Thursday, January 7, 2010

Clutter chaos starts the year

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — This holiday season, I was finally going to clean out all my closets and cupboards and that pile of stuff in the garage and donate everything I haven’t worn, sat or slept on, decorated or cooked or created within the last year to someone who could make better use of it all.
Those were my good intentions, my early New Year’s resolutions.
That was before I gave at the office.
They chose this joyous season to renovate the Sun-News, so we were asked to clear our decks (and desks), as we were moved around to various exotic locales, including what used to be our advertising department.
Having unearthed several artifacts, I’ve had occasion to remember my first day here, back in 1994, when, as usual, I arrived early. I asked for a suggestion about where to perch from then-colleague Pam Angell, another earlybird, and she pointed to the desk that for the past 16 years has been my home-away-from-home. In fact, I’ve spent more waking hours there than at any one location in any of the homes I’ve occupied since.
I came from opulent Palm Beach, Fla., where one of my offices was nearly the size of the entire newsroom area I’ve shared with 17 to 30-plus people over the years.
It was a major feat to even contemplate the dismantling of the complex of subterranean and above-ground storage devised over the last decades at my work station, to say nothing of the Lego-like engineering involved in my wall of art. Finally, I gave up, packed what I could in boxes and took the more fragile pieces home.
There, I struggled to find storage space amid the Christmas chaos. In desperation, I assigned everybody on my gift list a canvas tote or two, scrounged to find yet more packing boxes and shipped off all the out-of-town stuff early.
Usually, I wrap each gift individually with a witty little personal comment or instructions. This time, I didn’t. I should have.
The confused e-mails began trickling in.
“Re: The hoodie, mask and cardinal; I confess I may have to call for further instructions. I see great potential in this outfit, but need further enlightenment,” Dr. Roger e-mailed.
I panicked.
There were three hoodies in that shipment of packages, but none of them were supposed to go to Roger. Would this be a repeat of the holiday in which a brand new shipping clerk sent packages destined for Iowa, Florida and California, all to my son in Portland, Ore.?
I frantically sent out descriptions of all the Christmas hoodies and found that all were present and accounted for.
Roger had been confused by a travel set that included a combination pillow and blanket and a sleep mask, all designed to help insomniacs catch a few winks on a jet. The cardinal was a clip-on, feathered bird I thought would make a festive addition to his hat or tie.
Most of the gift confusion has been resolved. Now, I must get all my office boxes out of storage and figure out how to fit it all artistically into the old space, without marring or clashing with the freshly painted walls, new carpet and ceiling tiles.
Meanwhile, at home on the high desert range, I should be packing away the holiday decoration and making order out of chaos.
But maybe I’ll wait awhile. As I said, I gave at the office.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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