Paper! Some how it doesn't seem like there should be so much of it. Yet there it is, coming in daily by stacks and stacks. It really does pile up rather quickly into leaning towers of oddly shaped sheets. They build and build becoming a daunting mess of clutter and ever increasing lack of desire to sort through. A file cabinet, however unexciting and most certainly ugly looking, was much in order.
Pursing craigslist prior to the move yielded some acceptable options at reasonable prices but all were file cabinets and therefore most uninteresting to say the least. Besides, why buy furniture right before a move? That would just be crazy. Pandering to our lazy ways paid off this time when the house we bought came with this file cabinet left in the garage.
Now, this was not even among the somewhat decent looking ones we saw on the internet classifieds but for free the price was right. It only took some gloved spraying down with bleach, lots of scrubbing and sanding, and several coats of blue spray paint. The ever so slight morning breeze caught the tiny droplets of paint. It blew them off target and onto me where they clung to the fine hairs on my skin. Most notably, my neck, arms and face became a pale shade of blue. Not so blue as one might obviously recognize that I had been painting. No, this blue quite perfectly made me look just a little bit off. Seeing me - and people did since I had to run back to the store for more paint - one might think, "She doesn't look too healthy. I wonder what condition she has!"
A full week later and I've still got little speckles of paint stuck to me. The file cabinet is cleaned and prettied up though, sitting waiting to be filed. My desire to sort through those stacks of paper has not increased in the slightest. Instead, I'm just happy to sit and look at my handiwork. Best get to filling it and tackling the rest of the ever growing to-do list for the house.
When the alarm goes off at 5am I reach up quickly to shut if off and roll out of bed. The bed is from Lukas's days in college and rests on a futon frame a few inches off the ground. I feel about 80 years old as I try to coordinate sleep tightened muscles to stand. If I'm lucky I won't step on one of the many blankets draped on the bed. In the dark, in the sleep-dazed fog a blanket underfoot on the hardwood floor would be my slippery undoing. I manage to shuffle feet into slippers and across the floor to the lamp. I try not to punt the cat that is determined to assassinate me by affectionately standing exactly where I am expecting to place my feet and moving directly into the next spot that I choose in my attempt to avoid him.
"Ready for the light?" I ask Lukas, who is desperately keeping his eyes closed to get a few seconds more sleep. He mumbles a response and I twist on the light. There is no romance in the early work day mornings - a most decidedly unromantic time. Night guards are washed, breakfast eaten, a lunch made, the cat cuddled or played with as he demands. As Lukas gets ready to leave, he will invariably say, "Let's go to bed early tonight" and of course, I always agree. Because that sounds so glorious right when I've been pulled from the warm bed and am facing the prospect of a full day. A little something to look forward to, a relaxing evening , an early bed time, feeling less tired tomorrow.
I say, "Have a good day" to Lukas as he walks out the door. Or as he exits the car if it was a slow moving morning and a ride to the BART station was required. And then, with the house to myself and the cat who insists on peering through windows that show nothing but the dark outside, I do my best to avoid the pull of getting back into the bed. It is hard to ignore and I will often catch myself wondering, "Maybe the bed is still warm under the covers." Some days, if I'm truthful, I do turn back in; resetting my alarm again and again until I'm rushing out the door and forgetting things that I meant to do before leaving the house for the day. The extra rest becomes anything but restful.
Some days, though, I don't go back to bed. Some days I take my time getting ready, I read, and make my lunch. And most recently, I do the prep work for that night's dinner. Veggies chopped, spices measured, and meat set to marinate. My favorite though is that when I finally walk out of the kitchen having done ahead all I can do and I flick off the light, the kitchen has been left all cleaned up. Instead of my usual 85 percent effort that leaves most of the dishes washed, but food bits still in the sink and some jars put away with others only tucked into the corners of the counter; instead of that, I take the 5 seconds longer that it takes and actually leave things 100 percent complete.
That feels amazing. Starting dinner in the evening doesn't require cleaning a messy mountain left earlier. With the prep work done I can relax in cooking without taking all night to get dinner on the table. The mess from cooking is minimal and I don't struggle to find the effort to get things cleaned up. I'm more inclined not to leave things for the morning and happy again to wake to a clean kitchen. I marvel every time at what a great idea this was, much like I gush over how great an invention the tortilla press is every time I use it. If I'm lucky, we'll head to bed early so that maybe the next morning 5am won't feel quite as painful.