Saturday, July 9, 2011

North, South, East and Flush

“Mom!  Where’s my compass clip?”

“I’m in the bathroom, Sean.”

“Mom… Where’s my compass clip?”

“I’m in the bathroom.  I’ll get it for you when I’m out.”

“Tell me where it is.”


I know where it is.  And I also know that I’m not about to tell him that I shoved it in a box with a bunch of papers and put it in the barroom just so my life-long friends can come over to the house last night for a BBQ/pool party and see a clean countertop.

No… I’m not about to tell him that.

He would freak.

Besides, what does he need with his compass clip right now?  He’s supposed to be working on his First Aid merit badge workbook.

“Mom, just tell me where it is….”


I don’t hurry on purpose.

I get out and find him wandering around the house, wrapping and unwrapping the cord around his MP3 player.

Doesn’t quite look like a merit badge booklet in his hand, now does it?

“Sean, I thought you were supposed to be working on First Aid.”

“Where’s my compass clip?  Just tell me.”

“You’re supposed to be working on your merit badges.  Now go in your room and I’ll find it for you.”

“I need to know where it is.”

I send him off with a sternly pointed finger to his room and I head to the barroom to excavate the pile of newspapers, school papers, Girl Scout registrations and miscellaneous riff-raff that’s been tossed into yet another box in order to hide my inability to tame the paper monster from the world.

My name is Frances and I have a problem with paper….

Toys, hair ties, band aids, books… If you can name it, then I can organize it.   My cabinets are obsessively organized.  The kids’ things are as well.

But not paper.

Paper is my Achilles’ heel, the thorn in my side, my dirty little secret….

And today, Sean is mere moments away from a melt down and pointing out the inadequacies of my being a mother to him if I cannot locate this stupid little freebie from the library reading program in the next sixty seconds.


All I wanted was a moment of peace in the bathroom.

But yet, here I am, fanning frantically through a week’s worth of tree by-products that deserved a better ending than in a box, semi-hidden in the barroom.

A paperless life would be my Utopia.

Crap.  I can’t find it.

I’m just about to give up and go to Plan B.  I’ll tell him that I’ll find it later.

Yea, that will work.


I stand in the middle of the room, trying to calculate in my head who is going to wind up being more upset over the darn thing, him or me, when I spy it peeking out from under my mother’s nightgown which she gave me to hem.

Yes, amongst the contents of yet another box.

I do have a problem.

But for now, I am triumphant.  I grab the compass clip and proudly hold it up so the whole house knows of my achievement.

I found it.

I give it to Sean who is only now finally working on his First Aid booklet.  I take the laundry detergent off the still-uncluttered countertop and head out the door to my mom’s in order to do laundry.

I’ll go the bathroom there.  It’s quieter.

No need for a compass on a clip… I know the way.

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