Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sooooo Waaaaaay Off Subject. . .

Regarding today's post, all I can say is the only details remotely connected to the theme of this blog are the two every day constants: I continue to be a femme d'un certain age (though barely, ahem. . .) and I'm sitting in front of my computer in the countryside outside Paris. 

Since as I predicted (and you may have noticed), I've been "away" for a few days -- figuratively, not literally -- I thought I would share my adventures with you.  I also mentioned at the time my daughter would be home, a detail highly relevant to today's post.

I don't know how many of you put credence in astrological signs, but I'm going to assume you do to make the telling of this tale more trenchant.  I'm a Taurus; Andrea is a Virgo. For the uninitiated let me simply say: These two signs have wildly different attitudes toward order, organization and general every day maintenance of a certain level of sanity. 

(For those of you who are experts on rising suns, falling moons and shooting stars, I know nothing about the nuances of the zodiac. I'm only into the basics and in my experience certain inalienable truths consistently repeat themselves.)

A Taurus is more laissez-faire, while a Virgo is faire tout de suite before a mole hill turns into a mountain and one starts to suffocate under the detritus and obligations of the quotidian. 

It all started when Andrea realized I had transferred my detritus from her room into the library making the opening of the door a tricky affair. After greeting the dogs, setting down her perfectly packed bags (you know, everything rolled with tissue paper, folded garments, cosmetics in travel size containers, lingerie arranged in special envelopes, shoes in shoe bags -- it's nuts) she started to take a tour of her home. I seriously thought we would have to call in the medics. 

Without boring you with the sordid details, let me tell you: I have not had one moment's peace since she walked through the front door, which btw I scrubbed free of muddy paw prints and straightened the wreathes before her imminent arrival. 

She has arranged every one of my shelves, closets, ironing, desk, filing system, spice shelf; she's made massive giveaway piles divided into designer clothes destined for vintage boutiques and good clothes for charity and she has begged me to never ever, ever buy another pair of black pants or sweaters of any sort for the rest of my life. Clothes are now arranged by type and color. She has put the items I wear most often up front; center are the less often worn and at the back evening clothes, as in black tie get-ups, which rarely get an outing these days. 

The library is now a library again. Her room is clutter-free, my desk top has work space (!) liberated of layers of papers, books and magazine pages. The stacks and stacks and stacks of magazines have been handled in two efficient procedures: sorted and kept, tossed.

Each step along the way to my personal sanity and future efficiency she asked me what "system" I wanted in place pointing out that unless it works for me it won't work. I explained the basic definition of the word "system" worked for me and merely asked that she explain it to me. I do know how to follow orders, particularly when they are in my best interest.

At my request she will prepare a notebook to keep me on track.

Since "according to studies" by whom heaven only knows, new year's resolutions last until February 17th (you've got to ask yourself who came up with that exact date and hope your tax dollars were not paying for the study) I hesitated about writing a blog on the subject. 

But getting my life in order, as in the "stuff" of my life was my major resolution. Being a Taurus and all, it never would have happened without the Virgo. Now I feel so liberated as if a huge weight has been lifted off of me -- well actually it has. 

The next weight will be the famous regime of which I will regale you in the future.

All of this is to say my new year is starting off swimmingly (oh, yes I've re-signed up for my aqua gym classes). Junk removal has put me in a euphoric frame of mind. 

That ethereal state is primarily due to spending non-stop quality time with Andrea the way we always did in the past. 

That unfortunately can't be neatly arranged on a shelf where I can reach it every day.

Ed. Note: Picture of the closet is from the late, great Domino magazine and for the record my birthstone is diamond (April), green is not my favorite color and Andrea's birthstone is peridot (August). Voila


materfamilias said...

Wow! Not a Virgo in my bunch, and I'm feeling very envious! What a wonderful gift, and it sounds as if your daughter is sensitive enough about the project that she's left room for you not to feel jostled but rather rejuvenated. And now you'll be able to enjoy the time you have together in a decluttered, organized space -- lovely!

Chemin des Muguets said...

Lucky you! My daugher arrives on Saturday for two days. I wish she had more time to work some wonders on my environment. Not that I need it-everything is 'parfait'!

Your're an inspiration,


Marsi said...

I hope Andrea's flight home is somehow diverted to Denver so she can pull off one of her minor miracles in my home office.

It does feel wonderful and liberating to declutter (and even better, I'll wager) to have someone help you out with it. I think it's a great way to start the year, start your visit, and start your big project. I see great things coming out of this.

You should take all of your designer discards to the resale shops in Paris, then buy something special with the cash.

I have missed your posts and was delighted to see one this morning. Hope you are having the best time with Andrea!

Marsi said...

P.S. xoxoxo

aaonce said...

Tish, so so funny. I do the same thing your daughter does for you for both my mother and sister when I visit them. I also help them both to assess recent (or desired) purchases for what is or isn't consistant with "their" style, and what is a duplicate of what they already own. They both do the same for me; isn't family a wonderful treat?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Tish your daughter sounds like my dream come true... can she come over to my house???

Deja Pseu said...

If your daughter ever wants to visit Los Angeles, we'd love to have her come stay with us! ;-)

Mom on the Run said...

Sadly, I'm the only one who feels it necessary to keep things in order around here. I spent the entire fall disposing of years worth of clutter. I was so proud when I showed the boys how I had arranged all their shirts in their armoires by color so they could easily find what they wanted to wear and the only comment was "that's the gayest closet I've ever seen".


ELS said...

Darling Tish, so pleased to see you back! What an utterly heart-filling post, Andrea sounds like a dream and how lovely that you have had this fantastic time together. Enjoy every last minute of it - I know you will!
E xx

Jacqueline said...

Oh damn, If I'd known this stuff about Virgo's, I would have arranged my pregnancies accordingly.
I wish that I enjoyed de-cluttering.... I just find it so boring.
Well, high five to Andrea and I hope that you treated her in some way. I'm sure that you did, Tish.
Have a greaat time together. XXXX

Lorrie said...

My question is - how did you feel when she came in and starting organizing? Did you feel threatened at all, or did you just enjoy being with her so much that whatever she did was fine?
The end result sounds fantastic, and like other commentors, I'd love to have her come and organize my house. (I think :))

James said...

I have missed your musings, but this post was worth the wait! A delightful story. well told. Your daughter is a gem.

Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart said...

Ah, you are back! ca va mieux... and Andrea? we all WANT one, we all NEED one! It's the exact opposite her.Well, except that I am no Andrea. so the result is not even close. Dommage. Bon sejour Andrea; Et Tish, vraiment drole ce post!

Anonymous said...
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Catherine said...

I can just picture it....
Big bises to you both!

BonjourRomance said...

You are so lucky, your daughter sounds like a dream - is she available for hire? So glad you have this time with your daughter and in a new and very organized space, how lovely my friend!

Mary said...

Tish, consider this. The mom is the Virgo and the daughter is not. It has made for an - umm...interesting life. My daughter and I love each other dearly but as the mom, I've learned to keep a lot of opinions and actions to myself as it doesn't quite work if I offer to arrange her sock drawer. I love your post and your perspective on this subject.

BigLittleWolf said...

Could you send her to my house please? French spoken here.

All I have to show for my college boy's 2 weeks of partying (while home, on break) is more mess (and missing him more). Not a clean (guest room) closet in sight.

Semi Expat said...

Oh how I love it!! Such a great post... I am afraid I am a little like you with regards to organisation etc... but WHEN I do make the mammoth effort to sort out etc.(or someone helps me) I do and feel like a weight has been lifted... (that is until it all gets in a muddle again!)
A.Does your daughter do this for a living? and B. How does she fancy some time in Australia? :-)

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Oh yes - Andrea is definitely a Virgo. I need a Virgo in my life right now. I do have a Taurus - my husband. He's also very organized but....we butt heads! I'm trying to de-clutter too but I stop and passionately swoon at all the objects...and that's because I'm a Scorpio!
Great post, Tish.


knitpurl said...

Thank you Tish for making me laugh. After Denver and Los Angeles, and everyone else, maybe Andrea can de-clutter me too! Is there a needed business here???? Just wondering, xo!

Kristi said...

I love that! My daughters are going to be challenges for me based on their astrological sign alone. I also was excited to discover that cool graphic from wish a friend and just stole it for me site ... thanks

Nicki said...

I wish my true Virgo would come out. I am one but lean more towards being a Taurus. I need to reach deep and organize! Regardless of the lack of peace, the visit sounds like it was a wonderful time.

La Belette Rouge said...

Tonight when we go to the adoption meeting I am going to request a Virgo child.;-)

beansgood said...

I'm not a follower of the zodiac signs but I can tell you that I'm an eclectic mix of being very organized and then quickly throwing my hands in air, taking a relaxed back seat, to those that I find in direct opposition of how I like to do things or have things kept. I can be a very hard, thorough worker and I can be lazy as well.

I love being organized, I hate clutter and yet, I live with mounting clutter and disorganization to a certain point and then go like a white tornado, getting horribly distracted along the way, thus missing my incredibly impossible goal of cleaning my entire house top to bottom.

Lucky for you to have such a wonderful daughter to come and clean out some of those cob webs that allow a fresh new outlook on things.

My Carolina Kitchen said...


Your closet is gorgeous and beautifully arranged. Put me down for the clothes give-away. I think any of us would be thrilled with your cast-aways. Your daughter sounds awesome.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Hi Tish!
Good for dealing with the clutter!I am clutter phobic. I have some but don't want to Deal with it but I do.It's great your Virgo daughter could help you out!!!
Maryanne xo

Tish Jett said...

You are all so lovely. I must say, having my life in order, materially speaking, is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me. Now I have to stay on course. As with all "regimes" that's the tricky part.

Mom on the Run, You made Andrea and me lol.

Jackie, You too. I got a Virgo by pure dumb luck.

No, Sarah, Drea doesn't do this for a living. She works for a large non-profit in the States. That's sort of what she did for me -- it was a non-profit experience on her part. (I did take her shopping however.)


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