I’m not sure if it is a widespread affliction affecting females everywhere, or a Hazel-specific condition. It seems harmless at onset, and small, short bouts are easily handled by healthy individuals. It isn’t marked by high fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. There’s no sign of blood or discharge of any kind, unless, of course, you count the loss of resolve.
Transmission is most often among immediate and extended family members or friends. It seems to spread through the telephone. Recently, I was infected by a call from my aunt. She was desperately coercing?er, recruiting? volunteers to man the admission gates at a three-day festival in a neighbouring town. A six-hour shift on Friday? Well, okay, if You’re really stuck. I came home mentally exhausted and had to take to my bed to watch Charlize Theron in North Country.
I spent Saturday helping Hilary sand and strip a nine-drawer dresser, and we’re not done yet. In this case, the imposition on my time was self-inflicted. I had known she had wanted a vintage piece of furniture for her living room. When I spotted it in a secondhand store in Red Deer, and Roy picked it up and brought it home, I knew I’d be pressed into service during the restoration. Why, oh why, can’t I just look the other way? Evidently, It’s not in this mother’s makeup.
With husbands, the call comes not by telephone, but over breakfast. Can you give me a hand with the eavestroughs? They must be plugged. So while he’s on the ladder, I’m the one dragging a hundred feet of garden hose; bringing a trowel, pail and loppers; scooping up the slimy debris from the end of the downspout; and doing general cleanup. Two hours of routine household maintenance means two hours not spent on my stuff. Apparently, my stuff can wait. If I don’t write today, there’s always tomorrow, isn’t there?
Let’s not forget the hours spent on Sunday pushing the ?37 Olds out of the garage and getting it running for a prospective buyer. It seemed the perfect chance to also do some cleaning and organizing in hoarder’s heaven. “If you don’t tackle this,” I said, “it will become my problem if you drop dead. Do you really want to do that to me?” So, grudgingly, he tackled a tiny section?with me at his beck and call.
Then there were the twelve hours on Canada Day spent weeding, spreading gravel mulch, and positioning the large landscape boulders we hauled home from nearby fields. My body still aches from the grunt work. My forearms are too tired to type. It hurts to hold my head up. Brutal, brutal work.
Analyzed individually, each of these projects or favours was important, as were the impromptu invitations to attend two wiener roasts and my cooking for company who dropped by. But the net result is that my stuff went undone. That’s just sick, from where I sit.