Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January--the cleaning out, cleaning up month

I used to know an older doctor who told me he hated January because he'd just paid for Christmas and here came January and quarterly taxes. Well, my dislike isn't quite that severe, though I do pay quarterly taxes. But to me, it's a month of cleaning out and cleaning up.
First of all, I leave my Christmas decorations up through Epiphany, so January 7th is the big take-down-Christmas day. It involves having my local kids and/or neighbors get the storage things out of the attic (I'm not allowed up there except in extreme cases with four younger adults in the house). Then I have to dismantle, wrap and pack all those decorations--and there's always something you find after you think you have everything packed. This year it was a music box Santa in a sleigh. Then kids/neighbors, whoever, has to put the boxes back up in the attic. Christian has become kind of keeper of the attic, and vows to get me large storage bins but think how hard they'd been to get up and down--he doesn't like my 15 or so grocery bags. This year I was appalled when he said his goal is to see a tree in my house at Christmas--haven't had one in years because I'm usually gone. Jacob, Christian and I got it all back in the attic the other night. I wanted to clear out the guest room because other branches of the family will be coming the end of January for rodeo weekend.
The other January chore I dread is accumulating tax information--once I get that questionnaire from the accountant I feel honor-bound to get it done quickly. This year I've developed a new system and have dealt with quite a few categories--but I have miles to go, and twelve months of bank statements to check. I resolved to do one tax chore a day, but I've fallen down on that. So that huge task still looms.
This year, the leaves were slow to fall from the trees, and I have a lot of oaks on my property. When they did fall, it was first too icy and then too cold to rake, so when we came home at the end of December we waded through piles of leaves. They're mostly gone now and it's a joy to walk down a leaf-free driveway after dark, but the yard and porches are discouraging--devoid of plants that I've brought in to winter. Those that are still outside are mostly ones that will flourish again in spring (well, not the dusty miller Jacob had to have and has since ignored) but even the oregano looks pretty pitiful. The wandering jew has died, as has a plant I don't know the name of--it was lovely with dainty white flowers in the spring, but they disappeared with summer heat and now it looks like straw. Greg has cleaned out the cyclamen and some other non-survivors, but the whole aspect is discouraging.
We think of January as a time for a new start--resolutions and all that--but I think it's a month designed to get us ready for spring. Of course we still have stock-show weather and February to go through. And it's to be bitterly cold day after tomorrow.


ReaderWoman said...

For at least three generations, my family have done the dismantling of Xmas on Epiphany. Thought it was the 6th, though... Great blog post!

judyalter said...

It is the 6th, Laura, but we have a family Epiphany ceremony that night. Then everyone goes home and I'm left to clean up--the next day.

LD Masterson said...

My Christmas comes down right after New Year. I need the house back in order to have that clean slate feeling. But I always miss something, too.