Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chick Lit Cheerleader: It's spring....time to nest!

Introduction by Melissa Amster

Last week, the unthinkable happened. My laptop became very, very, VERY sick. It almost died a horrible death. My husband, the computer doctor, worked very hard on it to bring it back to life. In the meantime, being computer-less (and my husband needing to use his own computer most of the time) meant I was productive around the house. I organized some clothes and even...wait for it...cleaned my closet! It made me think of how much more organizing I need to do, now that spring is finally here. (I hope I didn't just jinx the entire east coast by saying such a thing.)

As it turns out,Jen Tucker doesn't need a computer meltdown to be productive around the house. In fact, she's SO productive that her husband thinks she has something to hide...

Spring Fling (Not THAT kind of fling!)

“Do you have something you need to tell me?” Mike said, while leisurely chowing down a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats one Saturday morning.

Juggling three super-sized snack containers, I tried not to let any of them fall to the ground during their short pilgrimage from the pantry to the kitchen counter. “What do you mean?” I replied, as the container of potato chips not so gracefully fell to the floor. Much to my dogs’ chagrin, the lid remained intact and no Kettle Chips were harmed at the sudden impact.
“Who are you, my high school science teacher? He always answered my questions with a question,” my beloved said, chomping those frosted cereal layers. I’ve never understood why Frosted Mini Wheats are only coasted with frosting on one side. That seems like a missed opportunity for consumer happiness.

“Perhaps your questions require further clarification, my love.” I retrieved the chips and added them to the collection on the counter. I’d been awake for hours, cleaning out the nooks and crannies of every cabinet, drawer, and pull-out shelf in the vicinity. It all began innocently enough with a refill of the napkin holder. The downward spiral of organizing had consumed me and taken me hostage.

Mike made his way over to the dishwasher, opened it and placed his spoon and bowl inside while calmly stating, “When I asked if you had something to tell me, it’s because you’re acting like you’re nesting…in that way.”

I froze. “You bite your tongue and take that back right now, Mr. Smarty Man! That’s not funny!” We love our three children. Yet we’d like to keep it that way, because according to School House Rock, “Three is a magic number.”

Mike snickered. “I’m not laughing, Blondie,” he said while slamming the dishwasher. Returning to the kitchen table, he grabbed a gardening catalog and drooled over seedlings. Thumbing through the pages, Mike announced, “So, I guess nesting isn’t just for pregnant chicks.”

I did not marry him for his innately sensitive way with words, obviously. Yet he’s right. Spring cleaning, Spring Fever, nesting—call it what you will, applies to me sans bouncing baby bundles at winter’s fade. The first hearty rainfall washing away winter grit and grime, signals some crevasse in my brain to get my nest, and ducklings, in order. If you’d caught a glimpse at my room as a teenager, you would have never thought this was possible. Perhaps the tidy side of me was lying dormant until Mr. Clean called to my subconscious one odd day. Whatever the catalyst, warm weather makes me want to give a boost my roost.

Because I don't have anything more pressing to do in life
than bonding with my labels and containers

Indoors or out, nothing is safe or sacred when I declutter. It’s also the time I play stupid.

“Mom, have you seen that old t-shirt with the holes in it I wear to clean bathrooms?”
*Jen crosses her fingers.*
“It’s missing? Huh; that’s strange, Ryan.”
“Hey Jen! I just found that pair of binoculars I searched high and low for last fall before the Purdue football game. They were in the coat closet!”
*Jen snickers knowing their exact location. She retrieved them from Mike’s messy office two days ago and returned them to their rightful home.*
“Wow, Babe,’ I say with a smile, ‘that’s great!”

This yearly spring fling isn’t just about my label maker getting a workout. I also inventory the depths of me. While cleaning out my flowerbeds, I take time to look at what’s working in my life, and what’s not. I shine a light into the dusty places of my mind, and heart, and take a strong dose of the reality of what’s inside. Do I like what I see? Would I want others to see what’s in there too? When’s the last time I did something silly? When’s the last time I had lunch with my mom who only lives a mile away? How many times this week did I give the stink-eye to drivers who cut me off in traffic? There’s a lot to digest. 
Clothes organized by color because I'm too lazy
to go on a search mission at the rooster crow.

Yet, there’s much to celebrate too. Like that fact that all my shorts didn’t “shrink” while the weather has been frightful. Isn’t it crazy how that occurs when all they’re doing is sitting in your dresser drawer all winter? In all seriousness, this little look-see into my life isn’t about making a Jen Tucker 2.0. Completely gutting and overhauling the old model and trading her in for a new one isn’t necessary. I think she’s pretty cool; for the most part. It’s about making sure I’m giving my best; being my best while being authentically me. It’s not that tall an order. A tall order would be you and me going halvsies on a bottle of wine while we organize Mike’s office! It’s a danger zone. That my friend is something no one should endure alone. Do I have any takers? Anyone?

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.



Nicky Wells said...

Me! Me! I'm a compulsive spring clean organizer. In fact, I got inspired early this year, at the first hint of sunshine in early March, and started my war on cobwebs, dust and winter smells. I started hoovering and washing sofa covers and curtains, cleaning windoes, sorting out piles of... stuff, throwing out piles of ... stuff. I was doing really well, and then it started raining again. And *then* it started snowing again. (Probably my fault, right?) So I'm halfway through my spring fever. Last weekend, I cleaned the oven top to bottom (even took out the glass from inside the door so I could get in between the insulating layers) and I'd say I'm slowly catching up on myself.

So yes, I'm a taker. I'll organize anyone's office, especially if there's wine on offer. When do you want me? :-)

Unknown said...

Nicky! Thank you so much for stopping by, sweetie girl. I love the spring purge. Out with the old, and I feel all spanking brand new. XOXO