Spring Cleaning is supposed to be a big deal in America. There is a mythology about opening the windows and airing out the house as the weather warms.
I do not personally know a single person who, upon the arrival of the vernal equinox, feels the stirrings of their Clean-Up gene becoming active.
In ancient civilizations there were rites celebrating the end of Winter and the coming of the Spring planting season. In modern America we engage in the Rite-Of-The-Changing-Of-The-Furnace-Filters in celebration of moving the little switch under the thermostat on living room wall from HEAT to COOL.
Spring cleaning, it turns out, has nothing on the tumult of tidying which occurs as Christmas approaches.
A visitor from a future time might think this activity was to make the home neat and orderly should Jesus decide to do a drop-by. Or, for those with a more secular bent, so that Santa would think "nice" (not "naughty") when he dropped down the chimney and picked out presents to leave under the tree.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It all has to do with MY MOTHER IS COMING TO MY HOUSE FOR CHRISTMAS!
Substitute BROTHER, SISTER, NEIGHBOR, BOSS, or any of the many flavors of IN-LAW and the theory works equally well.
One of the problems with Christmas occurring in the dead of Winter in the northern climes is that it is cold when this cleaning activity occurs so there is a natural and understandable reticence to doing anything which will require opening the door to the garage.
At MULLINGS Central the den is my room. I am the only person who ever enters the den. The Mullings Director of Standards & Practices has no reason to go in there because she is the queen of all of the other rooms in the house.
I was informed, as this past weekend loomed, that it might be a good idea to "do something about the den."
Push out the front wall of the house and make it larger? Buy a 72" flat screen HD television? Install a slot in the wall behind the couch so the Dominos guy can just slide the pizza in and I can push the money out? Install a bathroom so I won't have to go all the way up one flight of stairs to the main floor during half time?
As you well know, the "something" which was to be done was to straighten it up. And when I say straighten it up I mean move, REmove, dispose of, discard, toss, and stack the many important items which have accumulated in there since last Christmas.
To make her point, she placed two large plastic tubs in the middle of the den floor - or where the den floor would have been had it not been covered with the stuff to be placed into the tubs.
When I say two large plastic tubs, I mean these were the size of boxcars.
And I filled them both.
The stuff that men collect is, to us, just as important as women's the shoe collections. Doesn't matter that women never wear 98% of the shoes in their closets; they just feel better knowing they are there.
I have a complete set of Washington Nationals opponents' media guides which, because they are from last season, are useless.
I have books on CD which I will never listen to again (if I ever did in the first place).
I have cheap mystery novels which are my airplane reading when I'm supposed to be reading political treatises.
I have a collection of pens from every hotel we have stayed at during the course of this Presidential campaign even though I like to use a fountain pen.
I have all manner of connectors for which the items they were used have long since been worn-out, lost, or damaged.
I filled both bins and shoved the rest into the closet which, if the door doesn't burst open from the pressure of the sweaters, jackets, hats, boots, and assorted electronic gizmology I shoved in there, will serve as the perfect storage place until Christmas is over, the relatives go home, and I can put everything back where it was.