Out and About – Week of November 26th

I am very happy with my little office. It’s always been sort of a sanctuary where I can hang out, think, dream, write and on occasion, enjoy a power nap. The office has a great view of the Rocky River as I look out the north window. By looking out the west window, I can keep tabs on the ambulances and fire trucks as they leave Station 2. There is no need for air fresheners in the office because the coffee shop downstairs provides all sorts of pleasant aromas that might be found in any eatery that has fresh baked goods.

My one concern and I have yet to lose sleep over it is that my office has accumulated some important junk. I have sworn that I will never move out of my present location because I don’t have that many close friends who are willing to help me move. I mentioned moving once; and that was when I found out that my one good buddy had recently had back surgery and his cousin’s brother-in-law was having a hip replacement the next week.

Margareta Magnusson has authored a new book entitled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved One’s Lives Easier and Your Own Life More Pleasant”. This might sound a bit morbid, but I think it might make a lot of sense. Without having to quote some of the ideas, I’ll just mention one:

Check your storage areas and sort through what you have. You have a choice here. You can do this yourself, or you can have your family go through your private stuff and have a laugh or two at your expense.
Someone once said that we should all move about every ten years. As we’re packing, get rid of those things you haven’t used in the past year. This would not pertain to family heirlooms and precious photos. Class yearbooks are very hard to pack because I always end up looking through each one of them while making note of those classmates who have passed away recently.

Another thing that is difficult for me as I “clean house” is that I have things that I don’t use anymore but they are still in great shape. A friend suggested that I offer them to someone who might be looking for that one special item. This idea really does work.

Margareta Magnusson says in her book, “Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of some of the abundance. Mess is an unnecessary source of irritation.” She goes on to say, “Death cleaning is not about dusting or mopping up; it is about a permanent form of organization that makes your everyday life run more smoothly, and you may even find the process itself enjoyable. It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth.”

To me, the most difficult part of cleaning is getting started. Cleaning usually leads to sorting and that is where I really get distracted. I start sorting in one area, then pass by another area and before long, I’ve got three piles of junk that I’m not sure where it should go. I’ve found that it helps to have a friend work with you because that friend might be able to keep you on track. That friend might also come in handy when it comes to hauling some of that junk to the dump.

It seems that there was a bit of a mix up as far as the by-line is concerned with my column of November 13. The by-line for my column that week read, “Midterms: Republicans had a great story to tell, and it staved off disaster”. That by-line actually belonged to the column printed next to mine. In other words the by-lines were switched by human-error. There are two things I prefer not to discuss: politics and religion. This is especially true when it comes to writing this column. My feelings on both subjects are private. I’m not sure whether this newspaper printed an apology or not, so I will only say, “It’s no one’s business how I feel politically. If you enjoy a laugh or two, this column is for you.”

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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