Tag Archives: aunt

Crunch Time

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I guess it was maybe ten years or more ago that my grandsons and I placed a brick in the crotch of this tree.

I don’t remember the reason why.

I noticed it the other day, on my way down the driveway. The tree has grown around the brick, securing it in place.

It seems like the perfect illustration today.

Today is the day I’ve put everything off until. There is no more time for delay.

I leave first thing tomorrow morning for a two-day seminar down-state.To round out the trip, I’ve arranged a birthday dinner with my daughter, and a breakfast meeting with the son of an old friend.

As I’ll be giving a presentation at the seminar, I have notes to review and materials to gather.

I have to pack. That involves pulling presentable “mainland” clothing out of the depths of my closet, plotting four days of wardrobe choices, making sure everything fits, and eliminating any accumulated dust, lint or wrinkles.

This is my last chance to get the house in order. Whatever is left today, will be what I come home to. Because I taught a paper-making class yesterday, I have six bus tubs full of paper-making supplies, unloaded last evening from my car and now taking up space in the kitchen and hallway. Some need only to be brought back upstairs and stored in the studio. Others need to be emptied of their (wet)contents: papers need to be pressed for drying; felts, clothes and towels need to be put through the dryer cycle, then folded. My dining room table is spread with research materials for my presentation. My bed is covered with possible clothing options. This, on top of my normal disorganization and clutter.

This is my last day to spend quality time with the dogs, before they go to the boarder tomorrow. At least one good walk is in order.

I have a meeting at four, of the Natural Resources Eco-Tourism Steering Committee.

I have to stop at my aunt’s house, to pick up the key to her mainland vehicle.

I have a dinner obligation.

Then there is my new endeavor: I am taking over the reins of the Beaver Beacon, our island news-magazine. The position involves writing, editing, and design work, gathering information, covering events…and probably a world of other things I can’t even think of. Today, before I leave the island for several days, was my personal deadline to get everything written, edited and sent off to the dear young man who is putting it all together…since I don’t yet have the computer or software needed to do it.

Then there’s my blog, which I hate to abandon every time life gets crazy.

So, I’ve been busy since I got up this morning…which was late, because I was up into the night working on the things that were worrying my sleep.

This is it…crunch time!

One Lesson Learned

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I went to clean at my aunt’s house today.

She hired me a couple years ago to come to do a weekly or bi-weekly clean, mainly vacuum, dust, and sweep and mop the floors. She had come to the realization that she couldn’t do it herself anymore. She didn’t like the idea of someone else going through the house, plus they wanted to charge her too much, so she asked me, even though I’m not a very good house-keeper. I knew it was a hard concession for her to make, and difficult for her to ask, so I agreed, even though I don’t usually take on cleaning jobs. I would have done it for free, and told her so, but she insisted that she would pay me.

She would, however, pay me less than the going rate.

I reciprocated by doing the job in a haphazard way. Some weeks I do the whole job in one trip; other times I divide it over two or three days. I miss some weeks entirely. I rarely know ahead of time, as things tend to come up, so she doesn’t either. She’s very patient with me.

Today, with Christmas right around the corner, I knew I had to get there. I called in the morning so she could plan on it, and went on my lunch hour. She wasn’t feeling well, and was on her way to “medical.” The car was warming up, and my cousin was there to drive her, just as soon as she gave me instructions.

“There are potatoes in your mop bucket,” she said, “you can just move them into that basket.”

“The papers are for burning…just move them out of the way.”

This,” she said, indicating the little stand that held a small television, the satellite receiver and a couple dozen books, “do you think you can move this and clean under it???”

“Of course, I’ll do that,” I replied, and she was on her way.

It’s a pretty small, wobbly stand with a lot of fairly heavy things on it. I guess I hadn’t really thought about moving it. I usually swept around it, and kind of under it, and swiped that area with the mop…

Sure enough, when I pulled it away from the wall today, there was a clump of dust and dog’s hair among the tangle of cords that resided there. I should have been moving it out every time.

There was more to it, though.

There was something about the set of her jaw, and the forced way that she spoke, trying to keep her voice normal…kind, even…when clearly she was exasperated with my neglect…I saw my future!

I will be infirm one day, I can see it. I will be dependent on others for basic things.

I imagine my daughters, blithely folding all of my towels wrong – and every one differently – just like they did when they were teenagers.

I can see my mugs stacked in some nonsensical way, books re-shelved with no rhyme or reason, and my arrangements re-arranged in a ridiculous manner.

And I will have deserved it.

I cleaned up the dust and dog hair. I cleaned and untangled the cords. I dusted and neatened the books without rearranging them. I dusted the television and cleaned the screen. Though the clock was ticking through my lunch break and I had to get back to my other job, I gave every chore more careful attention.

By the time I left, I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge, reformed by the visions of Christmas yet to come, and trying to make retribution.

Bless her heart, my aunt shouldn’t have had to make mention of my neglect; since she did, and it opened my eyes, I’ll try not to give her reason again.