I’m Gonna Konmari the Krap Outta This

Please excuse the forced alliteration. I’m bedridden, and I have lost all sense of decorum. (edited to add: i just realized the Ks might seem an homage to *that* famous repetitive K family. it is not.)

Two days ago, on the day after Christmas, instead of enjoying the dulcet tones of my children whining about their boredom in spite of having a metric tonne of shiny new toys, I fell ill with a stomach bug that rivaled any of my four bouts of hyperemesis.

It was the literal worst. Seriously. I went to the ER, and as I sat in the lobby, utilizing one of those lovely blue plastic accordion receptacles, my fingers and legs locked up. I thought I might be having a stroke, but I guess it was the result of extreme dehydration. Impressive, even for me.

So I had a night’s vacation in the observation ward. I had to leave my little baby at home for the first time overnight without me, and she was….displeased. She refused to take a bottle and slept away her stress. I also attempted to sleep away the entire incident, which wasn’t too difficult as I was given several doses of phenergan.

But after tolerating some carrots and a baked potato, I was given my freedom. I took to my bed and haven’t left since. Which is where I have been stationed for the past 27 hours or so, visually combing through every square inch of this room with the fresh eyes of a woman who has recently read the latest religious text of the organization faithful.

the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing

I first took notice of this book on the shelves of Anthropologie, where I work a few hours per week. I was immediately attracted to the ee cummings-esque typeface, and having heard the word “konmari” tossed about, decided I would give it a quick read. After all, I’ve always been a fan of organization. When I was in high school, I actually asked for a closet organizer as a gift. That’s how much I love to organize.

Yet, I still live in a cluttered mess. Sure, a good amount of that is the fact that I have a family of 6 in a tiny home, but there must be more than that. And so I am committing to this book and this kooky Japanese lady with her weirdo methods.

Which is why as I am perched on my sick bed, impatient to kick the remnants of this nasty illness, I have mentally culled my bookshelf, my sock drawer, and the right half of the top shelf of the closet. (The left door is closed, so I can’t see what I need to ditch from that side)

Does it spark joy? If not, it’s out. Done. Gone. Kaput. Audi-5000.

My plan is to Konmari the hell out of this joint.

I’ll keep you posted. Will this be like the time I tried the Atkins diet? Hopefully not. I mean, pork rinds are straight up nasty.



This Is the Last Day of Our Acquaintance

My thirties are coming to a close, and it feels remarkably unremarkable.

I imagine I’ll wake up tomorrow, and nothing will have changed aside from the fact that I will have managed to have survived into another decade. Which is pretty swell, really. Certainly beats the alternative, as they say.

In anticipation of this birthday, I compiled a brief set of goals to meet ahead of time. Some more introspective than others, certainly, and while I accomplished several, including my renewed dedication to writing, others fell by the wayside, such as finding a decent lipstick shade.

And while I know that turning forty is a big freaking deal, I think what is stuck in my brain is how on earth I’m going to beat the awesomeness that was my thirties.


In my thirties, I became a mother. First, to my sweet baby girl who is creeping up on 10 herself, and then to three more tiny people, one boy and two more girls, who are happy and healthy and loved.

In my thirties,my husband and I bought our first home. Sure, it’s tiny, sure, it needs a metric tonne of work, but it is ours. And that is amazing. It’s terribly adult of us, don’t you think?

In my thirties, I realized a ridiculous amount about myself. I finally got comfortable in this mortal coil of mine. Through four pregnancies, I realized how much my body could withstand and was amazed by that. I stopped being paralyzed by self-consciousness. I learned how to recognize when the anxiety was talking and what tools were needed to get her to kindly eff off. I learned that whatever unkind word popped into my head didn’t necessarily need to pass my lips, no matter how justifiable my emotions may or may not be.

In my thirties, I learned my own opinions, separately from my family and friends  – while some remained the same, not all did.

I don’t suspect I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling any differently. And I would venture to guess that as far as decades go, my thirties were a lot busier than the forties are slated to be. But I have a sneaking suspicion that in ten years’ time, a new list, albeit shorter, will be composed.

Perhaps by fifty I’ll find that elusive red lipstick.

Every Little Ornament Counts

Christmas, 1984. My family was living on base in West Germany, all eight (EIGHT!) of us shoved in a three-bedroom, one-bath apartment. We were on the top floor of three, one of six apartments per stairwell, two stairwells per building. Built in World War II, the architecture was best described as, “early oppressive Stalinist utilitarian.”

Living conditions were cramped, but the youngest three of us were small and therefore not quite as affected. We had the first bedroom when you entered the apartment, a roomy retreat with a set of bunks and my single bed. There was a door into my parents’ room from ours, and as we lived on a guarded and fenced-in base with bars on the window, they probably didn’t feel at all worried that we were the first room accessible from the front door. They wouldn’t have expected any of us to escape, anyway, as we were just not that type of children.

We were, however, the type of children who loved Christmas. And that first winter overseas, we were excited to open up the boxes of ornaments we’d lugged over the Atlantic and make the apartment as close to home as possible. That Friday night, we’d secured a tree from the only lot on base, and after getting it situated in the corner of our crowded living room, had only managed a few decorations before it was time to go to bed. The rest would have to wait until morning.

Around six A.M., the sun was up and so was my brother, Joe. While his twin snored away, his six year-old self was unable to sleep and so he shook me awake. He had a plan: we would tiptoe out to the tree and finish decorating it before anyone else woke up. They would be so excited to see a fully decorated tree!

It was a lovely plan. Truly. We had the best of intentions. We envisioned all of the thanks and admiration we would inevitably receive from our parents and siblings.

But we were two of the shortest kids you’d ever seen. And when two tiny people kneel down, they can only reach their tiny arms so far onto a tree.

And when two tiny people are overloaded on Christmas joy, they overpopulate a very concentrated section of tree branches with every ornament their tiny arms can hang.

Which is right around the time that two tiny people are pinned under a falling tree.

I distinctly remember the clinking and clanking and yes, sadly, some shattering, as the ornaments went every which way, along with our cat who had been silently judging us from her perch on the back of the sofa. My parents shot out of their room and while I’m sure they were ready to murder us, the sight of us trapped under the pine tree more than likely made them unable to stop laughing. As everyone scurried to free us and salvage the ornaments that hadn’t broken, my dad realized that the tree water had poured all over the floor and seemed to be leaking through to the apartment below us. As my mom rushed to warn our downstairs neighbors, the far more refined Bradleys with their perfect two children and their lovely sportscar, I’m sure she momentarily regretted having a big family.

I usually remember the times I was punished, and they were many. But I don’t remember getting in any trouble for this particular disaster. I do believe, however, that was the last Christmas the tree trimming was put off until morning.

fallen tree