Long ago, my mom gave me a cheerful ceramic bear holding an artificial rose, with the words “I Love You” across its chest. I had it in my kitchen display cabinet (shown here) for a while, but then the rose started to decay and it didn’t look as good. I didn’t want to throw the bear away because it was a nice gift full of positive emotional energy, so I put it on top of a box in the basement.
 

Ceramic bear with "I Love You" on its chest, holding a decayed fake flower. 

I noticed it again while tidying the basement recently. The cardboard box lid was strewn with little bits of fake rose that had fallen off. This time, the energy was more along the lines of “poor forlorn little piece of junk.” So, the bear just had to go. Sorry, Mom.

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

Last year my houseplants got infested with gnats. I tried repotting the plants, but there were so many gnats flying around the house that they soon colonized the new potting soil. My husband tried setting out cups of apple cider vinegar to trap the gnats, which didn’t do anything other than make the house smell like vinegar. What finally got rid of the gnats was covering the potting soil with a few inches of sand. The plants are thriving now, the annoying gnats are totally gone, and as a bonus I don’t need to water as often because the sand cover keeps the moisture in the soil longer.
 

Healthy pothos plant in a black pot. 

Often that’s the way of things—a problem starts with something tiny and grows to seem hugely annoying, which leads to making the situation worse by putting time and effort into bothersome fixes that don’t work, but all we really need to do is to spread just a little sand over our worries!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Thanks to Carolyn at Nuggets of Gold for contributing a story prompt: hurricane, chameleon, and jellybeans.
 

Jellybeans of different colors in a green plastic bowl.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

Ronda struggled to latch the storm shutters as the gusty winds came close to ripping them from her hands. Shut inside the cabin, her cocker spaniel Trevor barked once, a nervous yelp. “Just one more window to go, and then we’re done,” Ronda said loudly, to reassure herself as much as the dog. Fat drops of rain, just beginning to fall, spattered the hood of her nylon jacket. Sunset was still an hour away; but with a hurricane blowing in from the Gulf Coast, already it had gotten so dark that it looked like night.

Spending the winter in Florida had been her husband’s idea. Nolan was a traveling salesman, and Ronda had a small online business, so they didn’t have to stay in their little Indiana hometown but were free to live anywhere they wanted. Getting away from the snow and enjoying the sunny days and lovely wildlife of Florida had seemed like a great idea. But as it turned out, there hadn’t been much sun—three strong storms already, and it was only December.

Getting the last shutter fastened, Ronda hurried inside just ahead of a colossal downpour, hoping she hadn’t let any of that lovely Florida wildlife into the cabin with her. She didn’t mind the birds so much because they really were pretty, even though they often kept her awake late at night with their nonstop chirping and squawking. But all those scaly, beady-eyed reptiles, ew! Lizards and snakes everywhere, and the occasional alligator by the roadside—they gave her the creeps.

“We’ll be okay if the power goes out,” she said to Trevor, who wagged his tail as if he could understand her. “There’s plenty of fuel in the generator, food in the pantry, and a flashlight on the kitchen table.”

She took a quick glance in that direction while hanging up her jacket. Yup, there was the flashlight, next to a green plastic bowl full of jellybeans. All of a sudden, Trevor launched himself toward the table, barking furiously! Jellybeans flew everywhere, and the bowl hit the floor. Fortunately Ronda already had eaten most of her favorite flavors, and many of the spilled jellybeans were lime green, which she disliked.

Just then, the power flickered and went out. It came back on a second later, before Ronda reached the table. And that was a very good thing, because when the lights came on again they revealed a lime-green chameleon perched on the flashlight handle, right where Ronda had been about to reach—staring at her with its big bulging eyes.
 

Front view of a mostly green chameleon.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

Trevor growled, Ronda shrieked, and the terrified chameleon leaped off the table and ran for its life! Opening the front door to shoo the chameleon out, Ronda grabbed Trevor by his collar so he wouldn’t go tearing after it. Rain splattered all over the hardwood floor before she could get the door closed, which was okay because the floor needed mopping anyway.

“You can’t have candy, it’s not good for doggies. But you were a brave guard dog, so you can get a treat!” Ronda gave Trevor one of his favorite Bacon Cheddar Biscuits to console him for not being able to eat the spilled jellybeans as she started sweeping them up in a dustpan.

She fervently hoped the chameleon hadn’t been hiding at the bottom of the bowl when she ate jellybeans earlier! And what was it doing here anyway—chameleons weren’t native to Florida, were they? Oh, well, people said all kinds of escaped exotic pets were breeding in the Florida swamps, and Ronda was definitely ready to believe it. Some harmless Indiana snow would be just the thing right about now, she thought, as a huge thunderclap shook the cabin.

“There’s no place like home!” she declared. Trevor wagged his tail agreeably.

Tomorrow my daughter starts her new job in Cleveland. She came home for a year and a half after graduating from college, while she got some work experience and saved up money toward getting ready to move out. We did not charge her any rent, but she tried to help out by doing some grocery shopping. She tends toward impulse buying, though, and my freezer is now full of random stuff that never got eaten.
 

Freezer drawers crammed full. 

I think it’s very unlikely she would want the ancient Fla-Vor-Ice that’s buried under one of those heaps, and I am sure she has totally forgotten about most of what she put in the freezer. Still, just to be polite, before she gets on the road this afternoon I’ll ask if she wants to take any of that stuff with her. I expect most of it will be on the curb tomorrow evening for Tuesday’s trash pickup, though.

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

I had a quiet Wednesday at home because I took vacation before Thanksgiving, while my husband had to go to work. My daughter was back from Cleveland, but she took the dog to the groomer’s and had lunch with a friend. Then, instead of peaceful thoughts, my mind started filling up with “shoulds” — today I have plenty of free time, so I should work on a story project, write my Nurturing Thursday post in advance, do some Christmas shopping online, clean the bathroom mirrors…

But the early afternoon sun coming in my back windows felt so nice and comfortable, I just closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the silence. The mental clutter drifted away like dandelion fluff on the wind. I went out to the backyard, took a deep breath of fresh air that felt pleasantly mild for late November, and noticed that a few pink snapdragons were still blooming.
 

Pink snapdragons still blooming in late November. 

I took a photo and uploaded it to my blog for a draft post; but rather than trying to hurry, I deliberately left the post half-finished and allowed myself to enjoy having an afternoon and evening with nothing much to do. After my family ran the Turkey Trot this morning, I lazed around the house for a while before sitting down to write the rest of this entry. I’m feeling much refreshed now, and wishing a happy and stress-free Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

November 24, 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I went on a road trip with my husband. We had to cross a bridge that was so high it reached up into the clouds. Once we got up there, we couldn’t see anything at all besides the thick fog—no lane markers, no other cars.
 

Cars crossing a bridge on a foggy day.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

Then all of a sudden we went over the side of the bridge and started falling! At first I panicked, but then I thought, “Hey, wait a minute, this has to be a dream because bridges have guardrails.” After that I woke up, found myself in my own cozy bed, and all was well.

So—maybe my subconscious mind was telling me not to worry about the unknown future because it’s not really as scary as it might look. No matter where I go, there will always be guardrails keeping me safe, whether or not I can see them.

One of the decorative items in my family’s previous house was a tall clock that looked like an antique grandfather clock, though it was really just a cheap replica. We brought it with us when we moved, but the color clashed with the woodwork, and anyway it didn’t last very long at our new house before the machinery broke. My husband put it in the basement. He looked at it a few times over the years to see whether he could fix it, but had no success, and it wouldn’t have been worth paying for repairs.
 

Broken grandfather clock in the basement.

We finally got rid of it last week after it had been taking up space in the basement for over a decade. Although it wasn’t in fact a cuckoo clock, the word “cuckoo!” came to mind anyway when I thought about how we had left obviously useless clutter sitting around for that long!

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

My daughter rented a two-bedroom apartment in Cleveland, although she does not have a roommate. The main reason seems to be that she wants to use the second bedroom as a giant walk-in closet to accommodate her extravagant shopping habits, which I illustrated on this blog last summer with a photo of the closet in my entryway, totally full of her coats and shoes.

Although her original plan was to move out last year, it did not happen then, which probably was for the best because staying here another year gave her time to save up some money and get a clearer idea of what she wanted to do. But now she is gone and the closet is empty, except for a few hangers; all its overflowing contents got packed into large cardboard boxes for a one-way trip.
 

Closet with nothing in it but hangers. 

Sometime in the near future I’m going to clean the closet floor and polish the woodwork. Then I’ll paint the walls a nice bright color to get rid of the scuff marks from being piled high with all those pairs of shoes.

One thing I’ve learned from cleaning up clutter around the house is the value of empty space. People tend to think about their stuff mainly in terms of buying more of it, and about empty areas in terms of what else can be put there; but I would say that a comfortable house needs to have enough empty space so that everyone can move around easily and find their stuff when they want it.

Back during the summer, I got rid of a dog bed that Diva Dog totally refused to sleep in (as I mentioned here). My daughter bought another bed in a style more to the dog’s liking and put it next to a wall where the dog often napped. It has the words “Gone Fetching” in the middle, though you can’t see them in this photo with the dog snoozing there.
 

Dog sleeping on a red mat next to a wall. 

Bed, dog, and daughter left for Cleveland this morning, although they’ll be back for a Thanksgiving visit before my daughter starts her new job at the end of the month. It seemed very quiet around the house today. I took the garden fountain off the porch and put it away for the winter because this weekend is forecast to be much colder. In life as in nature, everything changes…

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Many years ago, my kids played Nintendo 64 and Xbox games in a comfortable nook in the basement, sitting on beanbags. The old TV that they used is long gone. More recently, my son helped himself to the TV stand, leaving an empty spot in the basement. But it’s not quite empty, because there are still old squashed beanbags, disconnected speakers, and game stuff down there.
 

beanbags 

I’ll ask whether anyone in my family wants the beanbags and speakers before I get rid of them, but I tend to doubt it because they’ve been in the same spot without anyone using them for so long. More likely, everyone just got used to seeing them in that area and paid no attention to them—which is, of course, the usual way that a house ends up with clutter!

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!