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Downsizing: the only way out is through

First, a wee progress report: the basement closet is completely clean and extremely tidy, with significantly less stuff in it than it's ever held pretty much since the day I moved in. The main room in the basement is at least 90% finished, with a few items here and there to deal with and a bit more actual cleaning (in the form of scrubbing, sweeping, mopping) to be done. Not too bad for two weeks' worth of work, and, I might add, on schedule.

This week, we start the quarter of the basement which was supposed to be made into my "craft room", specifically to be used for things like quilting (which I've barely done, but which gets done upstairs) and scrapbooking (which I'm no longer all that interested in, although I have hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of "stuff" with which to do it - please contact me if interested. No, really). There must be fifty pounds of largely unsorted photographs, for instance. And truly, many of them can go. Why do I need to know what some kid whose name I don't remember was wearing for Halloween when Maggie was in third grade? I don't. His mother might, but hey - I'm not about to track her down with my photos. I will hope she took her own. And I don't need seven overexposed shots of my kids eating icicles when they were 6 and 4, either. One or two of those bad shots is enough, don't you think? (To say nothing of the fact that I always ordered duplicates, so when I say 7 shots, I mean 14 photos.)

Today, I'm taking my cue from Robert Frost's much-aggrieved female narrator in his lengthy poem, "A Servant to Servants" - a woman whose job is never done, and who rattles on about her work, her husband, her mad uncle, and the asylum. It's where today's "title" derives from, a misquote really, although to be honest, I'd thought it came from Macbeth, where he talks about being steeped so far in blood that he might as well keep going. But no, 'tis Frost:

He looks on the bright side of everything,
Including me. He thinks I'll be all right
With doctoring. But it's not medicine—
Lowe is the only doctor's dared to say so—
It's rest I want—there, I have said it out—
From cooking meals for hungry hired men
And washing dishes after them—from doing
Things over and over that just won't stay done.
By good rights I ought not to have so much
Put on me, but there seems no other way.
Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—
Leastways for me—and then they'll be convinced.

In case you're wondering, "A Servant to Servants" is written using blank verse, a fancyish name for unrhymed iambic pentameter. Probably you weren't wondering, but hey - full service demands that I tell you such things when it comes to poetry. And I wouldn't want to scandalize Mr. Frost by allowing you to think that perhaps he'd written in free verse, since he was notoriously displeased about free verse.

I, on the other hand, am entirely pleased that I do not feel put-upon in my current enterprise. And certainly nowhere nearly as much as does the poor woman speaking in this poem, although there was a time in the past when I did, and I rather expect parts of it will ring true to some readers, whether it's for something now or earlier in life. Because man, the daily cleaning only to see it all messed up and cooking only to see it all consumed and more needed can indeed get wearing at times, especially if there are other weighty things on your mind. (Can I get an amen?)

But really, the misquote is more apt for my current undertaking: The only way out is through.


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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
fuzzyfostermom
May. 31st, 2013 08:17 am (UTC)
I'll see your "Amen" and raise you a "Preach it, sister!"
wordsrmylife
May. 29th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
For me, that has always been one of the poems in which Frost nailed a certain kind of life and a certain person, no matter what the era.

Happy sorting.
kellyrfineman
Jun. 1st, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
He really showcases his talent, that's for sure.

And thanks - it's going fairly well!
fuzzyfostermom
May. 31st, 2013 08:20 am (UTC)
Wow, I am so impressed with the progress you have made! Congratulations on getting all of that done, and done on schedule, and having a coherent plan for the next step. (That's another discouraging thing about the cleaning/cooking/washing cycle - one so seldom gets back-pats for doing it.) You are doing awesome!
kellyrfineman
Jun. 1st, 2013 04:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the pats on the back - they are much appreciated! And we are now falling behind on the schedule a bit, since this week's tasks involve quite a lot of things that way more time-consuming than expected (sorting through literally thousands of photos, for one). But still, we're making great progress. And it feels good to liberate a bunch of things from the house, too!
fuzzyfostermom
Jun. 2nd, 2013 06:18 am (UTC)
These things seldom go exactly to schedule all the way through - the important thing is that they go at all! The photos are definitely a challenge.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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