I really wanted to work on my novel this weekend. I had a very good day on Friday, writing 5,652 words, but since I am well aware of all the commitments facing me over the next few weeks, I don’t see how I will be able to keep up the pace of my first week of NaNoWriMo. But as I started to say, I really did want to work on my novel this weekend, but I do have other obligations, like housework, so I spent Saturday dusting while my husband was at his office.
Dusting. The most ridiculous job ever invented. As soon as you’ve done it, it needs doing again. One of the problems I have is that we’ve been married nearly forty years, and you accumulate a lot of things over time. My daughter-in-law, when she and my youngest son came for a visit last March, said she loves coming to my house because it’s like walking through a museum. Stop laughing. She meant it in a good way. She loved all the little knickknacks I had placed “just so” on every possible surface: two little antique books (a Tennyson and a Spenser) piled one on top of the other at a 45-degree angle with an old brass-handled magnifying glass next to them, a spyglass next to dishes of seashells, ceramic birds purchased from El Mercado during our years in San Antonio, a vintage cranberry glass candy dish next to a cut crystal tea light candle holder, and many more objects that held my daughter-in-law’s attention. And pictures everywhere, pictures of all the people I love or ever loved it seemed. How sweet of her to notice.
But she doesn’t have to dust everything! There is something refreshing about going to my son and daughter-in-law’s apartment in Boston. It is totally clutter free. They haven’t lived long enough to accumulate the paraphernalia that comes with longevity. I’ve started sticking things in drawers or boxes, trying to aim for those minimalist roots I started with. Yesterday, after taking nearly two hours to dust—just our bedroom—I decided I had had enough of all the pictures that adorn every surface. I do not need pictures of all these people. I know who they are. I have their faces memorized in my heart. For goodness sake, I get to see them several times a year. I don’t need to dust their little faces every week. I’ve made one concession. If you’re dead, you get to stay. That’s the least I can do. Sort of a place of honor, you know. But if you’re alive and kicking, I’m rounding you up and you’re going into the trunk.
Note to children: When I’m dead, feel free to stick me on your shelf. My picture, of course.