Project Paper Purge

I’ve been cleaning my desk, including (or especially) the reams of papers contained on, in, and under it.

I’ve emptied the paper shredder at least 4 or 5 times, cleared out paper jams (from over-use) at least twice, and have brought out 2 or 3 paper grocery bags full of non-sensitive papers to be recycled. I can’t even guess how many times I’ve had to blow my nose from the dust.

Thought I’d share a sampling of what I’ve found.

From one of my “inboxes”:

  • A folder full of stuff to read from 2 years ago (never read);
  • A feather;
  • A die from a Boggle game;
  • A pom pom;
  • Bills (unopened) and coupons (unused);
  • A yarn wrapper;
  • Various papers I meant to file a few years ago but still haven’t decided where to put;
  • A Pokemon trading card;
  • A ticket stub for “Hanna” (a movie I’d pretty well forgotten about);
  • A map of local parks I never opened up to use;
  • Directions to a friend’s house for a party;
  • One nail from a nail gun (I don’t own a nail gun);
  • Instructions for use for stuff I don’t own anymore; and
  • Old pretty wrapping paper I intended to use again somehow.

It’s been…interesting. Though I have had many mysteries solved as I’ve opened mail for the first time–from years ago–and found ‘first notices’ I hadn’t known about. As in, I get second and third notices and I don’t understand why since I never received a first notice.

Huh, turns out I did.


An Abrupt Shift to Spring

I got some bad news last week.

I had driven up the North Shore of Lake Superior on Sunday, and back down on Monday. I got some pics, including this one at a rest stop:

Split Rock River rest area / pull off on Lake Superior.

Split Rock River rest area / pull off on Lake Superior.

I drove down to the Twin Cities metro area for class, and I was incredibly excited. I had secured a brief gig line editing for someone and writing/designing a web site for a small business – two separate, paying, jobs!

After class I got the news: my grandfather had succumbed to cancer after a five-year fight.

I was no longer excited.


I don’t want to focus on my grandpa’s story, though. It’s too new for me to write about here. I know that five years is a long time to prepare oneself, but it was still a shock to receive the actual news.

Last week was a whole lot of phone calls, texts, and trying to coordinate people, schedules, etc. Wednesday night was the wake and visitation, and the funeral was Thursday. My grandfather was Catholic and active in his parish, so in a way it’s pretty cool that his funeral mass was during Holy Week. Personally, I didn’t receive much comfort or closure from the religious proceedings, but I did really appreciate the church basement luncheon after the interment.

I made sure to spend a bit of time thanking the church ladies for their work making so much food for us.  Nothing was store-bought. Everything was made by those ladies, including a rainbow-colored panoply of Jell-O salads and two different kinds of potato salad (total aside: my understanding is that this type of food is distinctly Midwestern, as is the church basement luncheon. It may not be haute cuisine, but it was comforting at a time when we sought comfort, and was a labor of love).

As important as the rituals of burial and the comforts of community and family, I was glad to go home and approach grief in my own way.

Turns out it’s spring cleaning.

I spent Friday cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. It was one of the first days up here I could open all of the windows for the first time in months, and I got outside and chipped away at the ice build-up, I wiped things down, I gave away a set of china I don’t use anymore which freed space for my fabric stash, and so on.

Outside, I found a powerful reminder of spring and renewal: grass shoots in the cold mud.

The first grass shoots of spring - at least in my yard.

The first grass shoots of spring – at least in my yard.

I also found the iris has decided to come up, as well as a lovely little Box Elder Bug sunning itself.

Early Iris Shoots


Box Elder Bug & Iris

Grandpa was a tidy person, and I know he would have appreciated my effort to make my home a better place for me, my children, and my guests. Cleaning felt very appropriate, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to concentrate on any real homework. My focus was pretty shallow. ┬áI stayed home from a party that night and stayed home from school the next morning. Boyfriend treated me to breakfast out at an Ecuadoran restaurant in town and then it was home for more cleaning, then off to an early Easter celebration. By the end of all of that, I was too exhausted to be sad anymore. I know it was also due to the cathartic nature of a good house-cleaning spree.

With some more time, my creative spirit will return. I hope it’s soon.

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