Tuesday, March 14, 2017

12. FIND

I know it’s here somewhere, that box of Pottery Barn lanterns, the ones with the pretty silver tops and the cloth accordion covers that I tea stained for Annie’s wedding. They’re usually in that spot in the closet in the garage. If they’re not there then they were accidentally left in the garage itself. I look, shifting a wooden coat rack and stack of Christmas lights and an antique grape gatherer’s basket in the search of the closet. No luck. I cannot find them. I sift through the pile that has taken the spot where Kate’s car used to park in the garage; moving aside the pile of Saints on the Seas costumes and banners, the pillow Anna and I sewed at the cottage last summer, a plastic pink flamingo and the jawbone of an ass. Not there either. I head to the basement, to the back room behind the recording studio that turned into another storage room, back where the 200 dinner plates, ten red Pottery Barn umbrellas, 400 cloth napkins, 150 glass goblets, 6 water dispensers, 50 feet of red carpet and thousands of other miscellanea are piled on top of each other. Nada.
I wrack my brain trying to remember who borrowed them last. All I get is that demonic voice that creeps up through my Achilles tendon and screeches obscenities at me. I end up telling my niece, who needs them for a wedding tomorrow, that I can’t find them anywhere. She drives off with whatever else I’ve dug up in the jumble that might work instead, and I turn to cleaning up the mess I’ve made in the kitchen, and the garage, and the locker room and the basement in the search. As I bang around in the kitchen Dave is reading sentencing reports for work tomorrow and asks from his perch at the kitchen table, how I am doing… sweetly asks, I might add, even though he’s dealt with crime and divorce and other ugliness from the bench of justice all day, and now he’s reading other cases about people who are drowning in mistakes. He is pleasant and gentle and kind to me, and I respond, “I’m feeling a Grump at the moment, thank you!” He tells me he’s sorry, and he truly is. He’s not just saying that. As I clang dishes around, throwing them into the dishwasher and over-scrubbing the metal pot with a scraping stainless steel sponge, I analyze myself. This is the luxury, I think to myself, of not having children pulling at me constantly. This is the “blessing” of being a part of the AARP generation. I can actually have self-actualizing thoughts and not have to lash out at children. I am so grateful they are not under my angry flapping wing at the moment!
I realize, under the scent of Clorox cleanup mixed with overtones of marinara sauce, that I am grumpy because I live in a MESS!
I’m really pretty good at denial. I’ve kind of perfected it after all these years. I’ve taught myself to overlook certain things because I have to do other things that matter more. I am almost daily cooking for someone other than us. And I am almost daily singing of playing for someone other than us. Or writing or editing for someone other than me. And I still, even in the grumps, think of these as first priority things and I do not feel bad about the fact that I am not doing other things that normal people do because I choose to do these other things instead. I can even brush my teeth and not feel rotten about the mess on my bathroom counter, and serve dinner to twenty people when my kitchen floor hasn’t been mopped in three weeks, and I let kids come into the mess of my garage to get a pop from the pop shoppe.
It’s when I have to dig through stuff to find something that it gets to me. I mean REALLY gets to me. Like something happens when I am looking for something I KNOW should be somewhere that the reality of my disastrous disorganization comes into the light and just about does me in. And because I have sifted through piles and piles in a variety of rooms in this large abode of ours, I end up feeling massively overwhelmed, because I cannot, even though I have a really strong imagination, picture myself ever being able to find my way out of this. That demon that slithers up my leg tells me it’s my own *&%$# fault! Curses!
It’s ironic that I cannot find something because of all my “find’s”. Treasures I come upon that are rare and potentially precious. (emphasis on potentially). When it’s time for someone to come up with some sort of something, and they need ideas and supplies, they know who to call. This is my joy and my sorrow. Such a joy when somebody needs a life size cut-out pf Chris LeDoux, or a bolt of lace, or a half gallon of parade-float quality glitter, instruments for a spontaneous children’s marching band, or a bunch of pioneer games and costumes and a cardboard handcart, or a dozen ukuleles and camp song booklets to go with them. Such a sorrow when you just need that stupid box of wedding lanterns, and you’re pretty sure you’ll find them day after tomorrow when you go down to get a jar of bottled raspberries. If I were a pessimist I would entertain the possibility of repeating the phrase “I hate my life.”
But, even though I am currently trying to push away the grumps, I do not hate my life.
I still, on a deeper level than my need to have sterile order in my life, think that it’s funny to have pink flamingos in the planter in my front yard. It makes me giggle. And someday someone is going to need the death mask replicas of Joseph and Hyrum that are out in the garage, and the jawbone of an ass, which may not actually be of an ass but it looks like it to me, as visual aids in their Sunday school lessons. Where else are they going to find them?

As for the negative emotional consequences of my DDD (dysfunctional-disorder disorder), it’s not something that a bowl of popcorn, a handful of Lindor Lindt truffles, a root-beer Popsicle and an episode of NCIS won’t fix.


  1. I love you and all of your stuff. How about this can you build a 747 in the cultural hall of a church or transform a room into a ship deck or have the most delicious marinara sauce for dinner. There are plenty of clean houses. There's only one Cori with the most magical imagination, and resources available. Please don't ever change.

  2. You are magic, Mom. Where others just see stuff, you see opportunities for creativity and learning - and we all benefit from that and enjoy the blessings that come from your ingenuity and resourcefulness. You are magic!

  3. Amen Libby. Dont EVER change Cori....PLEASE!!

  4. "...that demonic voice that creeps up through my Achilles tendon and screeches obscenities at me..." This made me laugh! Such a perfect description.

  5. Sooner or later we'll organize all this wonderful stuff. Or not!!!
    In the meantime, who wouldn't want to live in this fabulous haven of creativity.