What can you do when the windchill factor drops to the single digits and you can no longer find an excuse to be outside so you can continue to ignore some long-neglected inside jobs? My sock drawer is stuffed so full that it takes some creative maneuvers to get it to close, and I won’t even mention that I already filled up a nightstand drawer with the overflow a few years ago. When I tried to put my clean socks in the drawer today, I decided that the situation couldn’t be ignored any longer.

When tackling such a monumental job, I feel it’s important to trick myself into thinking it will be an enjoyable task by first sliding my comfy wicker rocker close to the sock drawer in the big dresser, ignoring the overflow in the nightstand momentarily. Next, I tell Alexa to play my Pandora playlist nice and loud while I fetch my ice water and a few garbage bags and settle into my chair.

The drawer is so stuffed that it doesn’t open all the way until I start removing handfuls of a wide variety of socks. I start piles for Goodwill with the ones that are in better shape, and my garbage can is handy for what I figure nobody else would want, and my lap starts filling up with those that I actually wear. There are piles of “no show” socks, ankle socks and crew socks and over the calf trouser socks. There are two pairs of compression socks ($$!) that I will definitely keep even though I haven’t been able to get them on since I broke my wrist.

There were a couple of weird varieties that made me wonder what I was thinking when I even put them back in my drawer. Before I bought the authentic compression socks, I bought some imitations, and was surprised when I opened one package and found that they were black fishnet compression stockings! For some reason I thought that was hilarious, but I tucked them into a corner of the drawer just like I figured that someday I might wear them. The other strange pair were called Miracle Copper Compression Anti-Fatigue socks. They had bands of copper colored material around the foot part, and I remember that I became quite fatigued just trying to get them on. They were also way too long, so WHY did I carefully fold them and return them to the box and keep them? I hope someone shopping at Goodwill can use those two items.

Tackling the overflow drawer was much easier because now I was really in the zone. Alexa had played a couple of my favorite John Prine songs and I was grooving! Imagine my surprise when I realized I was finished with the job in record time. I got rubber bands and made bundles of the same types of socks and stuffed them into a garbage bag to be delivered to Goodwill.

Now that I was on a roll, I asked Violet to come over the next day and help me clean out the toy boxes that occupy a prominent place in a corner of my living room. Since it will soon be time to rearrange things to make room for the Christmas tree and village, the toys had to be consolidated somehow. Violet and I had a nice lunch to fortify ourselves before tackling the big job, which involved three small toy boxes, a loaded bookshelf and an easel chalkboard full of chalk dust and small pieces of chalk.

We started by carrying all the summer toys to the basement, which gave us easier access to the toy boxes. Violet collected her Barbie dolls, only one of which had shoes on. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the whole foot and ankle pops off when the shoe is removed with most of these dolls, so we had 5 footless Barbies. By the time we got to the bottom of the first toy box, we found four foot/shoe combinations, none of which matched the footless ones! By then, I was on my own because Violet was busy playing with the dolls. Undaunted, I started on the bookshelf which contained mostly puzzles and games, with most of the books having been moved to three huge baskets nearby. After organizing the games and puzzles, which miraculously were intact, I got the sweeper out and gave Violet the job of cleaning the chalk dust from the erasers. That’s when the trouble started.

When I turned on the sweeper, it tripped one of the breakers for some reason, and there was no power in any of the living room wall sockets. I made a trip to the basement to study the breaker box, pretending for Violet’s sake that I knew what I was doing. I followed the schematic and found the breaker for the living room which I turned back on, hoping that would fix the problem. It didn’t. Back to the basement where I Googled what was printed on that breaker but didn’t understand much of what it said. I guess Google can only help if you know a little something about the topic in the first place.

Next, I figured I’d try turning the main breaker switch off and turning it back on again, but although I easily turned it to the off position, I found that I couldn’t push hard enough to turn it back on. As the lights went out and the furnace quit running, Violet said, “Well, here we went from cleaning the toy boxes to having a major disaster!” The temperature in the house dropped a bit and in about an hour it would be dark. Toys were still scattered all around the living room. It was time to call for backup, and luckily Rachel was available. She said it was indeed very hard to turn the breaker switch back on, but she managed and soon the furnace was running again. Major disaster averted!

Is it any wonder that as this weekend draws to a close, all I want to do is binge-watch Heartland on Netflix and go to bed early? Enough cleaning projects already!

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Marilyn Secco is a retired teacher and author of the book “Front Porch Tales.” She has 2 children and 5 grandchildren and lives in Kersey with a temperamental cat named Tidder. Contact her at mbsecco@windstream.net

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