A Man Deserves a Place for His Togs

Note the look of horror on my
Guardian Angel's Face.

I’ve known since mid-January that HMOKeefe might be moving in with me. I’ve known since early April he was definitely moving in with me. Starting quietly, Closet Panic grew to a crescendo.

For weeks, I was in denial with a severe form of that brain itch that occurs during times of intense procrastination. One gray, rainy, cold weekend in late March, I began the task of emptying the little closet in the master bedroom for the Good Doctor to put his togs in.

the Little Closet Complete with Feather Boa and Gold Lame` Cowboy Boots

I planned on giving him the little closet as he is now retired and, presumably as such, would need a less extensive wardrobe than I. Hah! The man is addicted to shirts the way I’m addicted to shoes. He has dozens and dozens, possible hundreds.

Nonetheless, it was a plan. Not much of a plan, but it was mine. I’m not good at planning and tend to avoid it, but when I do hatch one I hang on for dear life. The little closet it was.

The little closet was intended to house the boots, belts, purses, evening wear and other clothes I’m not likely to wear on a normal day. However, the big closet was so jam-packed with stuff that the overflow to the little closet was, um, tsunami-like. To clean out one required cleaning the other.

I was an anthropology major.
What can I say?

I donned my pith helmet and went in on an exploratory mission prior to the planned excavation. Oh, the horror!

Within minutes, I was in the kitchen scavenging in the chocolate cabinet for stress relief.

Throughout that weekend, I weeded and winnowed the closets. I tried to invoke the “if you haven’t worn it in a year rule” and was, at times, successful. I got rid of everything I didn’t absolutely love. I couldn’t bear to part with the stuff I absolutely love, but am too big (at present) to fit into. That “someday I’m going to drop 20 pounds and wear this again” vow renewed itself.

Lord, I tried. [Tried to organize the closet, not lose weight – it’s not a good idea to start a diet under stress.  The chocolate cabinet got a good workout.]

The socks are probably a no-go.

I was easily distracted – particularly by the shoes.

In 2007, I was involved in a car accident that messed up my right foot in a sort-of minor way, but which, nonetheless, required three surgeries. My foot was sore, inflexible and downright contrary for nearly 4 years. At the time of the closet excavation, I had just started wearing cute shoes again. I had reveled in the boots – pink suede, black silk, embroidered, tartan plaid, brown leather, red leather, black leather, beige fuzzy, rabbit fur, pom poms, granny, hooker, gold lame` and wine.

But spring was a whisper away and the sandals beckoned. Trippy grass green, tranquil aqua, cobalt blue, coral, orange, blue, turquoise, beaded, jeweled, thonged, strapped, ankle-wrapped. I was distracted.

Ooooooooooo. Teal!

Still and all, I managed to drag out bags and bags of clothing and shoes. Some I trashed, some went to Goodwill and some went to Dress for Success.

And, yet, it wasn’t enough.

I really tried.

I probably neglected to mention that the big closet housed only the winter clothes. The summer clothes were crammed into the only part of The Closet I Am Afraid Of  that I can get to. While I planned for HMOKeefe to use the small closet, I intended both of us to use The Closet I Am Afraid Of  (and that he will be afraid of when he opens that door) for off-season stuff. (We both have far too many clothes.)

Since spring was just a whisper away (or so I thought – it was the winter that wouldn’t end), I felt it prudent to deal with ALL the clothes. Weed and winnow the heavy wool of weeks past as well as the linen and silk of weeks future.

Lord, I tried.

Even now, there’s a bag at the top of the stairs waiting to go to Goodwill.

I did. I did. I really tried.

The winter clothes are in TCIAAO, but so is all the stuff I’m still afraid of. The boots won’t fit in either that closet or the big closet less I part with more shoes.  In fact, I’ve procured a few more pair of shoes since this frenzy started. (I’m particularly enamored of the strappy black patent leather sandals with faux pearls I bought in Massachusetts executing the move to get HMOKeefe down here.)  I could, I suppose, buy shoe racks, but then there would be less money for shoes.  This is a conundrum.


So the good doctor has been here nearly two weeks and is still living out of a suitcase.

I’m a terrible person.

Yes, it is an addiction.
But it's cheaper than cocaine.

This weekend, I swear, I’m going to empty the boot/evening wear/accessory closet and organize a closet for him. That’ll bring the total of organized closets in this house to (ta da!) one.

Hopefully, it will be really hot so I won’t play with the boots. Except maybe the hooker ones – HMOKeefe is rather fond of those.

Mars and Venus Assemble a Garden Cart

It's a wonderful contraption with really great wheels!

HMOKeefe gave me a garden cart for Mother’s Day. What with one thing and another, I wasn’t able to assemble it until these evening. And a good thing too! It was definitely a two-person job. He thinks in pictures, I think in words. The pictures weren’t helpful and neither were the words.

By the time we finished, I was convinced that the cart was conceptualized by a woman and engineered by a man. I’m quite sure a man also wrote the directions. After a plethora of WTFs and “this thing was not manufactured properly”, I announced I was doing it my way.

The cart was assembled.

I’m really going to enjoy this thing. It beats the hell out of my old wheelbarrow. And when my time comes, I can just be rolled and dumped into the compost pit. Woo Hoo! It was a good day to be me.


Rain on Roses

Well, the vinca is doing great!

Well, it’s no Gardenpalooza – more like Gardenpifflefizzle, but it feels good. I finally got Quality Time in the garden this weekend. Quality Time being less than an accurate description. More later.

After having disappeared for so long, it’s a bit difficult to try and figure out where to begin.

In January, HMOKeefe decided to finally consolidate zip codes and he began the process of early retirement. He has some health issues related to a bone marrow transplant for leukemia (CML, to be exact) and the preparation for the move was, um, involved.

The man really does deserve a closet, but what am I going to do with all this stuff?

Besides trying to find a closet for him to put his togs in, I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger on a unicycle in a tornado at my job. Frequently during the past few months, I have muttered, declared and yelled, “Hell’s bells, we don’t have to schedule everything for the same time. There are 12 months in the year.

He still doesn’t have a closet.

[Speaking of tornados, boy, do I have a story.]

HMOKeefe has been ensconced in Chez Barn for a little more than a week. Well, sort of.  Following the VERY EVENTFUL move from Massachusetts to West Virginia, I contracted a nasty something that turned into viral pneumonia. At present, I am quarantined and he is staying with my folks. Is it a big ol’ goofy world or what?

I'm sick.

My doctor tut-tutted and reminded me that if I don’t slow myself down, my body will do it for me. And then she prescribed prednisone which winds me up like caffeine-laced cocaine. I’m supposed to be resting, sucking on one of my two inhalers (yes, two!) and drinking lots of fluids.

I still feel like the nasty crud at the bottom of the garbage can, but I’m strangely energized. I’ve restored some order to the house, processed a few loads of laundry, unpacked suitcases from the Massachusetts sojourn as well as those used for attendance at a conference last week.

[Oh, yes, I bring HMOKeefe to West Virginia and then abandon him. And then I arrive home with news that I’m contagious with a nasty and he’s got to go stay elsewhere due to the immune suppressants he takes. He had viral pneumonia years and years and years ago. It took little to persuade him to go stay with people he doesn’t know that well.]

And as if restoring order to the abode wasn’t enough, I summoned the wherewithal to finally mow the backyard.

The harsh winter, rainy spring and summer heat has not been kind.

I’ve been so flipping busy and it’s rained every weekend for months, I couldn’t get the lawn mowed. Folks tell me it’s been kind of dry the past couple of weeks, but my yard still squelches when I walk on it. Nonetheless, enough is enough. I tackled the (small) yard with a temperamental lawn mower yesterday. While hacking through the jungle that arose with the wild, wet spring, I hacked, coughed, sneezed and gagged – sometimes all at once.  Viral pneumonia, even tempered with prednisone, is no fun.

Today, I weeded, cleaned up debris and finished chopping up last fall’s leaves with mower.  [I was busy last fall, too.]

The one rose bloom I got to see. Is that pitiful or what?

The garden is in a sad state. We had a late freeze that seriously damaged some of the newer perennials. Then we had nonstop rain. And then we had sudden deluges punctuated with high heat that effectively boiled a bunch of stuff. The stuff that did well – some of the roses, the wisteria, the peonies, the mock orange and the vinca all decided to bloom and blow while I was conducting a move worthy of a David Lynch film.

I feel cheated. But I also feel as if my equanimity is returning. Mucking about in dirt is a very effective antidepressant for me. And gardens do provide immediate gratification at times. After a harsh winter and soggy spring, the before and after of a couple days of prednisone driven frenzy is a sight to behold.

The hostas are happy. But they're always happy.

If you don’t look too close.

The garden is in a state and I’ll be the rest of the season nurturing and repairing damage.  There’s nothing left to bloom, except maybe the peony.  It’s a new one and I can’t tell if it’s bloomed or not.  The buds don’t quite look like buds and might be what’s left after a bloom.  I can’t quite figure it out.

Anyway, I need annuals.  Lots of annuals. Petunias.  Impatiens.  Shasta Daisies.  Morning Glory.  Moonflowers. And some creeping juniper to replace that which died.  And Boston ferns to hang by the door.   Chocolate mint to grace the table.  So much to do. But, damn, it’s good to be back in the garden..

Blogging, too, is an emotional balm for me.  Damn, it’s good to be back.

Rain on Roses

[Did I mention the laptop hard drive crashed spectacularly and I’ve been without the little darling for nearly 4 weeks?  HMOKeefe put in a new hard drive.  I finished loading software and copying backup files and things are almost normal.  Since I don’t have a picture of this spring’s roses, I’m using an older one for my desktop.  Rain on roses seemed a fitting metaphor for the past few months.]