deck the halls / clear the decks

We had a chocolate pudding pie for Thanksgiving.

Not because anyone’s heart beats for chocolate pudding pie. Because I was standing between My Sweetie and the pantry as he limbered up to make his usual Thanksgiving baked goods—pumpkin and key lime pies—and I noticed that there was a storebought graham-cracker crust next to the allium basket. (The basket holds fresh garlic and whatever onion-oriented bulbs My Sweetie has queued up.) Said crust had been languishing since last year; it was too shallow for the key lime filling, and besides, it’s easy to whop up graham crackers in a food processor.

I asked My Sweetie what was going to happen to the prefab crust. He glanced at the box at his elbow, and unhappily at the pan in my hands. He took it from me, still unhappy, and began to murmur, “Well, I think it’s too small for the pie filling, and I’ve already bought the…”

I cut him off. “That’s fine. We don’t have to use it. But I remember that it was too small last year, and I don’t want to keep it if we’re not going to use it. We could just throw it away.”

My Sweetie still looked unhappy, turning the pan in his hands. He started to read the label out loud, “Honey-Maid Pudding Pie. Take one package of pudding… well, we’d have to go to the store for that…”

“Nope!” I rummaged behind the breakfast cereal. “We have one box of chocolate pudding, two boxes of chocolate fudge, and a box of butterscotch.” “We do?? How long have those been there?!” “They’re fine; they’ll be fine for this. So: you want to make a pudding pie when you make the others?”

“Sure.”

In the end, he forgot to make the pudding-pie; I had B make the pie. (“You want me to what? What is it, make pudding and pour it in? Oh! I can do that on two hours of sleep, sure.”) Such a long epic for one little odds-and-ends dessert!

Since I thought the epic was funny, I told A about it last Thursday. She nodded, and said,

“You always do that this time of year, go through everything and get rid of stuff.”

I do? I mean, I do this on a schedule?

***

Today’s schedule inverted, so I had a long morning of nothingness the likes of which I haven’t had since… since before my term papers were assigned, I suppose. There’s something about a term paper that presses down on unscheduled time even when the paper isn’t actually on the agenda. I slept in, lay warm and drowsy in bed while listening to Rome burning I mean the morning news, read my way through breakfast and all the coffee, thought about beginning a poem I’ve been mulling, started padding through the house…

I walked from room to room, staring at what I found there. Boxes of books donated to the church? Out of scope for today. Today I have time to write, after all! I did line up objects that belong on errands (shoes with no heels, shipping). Behind the office work-table I found a careful stack of hand-me-down Presbyterian Women files I got last year, plus a purse destined for resale, and a bag of cataloguing (whoops, no library-work today!). I glanced at the table-top: scrapbooking layouts, out of scope for today. I glanced across the room to the sewing table: a torn blouse and an unstitched pants-pocket, tempting but still out of scope. Bright blue PW file-box for the win! I sorted and recycled, saving out the moringa seeds to show My Sweetie.

Now there’s wonderful, beautiful, empty space where once was a box of mission flyers. One more tangible to-do crossed off the ‘list’ that is my house. One less stack to visually compete with Christmas decorations, Christmas wrapping, Christmas presents…

I think that may be the root of my inadvertent schedule. For Christmas, like for Thanksgiving, I prefer to have my mind clear to focus on the moment in all its 360-degree momentness. I don’t want to glance over and think, “I need to write that letter.” Or “those shoes need to be polished,” or any of a number of tasks that I prompt myself to do by leaving their elements out where I will run into them.

It’s time to clear out my backlog, so I have room for my yule log. Ha, ha, not really, it’s too hot for fires. But the rhyme was too convenient for me to let it go by!

[In case it doesn’t work in-line, visit my double-kicker here.]

 

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