even live in them--like NO ONE lives in them--and can't bear to have a dried flower petal out of place. Truly, my summer has had its share of chaos. The first month consisted of various camp programs that changed each week. The changes had me driving all over the county so my kids could parttake in fun and engaging summer activities. The next four weeks encompassed rearranging my living room, emptying my kitchen into boxes into said living room, and then opening the door to contractors every day to have our kitchen remodelled. Let's just say that carrying dishes up and downstairs to wash them each day was less than fun. Finally, we spent over a week in Vermont, filling our days with shopping, excursions, touring and mountain activities. The kids were exhausted. The dogs were exhausted. We're all exhausted.

Yet all I want to do is rip apart every room and organize it. I want to get rid of the junk, the things we don't use and have no space for. I want to rotate the summer clothes into bins in the attic, bring out the comforters, change the tapestries and curtains and organize the magazines. It sounds like a lot of work for someone so exhausted, I know.

The only way I can explain this sudden burst of energy is to tell you that the focus is the only thing pulling me forward. To stand here surrounded by Nerf guns and sponge bullets, teddy bears and Goodwill donations, four days of newspaper sections and trays of perler beads littering my dining room table is causing a Sybil-esque reaction: my brain is escaping its present surroundings to go where it needs to in order to survive.

It happens every summer, this need for clearing, paring and straightening. A mom can only take constant disorganization for so long. And thanks to New York State's education schedule, in my case it's two weeks longer than I need it to be. So I will make lists and schedules, shop online for baskets and containers, and collect pictures of simplified homes from magazines to soothe my discomfited soul. And while I'm at it, maybe I'll take a look at real estate offerings in Florida. Just, you know, for fun.

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