We received notice of a lovely quasi-gift from the supermarket where I do most of our shopping. They sent a card which you could redeem for a poinsettia plant the next time you did your shopping.
My initial thought was that I could take it out to the cemetery to put on the boys' grave until Christmas, when I have a little tree that I got at Big Lots yesterday (and decorated to match the article I was working on all day!)
I checked out the plant display, took a look at the size pot that the poinsettia was in and realized that it was about 10x too big to fit in that little hole they give you for flowers and plants. There only seemed to be only one size available.
I thought about picking up a plant anyway and bringing it home, but then I realized that my F.S.S. prevents me from really being able to enjoy the lovely plant. Walt has F.S.S. too, which makes it that much worse.
You never heard of F.S.S.
Around here we call it "Flat Surface Syndrome." People with F.S.S. have this strange aversion to seeing any bare flat surface, so any flat surface becomes a place to lay "stuff."
I remember back before we moved to Davis, when we ordered a new mattress for one of the kids' beds. There was something wrong with the mattress and it had to be returned. We moved it out into the living room, awaiting the guys who were going to pick it up.
Within a matter of a few hours, you couldn't see the top of the box that held the mattress. It was covered with toys and clothes. It was a new flat surface that had to be filled.
There is another problem that people with F.S.S. have. Once you put something on a flat surface, it immediately disappears. It exists only in some dusty portion of your brain which vaguely remembers putting it down, but until you've searched the house for an hour looking for the slip of paper with an important phone number on it does the dust clear and suddenly you remember putting it on top of the box that's on top of the platter that's inside the salad bowl that's on top of the trivet on top of the kitchen counter.
I watch Oprah periodically, and I've seen other "organize your life" TV specials. Sometimes they are very comforting because occasionally the F.S.S. sufferers who are helped are actually worse than Walt and I are.
Some gallant, inspiring employee of some television program goes into the home, works with the tearful victim, gets him or her (usually her) to sort things into things that have to be thrown out and things to keep. And then they send the victim off on a spa holiday and when she returns, the house is pristine. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place.
I want to revisit those houses in six months. I'll be willing to bet there are piles all over the house again. It takes more than the housing equivalent of a Super Nannie to cure a long-time sufferer of F.S.S.
People have occasionally helped me organize my life. Or, on rarer occasions, I have tried to get things organized myself.
See, this house may look like something you'd see on a local news expose, while you shake your head and mutter "I had no idea she lived like that...." but when it gets cleaned up, I can literally find nothing.
It may take me a long time to find some things, but I know which pile I probably left it in and so I can spend half an hour sorting through a pile or two and generally find what I'm looking for.
When the house is organized there is no place to look. There are no piles. I don't know where to begin looking for that elusive slip of paper.
But of course, it does present a problem. You can never entertain because only your best friends and the people who take care of your dogs really know what the house looks like.
And when some store offers you a beautiful poinsettia, you can't accept it because there are no more flat surfaces left and so you have no place to put it.
Sometimes it's a bitch, having F.S.S.
I'm going off to Cousins Day tomorrow (yay!!!) so don't look for the next entry of this journal until the late afternoon. We're finally going to drink those pumpkin martinis!