Me & the Closet have a Come-to-Jesus

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back in the spring, I made a valiant attempt to rid my closet of the unfit to be seen in and the simply unfit in the ongoing war of me, my shelves and pie - a battle between dignity, discipline and the capacity of my closet.  Despite what seemed like a battle well-fought, my closet still seemed to be full to bursting with items that, in some case, I filled to bursting.  When I put on the fourth pair of pants one morning that were unfashionably (read: unbearably) tight, I declared war.

Exiled from the closet.
On Saturday, I paraded in front of the illustrious panel of one judge (Mom), and we opened fire on my closet.  The first time she said that something looked "okay," I reached for clarification.  "Does it look okay or does it look fabulous?  I don't do this that often, Mom, so let's be real."  Given permission to declare the dreckitude of any subsequent ensembles, clothes started falling into one of the following categories.  There were the proud and the few who returned to the closet with a hero's welcome.  And then caught in the line of fire was the slim pile of fatter clothes I've managed to undergrow and the fat pile of skinny clothes that I continue to outweigh.  Behind enemy lines was a robust mound of clothes that were to be given away, bound for a new home; and lastly, those clothes so worn out or so...awful...that there was nothing to be done but trash.  Mom perched on the desk chair and snipered bunchy seams, tight bottoms, and baggy tops. 

Give it away, give it away, give it away now
As Colonel Mustard said, "This is war, Peacock.  Casualties are inevitable.  You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.  Any cook will tell you that."

In the end, there were causalities.  The fat and skinny will be allowed to stay, living for a time in the basement until we determine if I am going to stay at this size or continue to yo-up and yo-down.  But the giant giveaway pile?  It's collateral damage.  I've already donated some long slender pants to my tall slender sister. 

Lest you think that this war waged left me unchanged, I am a seasoned closet soldier now.  As much as I love shopping (and I do), I'm going to try to impose a few new rules on myself:

1) I will not buy clothing that does not quite fit or flatter because it is on clearance.

2) I will accept that I am no longer in my 20s and able to sneak by with inexpensive pants for my rather significant rear end and will invest instead in well-tailored bottoms for my well-tailored bottom.

3) I will limit myself to buying clothes with style and not add to my collection of simple, suitable, solid tops that make me feel simple, suitable and, well, a bit boring.

4) I will not purchase any more denim until 2014.

5) I will go to work tomorrow to earn the money to pay for the clothes I need now that I've dispensed with all that I had.

That's the Ticket

Monday, September 13, 2010

In attempts to make progress toward moving into my house (no comments from the peanut gallery, please), I do sort through possessions from time to time to determine what goes to the house and what goes to File 13.  I found a cherrywood box on the shelves in my room that contained a one-way ticket down memory line - a one-way ticket comprised of a plethora of little tiny tickets.  Tickets to concerts.  Tickets to sporting events.  Tickets to theme parks.  And like a confetti of memories, dozens of movie ticket stubs, each with the name of the movie and my companions written in tiny, tiny handwriting.

Earlier relics include tickets from White Water and the Braves game from my one failed attempt at summer camp (aside from sports camps) at 4-H's Camp Fulton in 1991.  Stuck to these was one square photo from a photobooth strip featuring Sally Aamoth, Jessica Purvis, Bryan Chancey and me. For the sake of all of our dignity, it is not included here.  Then there's the Campbell's Soup Tour of Champions Figure Skater's on Ice at the Omni featuring the 1992 Olympic champions of Albertville, France.  I remember sleeping in the back of Heather Putman's parents' Jeep Cherokee on the way back from Atlanta in what seemed like the middle of the night but was probably 11:30.

Into the high school years with some real treasures: the Variety Show ticket from our senior year at which David Nudelman dropped the infamous f-bomb - my stub is signed by legandary English teacher Roger Bailey as "Rog the Cow" due to his bovine performance in a departmental skit.  The 1996 Homecoming Dance themed "Into the Mystic" that I attended with a pack of girls including Allison Murrow, Jenn Oglesbee and Heather.  Instead of a dance ticket for my senior prom, there's a ticket for Six Flags where my sister took Heather, Niki Hancock and me since we had no dates to prom.  For the record, I also recently found photos of us from that same day with our calculus books that we turned into our teacher for extra credit.  (And in calc, I needed all the extra I could get.)  There's the Fiddler on the Roof ticket that I went to with my sophomore year crush, Chad Dudley.  And the Annie Get Your Gun and Sound of Music stubs from lending moral support to performances by Tim Burger and Jenn.

Which brings me to the slew of musical theater performances I attended when I latched onto drama with a vengeance my junior and senior year.  Singing in the Rain and Grease at the Classic Center.  And Les Mis.  Oh, sweet, lovely Les Mis in my very first time to the Fox Theatre.  I remember being in awe of the ceiling, the grandeur, the smell of the theater.  I loved it so much that I went twice in two weeks with Tim, Jenn, Allison and Tommy Raymer.  I went on to see Rent with the same crew sitting in the very last row of the Fox.  And Stomp - a notable event on the way to which I broke down on the side of I-85 leading to the demise of my beloved 1992 Honda Accord with the pop-up lights and at which was the first time I met my sister-in-law.  (A fact I recognized whether my brother did or not.)

Speaking of my brother, I found the Universal Studios stub from when we went in high school.  And a dozen or so tickets from baseball games and tournaments he played in over the years.  Also in the sporting category is my scorecard from the now defunct Q-zar that suggests I need shooting lessons.

Tempe Landrum took me with her to the dress rehearsal of the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics.  I'm not sure I even knew who Jessye Norman was when I went, but I remember the still humid air being broken by her amazing voice.

Which brings me to a host of concerts - Don McLean, Rod Stewart, Counting Crows, St. Etienne, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, all three Lilith Fairs.  When I saw the stub for Jump, Little Children at the Georgia Theatre, I had to smile remembering going with Niki and standing under the mirror ball listening to "Cathedrals" and totally falling in love with Matt Bivins during "Body Parts."  And then I felt a little shiver when I realized the ticket was from a night almost ten years to the day before the theatre burned down.

As for theaters, there's a hilarious compilation of movie stubs - some mortifying - and some with funny notes like "First time I drove to Athens."  For the record, that was to see Apollo 13 with Niki.  My first rated-R movie stub: Legends of the Fall.  A first date to see Speechless with Michael Keaton and Gina Davis.  Major League 2 with Lizzy Keister, and Twister with Tempe - oh, how many times she watched that movie.  The Cutting Edge with Heather during my figure skating obsession.  Scream with Andi Jones, Jen and Niki when the Alps Cinema was "the dollar theater."  Remember how scary Scream was the first time you saw it?  Several stubs are noted as mine and Niki's "Loser's Night Out" - clearly, high school was bursting with self-esteem.  And speaking of Niki, the ticket that notes we attended opening night of Jerry Maguire was no doubt due to her undying love for Tom Cruise.

These little pieces of paper, bent squares of cardboard, some so faded you can hardly read them,  decades of adventures that all fit neatly in a little cherry box - which, for the record, is totally making the cut for the move to the house.

The Lawnmower (Wo)Man

Monday, September 6, 2010

Call me spoiled.  Or girly.  Or the baby of the family.  (All three would be apropos.)   But I have never mowed the lawn.  I do have a lawnmower - a housewarming gift from my parents - but heretofore the bright green self-propelled Lawnboy with the detachable clippings-catcher bag has been propelled by my dad.  But seeing as how the lawn looked like this:
The grass has reached new heights.
Crop circles are really just aliens' way of telling us we need to mow.

And because the overall curbview of my house was starting to look a little bit unkempt and had me worrying that the neighbors I don't know on the left side might start leaving nastygrams in my mailbox or spray-painting "Cut Me" on the front lawn because it looked like this:
What's up, ghetto lawn?
I decided that today might be the day that I learn to push the lawnmower.  I enlisted the instruction of the world's most experienced lawn mower who has been mowing lawns for eons and covered enough acreage on the Berry College campus (just ask him) to have dulled the blades of at least 87 farm implements: my dad.

We rolled the mower out of my basement and went over the basics.  The little lever you have to grab to crank it.  The best approach to pulling the start cord hard and fast enough to turn the engine over and the squeeze bar that controls the self-propellage.  Grabbing the lever as instructed, I pulled the cord through til I felt resistance and then gave it a yank.  Nothing.  Dad suggested I straighten my left arm out.  So I stood up and held my left arm out in front of me Macarena-style which caused Dad to double over in laughter.  "What?" I asked, perplexed.  He nudged me to the side, depressed the lever, and holding his left arm straight for leverage, gave the cord a mighty yank, immediately starting the mower.  "Oh."  After a few unsuccessful attempts, I was able to get it started.  "NOW WHAT?!" I yelled over the motor.  Dad gestured to the overgrown yard like the world was my oyster, looked at my determined face, thought better of the "have at it" approach and directed me toward a rather straight patch close to the house that would be hidden by bushes if I totally butchered it.  But I didn't! 
Obligatory action shot captured by Mom

Dad made me shut off the mower to give me a few tips, and then I had to start it again.  Uh-oh.  Seriously, you've got to yank that cord from here to Mississippi to get the dratted thing to work.  Hello, lower back pain.  Hello, totally out of shapeness.  Hello, I look really stupid trying to start a lawnmower.
Look at me with my straight left arm!

I learned a few things today while mowing.
  •  That self-propelled thing is garbage.  There was pushing involved.
  • However, if you squeeze the bar hard enough, it will propel, and you will find yourself racing along behind a totally out-of-control Lawnboy.
  • Mom said I would learn to make the lawnmower work for me, but today, the lawnmower won.
  • It is best to close your mouth when removing and dumping the clipping bag.
  • I'm pretty sure that I have muscles in my butt that have never been used before today.  Let's hope that in addition to trimming the lawn, I can get some tush-toning out of this arrangement.
  • We're going to need some Rogaine for this bald patch stat.
  • If you lose control of the mower when it's going over, say the edge of the drainage ditch, it is possible to scalp your grass.
  • It is cruel, cruel fate when you choke the motor with your ridiculously long grass for the 57th time and remember that you requested a key-start mower to avoid the aggressive cord-yanking rigmarole.  And there, gleaming in the afternoon sun, after you've finished the back and front yard and pushed through to finish the side yard, is a key zip-tied to the handle.
With God as my witness, I will never go yanky again.

The shorn backyard in all its glory.
That, my friends, is a well cut lawn.