Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flip Flops in November

This week was the first time I ever Christmas-shopped in flip flops. I've enjoyed our balmy November. It's great to wear a sweater instead of a coat. Even snow-loving moi prefers not to be slip-sliding on ice while shlepping shopping bags.

It unusual that I was able to start shopping in November. I usually can't drag gift ideas out of my family until deeper into December. This year, several were more cooperative/frightened; I must be becoming more intimidating in my old age. I certainly hope so.

Whenever anyone let something slip, I jumped right on it. I purchased restaurant gift certificates during lunch; we ordered a knife for someone on an iPhone, while sitting at his kitchen table.

I have less free time these days, and I'm about to become even busier.

I've been arranging some matters for an elderly relative who's been managing poorly at home for almost a decade. We've finally got the legal authority to help her out. I've arranged a massive, week-long cleanup of her house, which will involve a group of relatives and teams of professional organizers and cleaners. And, in a supporting role, a 2-ton dumpster. We'll need every inch of it. The relative will be safely out of town so she won't witness the commotion. (Arranging that was the trickiest thing of all.) I've been investigating daily home care services, too, for afterward. It will be a big adjustment for her, but it has to be done.

But before that happens, it's wreath time.

On Monday, the garden club begins its annual wreath-decorating fundraiser, and I plan to work for all four days and break my 22-wreath record from last year. It's more fun than anything, but it's surprisingly hard work, especially if one's trying to be productive as well as artistic. The money we raise goes towards caring for the city trees in the neighborhood. Next week, I'll be posting photos of the wreaths I made, partly so I can remember them, and partly because I'll be too exhausted and obsessed to post anything else.

The house-clearing project begins the morning after wreath-making ends, and continues into the following week, and we're anticipating 12-hour days. Sorting out this kind of mess is my idea of the lowest ring of hell. We've wanted it to happen for a long time but didn't realize we'd need to be among those doing the work.  (I'm a strong believer in paying people whatever it takes to do unpleasant tasks.) We can't just toss everything quickly; we have to go through it all first, looking for important papers and mementos.We will play loud music to distract ourselves from the horror.

Then, finally, it will be mid-December: time to shake off the dust and get back into the holiday spirit. We'll hunt down and put up a tree, continue shopping, and start the wrapping and baking. We'll go to concerts and visit with friends. Somewhere in there, Possum must have his photo shoot for our Christmas cards, since he's the only cat who hasn't yet been our cover star.

Ho ho ho. But first: Yikes!


  1. For those who are new to this side of APB, let me tell you that there are people who request that their wreaths be created by her and only her. She's really good at creating these works of art in the Garden Club elf workshop.

    And, APB, don't forget to pick up some gloves at Back Bay Hardware. You'll need your fingertips for all that sorting of paper and stuff.

  2. Busy, and that sobering responsibility which I don't envy but as my mom is 81, will no doubt face at some point. I do have siblings to help and every time I visit I try and clean out stuff, which my mom promptly finds in the garbage and says things like "I was going to read those magazines, or eat that outdated jam (but it wasn't opened, it's fine...). So glad you have the highlights of the holidays ahead, too...


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