Back to Normal

It was cold this morning, with supposedly a wind chill of 25 below. The weather service issued a warning to be careful, that such a chill could give exposed skin frostbite within 35 minutes. I wasn’t concerned because I always bundle up, then I remembered — my face! I don’t wear a ski mask or anything like that, not even a muffler pulled up over my nose, because it tends to fog my glasses, and then the fog freezes. It’s so much better to simply stay inside.

So I did.

Because I’ve been spending so much time inside lately, the Christmas clutter has been getting to me. I figured today was a good day to start putting things away, and to my surprise, not only did I start, but I finished!

Without all the decorations and Christmas boxes and ribbons and such, the living room seems bare, but by tomorrow I will be used to the bareness again.

It’s funny to me how so often in mystery stories, a character who lives in a stark place with no pictures and knickknacks strewn around is suspect. Such a person has to be secretive, burying a shady past or hiding a felonious present.

I hope that’s not true in real life, that people who see my empty walls and lack of knickknacks don’t automatically assume I am not as I appear. And if it is true, I don’t suppose it matters. Mostly, though, people seem to be comfortable when they are here. Without being suffocated by my stuff, visitors can — for the time they are here — write themselves into the place. Many people love to have photos and knickknacks everywhere, which does put a personal touch to their space, but it can be overwhelming to live with. For me, anyway. Hence my empty walls and tables.

I do have a couple of personalizing touches — a book shelf and a glass-fronted cabinet — so my space isn’t a complete blank, but there’s nothing on the coffee table and the only things on the lamp tables are lamps.

There is one room with clutter, and that is my work/play room, but the clutter is that of living — electronics and books and notes and started projects. Oh, and a shelf for all my tarot cards.

I’m hoping for one more cold stay-inside day so I can do a thorough cleaning. I did vacuum up as much of the glitter as I could, but I’m sure a lot of sparkles drifted under the couch and bed the way dust does. Of course, no matter how well one cleans, there will always be a bit of glitter hiding in corners and cracks, so it’s a lost cause, but I would at least like to make an effort now that my living room is back to normal.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

4 Responses to “Back to Normal”

  1. Lovey Says:

    I think your living room is lovely! It’s very warm looking, with just the right balance of furniture. Maybe a few plants??? Especially in the dead of winter, a little greenery is very welcomed, and gives some hope for Spring… I love to go to Lowes or Home Depot about the second week of January, when they start bringing out the seed starting kits and seeds. That’s the one time I don’t mind when they rush the seasons. Also looking forward to when they bring out the lawn mowers and grills and put those dam snowblowers away.. But a little too early for that. Another encouraging note, every day in January we gain an extra minute of daylight! February is a short month and by the end of it, you notice the longer day for sure… Litlle things to hold onto… Especially when we live alone. I know you still miss Jeff, and I still miss my Michael…that will never end until we are reunited…

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Thank you for the compliment on my living room. And yes, we hold on to the little things. Sometimes it feels as if that’s all we have are those little things that get us from one day to the next, one season to the next. Too bad there’s not a Lowes or Home Depot close, otherwise I’d do what you do and get some seed starting kits. I guess I could make my own when the weather warms up again.

  2. runawaywidow Says:

    Your home looks lovely and inviting. I also am getting tired of the Christmas clutter. Soon to be gone and out of sight

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