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Broke Wife, Big City
Life-Changing Magic of Giving Up
By Aprill Brandon
Oh, early spring. Isn’t it lovely? That magical time of year where you
can kick the melting, dirty, gray snow out of your path with your new
flip-flops while walking in an unrelenting downpour of freezing rain.
Mmm…so life affirming.
Ugh. Oh, how I hate this time of year. So much. It’s dumb and the
weather sucks and there are no good holidays unless you count St.
Patrick’s Day, which I don’t anymore because I have small children who
don’t understand the importance of day-drinking OR green beer OR making
an idiot out of yourself.
For all these reasons, I should be hunkered down in a blanket fort
binge-watching the world’s most depressing show, “The Killing,” on
Netflix. Just biding my time during this bleak and desolate season
until May when I can once again blind innocent bystanders with the
glare coming off my pale calves.
But what am I doing instead? Making yet another half-hearted attempt at
spring cleaning. Because I hate myself.
It never fails. Every year at this time I feel an overwhelming urge to
get my house in order. To organize. To scale down. To have one of those
minimalist living spaces where you don’t feel like if you fall you’ll
be buried under a stack of Bust magazines from the early aughts and no
one will ever find you and the last image you ever see is Margaret Cho
smirking at you.
Or, barring all that, even just finally wiping off the blades of the
ceiling fan that have literally started to bend under the weight of
dust and dog hair and dead bug carcasses.
And yet, every year it ends the same way: My husband wrestling the
matches out of my hand as I repeatedly scream “BURN IT! BURN IT ALL!”
It always starts out great. I’m motivated. So motivated. Manic, almost.
Because I will get everything done and I will do it all RIGHT NOW. So,
I run around the house and [play the “Flight of the Bumblebee” in your
head as you read this next part]…
Shove any and all clothes that no longer fit into trash bags for
donation, regardless of whether anyone is still wearing them at the
moment. That is until I get distracted and realize I need to…
Go through all the kitchen cabinets and finally throw out all the
canned goods lurking in the back that have been there since the Clinton
administration, which I do until I remember I still need to…
Break down all the Amazon Prime boxes piled up in the attic that are
leftover from Christmas, which I do until I realize I hate breaking
down boxes so I move onto…
Finally cleaning out my gigantic make-up bag, where I will throw out
exactly one red lipstick, which looks like the 27 other red lipsticks I
own, before getting frustrated and…
Decide to organize my massive book collection, but actually I just sit
on the floor and start reading each book I pull down but it doesn’t
The kids have by now woken up from their naps and so I go and retrieve
the red lipstick I threw away from the trash can and put it back in my
makeup bag because you never know when you need a 28th perfect red
I get the kids up and curse my messy, chaotic house.
Maybe I need a plan of attack. A tried-and-true cleaning and organizing
method. I mean, I tried that crap where I held stuff to see if it
brought me joy. Unfortunately I started in the kitchen by the wine
rack. The good news is that every single bottle did indeed bring me
joy. The bad news is that nothing else got done except an angry
error-and-typo-filled email sent to Amazon customer service about the
canceling of the show “Good Girls Revolt.”
I’ve also thought about how I should probably start addressing this
problem from a different front, stopping it before it gets to this
point, maybe. Do one of those “don’t buy anything new for a year” crap
that people always blog about.
Except there is the issue of my book hoarding. I have more books than I
know what to do with and I can’t stop buying them and my husband is the
worst kind of literary enabler.
Get a Kindle, you say? Well, I hope you die and burn in hell for all
eternity, is my response to that.
Sorry. That was a bit harsh. I apologize. E-readers are a great
invention. And who knows? Maybe I’ll break down and get a Kindle one
day. The day they invent one that gives off that old book smell. And
has actual turn-able pages. And is heavy. And is made of trees.
It’s not just me though. My husband loves collecting comic books and
graphic novels. My toddler son has a fierce and unbreakable bond to
every single toy he has ever gotten. Even that broken yellow crayon
stub. DON’T YOU TOUCH THAT BROKEN YELLOW CRAYON STUB! Ever. It’s his
most treasured possession. Well, that and the gigantic kitchen set he
has never, ever used and takes up 35 percent of the real estate in his
Even the baby is a budding hoarder. No one, regardless of age, needs
that many empty water bottles to chew on.
And it’s for all these reasons that I always give up pretty much before
I even get started.
Which is why I’m just going to go out and buy one of those stupid
decorative signs that says “Please excuse the mess, the children are
making memories” and hang it prominently somewhere and call it a day.
Season three of “The Killing” ain’t gonna watch itself.
Can’t get enough of Aprill? Can’t wait until next week?
Check out her website at http://aprillbrandon.com/