Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I was afraid I’d find out I golf as poorly with my new clubs as I did with my old ones, that it isn’t my awful old clubs, it’s me. Reality: My game is improved. I’m still not good at it, but I hit farther, and straighter, with my new clubs. It’s also nice to have a new bag with bright, shining clubs that all match in it. I especially like my driver. The head of it is almost as big as my face, but the club is very lightweight. I’m going to have to go to a driving range and try out each club to see how each performs differently. I have three hybrids that take the place of some irons, but the numbers on them are different, seventeen, twenty-two and twenty-five. I’ll take notes so I don’t forget.

I called AmTrak on Monday and connected with a wonderful agent who was not in the least intimidated or irritated with the route a friend and I want to take next year from Saint Paul to Seattle to Sacramento to Salt Lake City, with stops along the way to do book signings. She figured out the fare both with a rail pass and "point to point" – every place we want to get off calls for a separate ticket when we get back on for the next stop – and it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper point to point. That surprised me. But we’re booked, so I guess it’s really going to happen. Look for us in your town, if you’re on our route, in June of 2010. Scheduled stops are: Fargo, Wolf Point, Cut Bank, East Glacier Park, Spokane, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Reno, and Salt Lake City. Whew!

We moved into our current residence in June of 2007, from a four-level townhouse to an apartment. I moved from an office made from a nice-size bedroom to a windowless den more than a third smaller in size. So it wasn’t just because I didn’t want to move everything stored in my office to our new place, I couldn’t bring it along. Once I realized that, it was amazing what I decided I could do without. It’s also amazingly liberating to throw things away; it’s like putting down a heavy load you’ve been carrying for a long while. You add to it a little bit at a time so you don’t notice how huge it’s gotten. Then you start to clear things out, toss this and that and it’s almost like an avalanche. "If I don’t have to keep this, how can I possibly think I need to keep that?" Whoo-hoo!

What's interesting is that, two years later, I don't hear myself saying, "I wish I hadn't thrown that out" about anything!

I do wish I were more the sort of person who is very organized. I’m married to that sort of person, and it’s the biggest thing I’m envious of. People visiting us for the first time have no problem telling which office belongs to whom. One has everything put away in neat folders properly labeled or stacked on shelves in an orderly fashion. The other has stacks of paper not filed (every so often I’ll get angry at myself and will catch up on my filing, but in less than a week, there’s another stack built up), shelves cluttered haphazardly, and bags of partly-finished projects (at least they’re in bags, not left out to collect dust) piled all over the place. I like to think my office looks friendly and lived in; my husband would go mad trying to work in such disorder.

Maybe that’s what it is. I can live in more disorder than some people; less than others. I have at least two friends who can live with more disorder than I can stand, and many friends who absolutely must have a lot more order than I need. It’s probably something like, "the time it takes to complete a given task expands to fill the time allotted to it." The clutter piles up to every person’s ability to stand it. I used to think that if I had more room, so there was a place to put everything, I’d be more orderly. But now I think I’m actually a little neater when the space I’m given is severely limited.

I also like the notion already expressed in these pages that every so often we should pretend we’re going to move and go through our collections with that in mind.


Julie said...

This week's posts have been inspiring to me. 4 years ago, when I decided to separate from my now-ex-husband, I realized that moving even my share of the stuff from a 4,000 sq foot house to a 1300 sq ft house was going to require some serious purging. I took multiple loads of books to the half-price store, and a bunch of yarn and other craft stuff to Goodwill. I've since realized I need to unload a lot more. I'm a librarian, as well as writer and lawyer, and that training has served me well. Look at your stuff and ask: "Is this important enough that I should use up some of my limited space on it?" Also, if you find yourself saying, "I might use that some day," you should probably toss it. If you don't already have a solid plan for it, it's probably superfluous. And Monica, remember to start with the short clubs at the range, and work your way up to driver.

Terri Thayer said...

I moved thirteen years ago. I sorted hard because we had to pay for part of the move and never missed a thing I didn't bring with me. Now, before I bring something in the house, I try to picture me using it in the next month or so. If that's not going to happen, I leave it for the next person to buy.

Terri Thayer said...

I moved thirteen years ago. I sorted hard because we had to pay for part of the move and never missed a thing I didn't bring with me. Now, before I bring something in the house, I try to picture me using it in the next month or so. If that's not going to happen, I leave it for the next person to buy.

BeadKnitter said...

HURRAY! You're coming to Spokane.

We are currently going through our house to get rid of stuff for the semiannual family yard sale. I'm finding stuff I'd forgotten I even owned. If I can't even remember owning it, I certainly don't need it! Pack rats, that's what Sweet Hubby and I are. I think it's in our genes. Both our parents were pack rats too.

Betty Hechtman said...

Your train trip sounds interesting. What a neat way to do a book tour.

Bookaholic anony said...

The train trip idea sounds positively wonderful. You'll be on the Empire Builder. It is really nice past eastern ND. I will try to catch you in Fargo. You would come though Grand Forks, where I am, at 4AM in the morning. Probably will be asleep then.
I am currently trying to declutter. I am reformed packrat doing the 12 step program of saying goodbye to not needed stuff.
I am a fan of all the bloggers on this site and will forever be. Keep up the good work!!