After suffering through the flu for three days, it was so nice waking up to no alarm and realizing that . . . “hey! nothing hurts!”. I put on my fleece bathrobe (Hi, Kate!) and went downstairs to have my first coffee in almost 72 hours.
And there was my cleaning lady.
I had sort of lost track of what day it was. I hadn’t been expecting her and here she was, already in the process of doing the spoiled food removal from the kitchen. Darn! Strike One. (Longer term readers of this blog will already know about my continual efforts to keep my cleaning lady happy.) My mind raced to what other surprises were lurking in the house for her to discover. I cringed at the thought of the front porch. A wind storm had blown a ton of leaves up onto it and we had been tracking them into the house for days. The folded laundry was still in piles in the living room. I noticed the dog blankets had been removed – they were hanging outside airing. Not a good sign – probably Strike Two right there.
While the coffee brewed, I quick ran upstairs with an armload of clothes and made my bed. I also shoveled all the clothes on the floor into the walk-in closet and shut the door. As I came back down with various dishes in my hands, I realized that – once again – I had forgotten to get the vacuum cleaner bags she had asked for twice now. Darn! Strike Three. Time for (a quick switch of the sports metaphor and) a Hail Mary.
I told her I was off to the store to get those bags and would be back in an hour.
It was at the store that the euphoria started to set in. Right about the time I took the last two packs of vacuum cleaner bags off the shelf. It occurred to me that, while I was at it, I should get some plastic to protect the porch from Dog Three’s mishaps. On the way to that aisle I saw a poinsettia that looked very festive and put that in my cart, and then I passed the laundry baskets and figured I would replace my old broken ones. There was also a nice wooden box. I had been looking for something like that to store keepsakes in. As I moved the poinsettia to make room for the box, I thought about getting some winter plants for the flower boxes in front of the house. That plan hatched into adding some Christmassy touches and so I chose two candle lanterns and a bag of advent decorations (dried orange slices, dried anise and vanilla shoots, pine cones . . .). By now I could sense that endorphins were rushing through my body. It would probably be a good idea to get out of that store before I got any more ideas. On the way to the check out, I spied some picture frames for my daughters’ school photos. That had been on my “To Do” list for ages – almost as long as “ironing”. Which reminded me of another thing I had contemplated buying . . . I turned and looked for the ironing board section.
As I sat there staring at the selection. I realized that in the past three days I had had only one cup of coffee, (almost) no nicotine, no alcohol, no sugar. I had slept for about 40 hours and drunk gallons of water and tea. My total food consumption had consisted of some pretzel sticks and one bowl of soup. And, yet, I felt great. Cleansed. Energetic.
But . . . not that energetic. I turned and headed for the check out.
A half hour later, I handed my cleaning lady the peace offering vacuum bags and she smiled.
Still in a state of post-pain euphoria, I then I went on a cleaning, sweeping, de-leafing, mopping, weeding, planting, decorating, organizing rampage. I hauled out all the advent wreath/calendar boxes, the Christmas deco and the crèche collection. In the late afternoon, my husband came home with an armload of fir branches and I dived into my last projects of the day. The final decorative touch was potting the poinsettia that started this all.
Here, now are the results of my efforts today. First the advent wreath – before and after:
The crèche collection inside and outside:
(That’s a lot of Babies Jesus for a somewhat heathenish household!) And here are the flower boxes after being freed from the wilted leftovers of the summer petunias:
(What is it about getting older that you suddenly start liking kitsch. Twenty years ago I would have hated all of this. Suddenly now, I find myself drawn to cutesy things, butterfly motifs, knickknacks . . .) And, speaking of kitch, brace yourself for the coup de grâce – the staircase plus candy-filled advent calendar – back by popular (= my two daughters’) demand:
So there you have it. My endorphin-powered achievements of the day. I am officially now ready for Christmas.
And it is only November 26th.
What am I going to do for the next four weeks?