Some women fantasize about sex. Some women fantasize about food. Some about shoes. I, however, fantasize about being organized. This means that I don’t have orgasms. I have organazms. Pottery Barn Kids catalogues are my porn. It’s a recent development for me, actually. I used to be firmly in the shoe-fantasy camp, but then I had kids, and suddenly my structured, type-A, everything-in-it’s-place life began to fall apart at the seams. Now, instead of drooling outside the display window at Barney’s, I find myself lingering in front of The Container Store.
The problem, primarily, is with the piles. Well, ‘problem’ is kind of an understatement; my husband and I have practically sought couples therapy over the piles. He doesn’t seem to understand why the piles exist in the first place (when you bring something inside, just put it away where it belongs), and he certainly doesn’t understand why they keep multiplying and spreading across the kitchen countertops like a fungus. I’ve tried explaining to him that it’s not my fault. I have very few things in the piles. A few loose phone numbers here and there, scribbled onto scraps of paper while balancing a screaming toddler on my hip, some bills, maybe a magazine or two. I’ll take responsibility for half of a pile, tops. It’s my kids who are to blame for the other forty three of them.
Now granted, I will admit that I created the kid piles, but if the stuff wasn’t in piles it would just be spread out all over the floor, so actually, the piles are a form of organization, albeit a primitive one. Some of the piles are legit: things that I just haven’t gotten around to filing or putting away, like the handprints that my son brought home from his Grandma & Me class, the piece of paper with my daughter’s height and weight on it from her four year old checkup (which was in May), or the toys that migrated north from the playroom to the den. But, as I have explained to my husband, the majority of these kid piles should not even qualify as real piles at all, because in reality, they’re comprised not of real things that I am waiting to file, or put away, but rather, of things that I am waiting to throw out, just as soon as a sufficient amount of time has passed so that my children won’t notice. Another rainbow flower picture drawn by daughter. A birthday party goody bag filled with plastic, age-inappropriate choking hazards for my two year old. A handful of business cards that my daughter swiped from my nail salon. None of these things will ever have a permanent home anywhere in my house, and so therefore I can’t just put them away, as my husband likes to suggest in his I-am-a-husband-and-therefore-have-no-freakin-clue-what
trashcan-by-her-mother way of his. I’m perpetually stacking and restacking these doomed piles, and I do toss them out, eventually. It’s just that every time I manage to clear a bunch of them, ten more appear in their place. They’re like cockroaches. Or Gremlins.
But the lack of organization in my kitchen, really, is just another metaphor for how my life has morphed into a flimsy, gaseous cloud of barely manageable chaos. I used to stare at fashion magazines with disgust – “That is so unrealistic,” I would complain about the airbrushing. “Nobody’s skin looks like that.” Now, I throw home décor magazines across the room in frustration. “Oh, please!” I find myself screaming at the sight of spotless, pile-less counter tops. “Nobody’s kitchen counter looks like that!” I hit rock bottom the other day when I picked my poor dog up from the groomer’s. Upon receiving a lecture on how I really need to make more regular appointments for her, I found myself apologizing, almost in tears.
“I’m so sorry,” I explained, trying not to bust out into a full on sob. “I just can barely manage myself and my kids and my job, and the piles, you should see the piles. The dog is just….” I let my sentence trail off so as not to offend her with it’s inevitable conclusion, and she (who is clearly childless) got offended anyway. As the words were coming out, I wondered how this teary, unorganized, unfit dog owner woman could possibly be me. But it is, and short of running away and starting a new life somewhere in a remote, undisclosed location, there’s simply nothing that I can do about it. I think it’s time to break out the PBK catalogue. I definitely could use the release.