Right now, if you take any 15 minute segment of my time at home, there is at least one instance of me trying desperately to remember, within about 6 feet, where the most likely place for any given item might be.






The dog (probably near the food…)

I consider myself a pretty organized person. I’ve written occasionally about how my studio got chaotic, but if I needed an art supply, there was pretty much one room in the house it was likely to be. And most other rooms were similarly contained.  As proof of this, my mom called me today at work and asked, “Where do you keep your batteries?” My answer: “In the cookie jar on the counter next to the dog biscuits.” And I was right.

When Mom moved in, she got the studio, which was cleaned out to make room for her hospital bed, chair, TV, desk, and other various items; about half of the studio items went to live in the upstairs extra bedroom; the other half went into my office. I have vague intentions of doing some organizing on the part that lives in my office, but for right now a closed door is enough to keep me sane (or as sane as I am likely to get in the circumstances.) The rest of  the house (as long as certain doors are shut) is reasonably clean and clutter-free.

Here’s the problem. Mom is a “spreader”. My solution to mail is to put in a basket and then once a week go through and deal with it. Mom’s solution is to peruse each item, arrange the various items into piles, arrange the piles on some flat surface, and leave them. And leave them. And then by the end of the week it’s not just a few piles, it’s a whole army of piles. And they never really go away. They just sort of shuffle around. Some items may go, but some piles never seem to leave. In her house I have seen magazine articles live in certain piles for six months or more.

There have been many inner discussions over the last week about how this is my mom, the only one I have, and I should treasure this time with her, not fuss about organization. And usually, I am able to just grind my teeth, and wait until she goes to bed to put whatever item that has spread out back into its designated area.

But there is a part two of this “spreader” problem. Mom is a gadgeter. It’s not enough to have a can opener, she wants several for various sizes of cans. And today, a set of “Ove” Gloves came into the house.

I have no idea how they arrived. Mom can’t drive. My working theory is that a visiting friend brought them. But is the mere fact of their existence on my counter that sent me over the edge.


Why aren’t the potholders and oven mitts enough? Why has someone spent $20 (technically, $20 twice) to bring this insane item into my home for a woman who cannot cook?

Who on earth is sticking their hand into something that is 540 degrees? And flames?

In a very adult manner, I packed up my gym bag, told my mom and the evening caregiver I was going to run some errands, and went to the gym for my swim class.

I will admit to some talking (yelling) to myself in the car. But after an hour of aqua Zumba, I am over it. I have bigger problems.

Like where did I leave that brochure for the psychiatric ward?