Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Purging the Office

My office isn't quite THAT bad but things do tend to pile up. Plus I get an itch to rearrange the tables every few months. So there it is. No actual work gets done but cleaning so it all looks nice for a while. A way of procrastinating on all those projects I want to do? Probably. But the office DOES need to be picked up and straightened out!

I am trying to be brutal in deciding what goes and what stays. Some things are easy: I don't need folders for The Boy's school or scout information anymore. Considered it recycled. But new files need to be made, the big photo sort project needs to be put away for now, books need to be packaged for mailing and so forth.

SIDE NOTE: I DID find my National High School Mathematics award pin tucked into a draw normally reserved for office supplies. (It's supposed to be in the jewelry box in my bedroom.)
It is the size of a dime. The story I like to tell is this: during the senior awards ceremony at Mandeville High everyone was presented with sports letters or trophies, depending on the accomplishment. I was getting very excited about getting a trophy which would be my very first. I was called up, first place at my school on this nationwide math exam, and handed a tiny bag with a tiny pin. (Did I mention it was dime-sized?) I think I may have stood a few seconds more in front of the presenter, waiting on a trophy that never came.

Years later my son took the same type of exams in junior high (the National Mathematics people expanded to include 8th, 10, and 12th grades) and got the highest score both in 7th AND 8th grade. He received $20 and a certificate each time.

Back to brutal tossing of office detritus...there are boxes of "giveaway" and "downstairs" (things that belong elsewhere in the house). And the recycle bin is overflowing. But this is all good.

I also listed many of my books about writing on Paperback Swap. They have become an unintentional burden. The thing is, I LOVE books about writing (Stephen King's On Writing is a particular fave --- keeping that one) but I think I buy them in lieu of actually writing. I rarely even READ them. When you aren't making time to write the great American novel I think a shelf full of how-to books only make you feel guilty. So it's time to let that obsession go. And it FEELS GREAT!

I am also ready to toss a bunch of letters that have been sitting in a box for almost 30 years. I am not in touch with most of the people who wrote them and the ones I do have contact with don't have any interest in having them back. I LOVE getting my letters back because in some ways they are journal entries that I mailed away. I have all the early ones from my best friend; we traded them a few years ago. I haven't actually been able to bring myself to read them yet but that's okay. When the day comes and my husband or son needs to go through my possessions I think they will rather read MY old letters than those of my old friends.

In other news, I am waiting to hear back from the medical billing place about a payment I made that they have no record of. Guh. I am getting "final notices" on a $541 bill for the ER doctor who put in my pinkie stitches. CPA Boy has been asking me for the receipt to match up with the credit card bill so we know the CHARGE went through, just not to MY medical account.

And then the woman I talked to asked me to send in a copy of the bill and a copy of our credit card statement showing the charge. I did this but then realized I should have charged it back and made them do their own damn research! Which we may do anyway. Morons.

I have already finished a couple of books this year: At Mrs. Lippincote's by Elizabeth Taylor (the writer, not the actress) and If You Ask Me by Betty White. The first is about a disintegrating marriage in 1945 wartime England; I didn't love it. (It made me want to pick up Diana Gabaldon's Outlander for a more rousing story starting in almost the same time period instead.) Betty's book was cute but shallow. There really is no meat to it other than she loves her life.

I am in the middle of a history on European witch hunts called Witchcraze and a few chapters into a novel called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Maybe tomorrow will be a good day to go to the movies. We'll see. I am making such progress in the office I hate to stop! And I haven't even gotten to the rearranging portion yet!


  1. Do you remember when I called you from my parents' house a few years ago and begged you to tell me that I wouldn't regret throwing out a box of old letters? (Mostly from old boyfriends.) How many years ago was that? In any event, I can tell you that I haven't regretted it for an instant. Purge away!

    I have these fantasies that I'm going to go through my house, one room at a time, and clean and scrub and paint and re-do and rearrange until it's either exactly the way I want it or brand-spanking shiny new . . . except, I always have to work. And when I do get a day off, the last thing I want to do is start a giant project that I won't be able to finish.

    Anyway - have fun with your office! I remember you wanted to paint your old office pink. What color is your new one? I can't believe I haven't seen your house yet!!! Crazy.


  2. Never think that rearranging your office is's justifiable 'cause what you're really doing is getting your mind organized to get work done. I have to do it regularly at work just so I can remember all my "to-dos" and feel calm enough to get it done. That's my rationalization anyway!
    I used to let my dorm room get messy every day so I would have to clean it up before sitting down to study. Then I'd get my books out, sit down, then get up after 15 minutes being too worn out to think, and have to wander off to find distraction. I was most efficient that way.

    Your blog is now on the home screen of my iPad, right next to Lady C's. Thanks and hi! Hope to see you sometime soon.


  3. Shouldn't it be Betty White, the actress, not the author? When you are done, can you clean MY room?