Holiday cleanup is under way


Christmas is over, the calendar has flipped to 2024, but we are still trying to return the house to normal.

I have to find places to put all of my Christmas presents.

Susie said I already had enough stuff and always tells me I have to get rid of something before I can bring anything new in the house.

Especially books.

She thinks two rooms of floor to ceiling book shelves are enough.

I have been collecting books since I was in high school. That was 10 or 15 years ago! (I wish!)

One of my first jobs is to take down the year-at-a glance wall calendar that’s hanging on the side of the refrigerator and put up the new one.

This is a yearly occurrence.

This is where we document all of our upcoming trips for 2024. Fishing trips, metal detecting trips, writer’s conferences, and other important dates are penned into the blanks on this calendar.

Next, I have to add my new jigsaw puzzle to the stack in my room.

Puzzles are always under the tree each Christmas.

I used to work a 1,000 piece puzzle about every week.

Since my eye surgery, close-up work, such as puzzles, is much harder to do.

Now, it may take a month to work a puzzle.

This year, I got a 1,500 piece puzzle, which is a picture of the universe (or some space thing), with planets, stars and a lot of black background. This will be hard.

No clothes again this year.

The family knows all I wear is blue jeans and long sleeve snap shirts, and I like to pick the shirts.

The kids are actually going to order me a pair of the Skechers slip-on shoes they have been advertising on TV. I think I might like these because it is getting harder for me to bend over and tie my tennis shoes.

We have already taken the two extra leaves out of our big dining room table and stored them under the guest bed until they are needed again.

Both card tables are also being stored.

One was filled with cookies, fudge, chex mix, candies, and other snacks.

The other one was where our grandson, Benjamin, was assembling his wooden crafts and going through his boxes of sports cards to add to his collection.

Before they went home, Benjamin and his dad got down all the empty village boxes out of the attic. (Our neighbor brought them down when they were full before Christmas in exchange for an apple pie I fixed.)

Susie and I have stopped climbing the pull-down stairs to the attic, so we always find someone to do it for us. Usually in trade for some kind of dessert.

Now, she will start packing up all of her village pieces in their storage boxes until next Christmas.

Then, the tree and ornaments will be packed away.

When everything is taken down, the boxes will be stacked in the back room until I can find someone to put them back in the attic.

Before she starts on the village and tree, we have to store the big platters and dishes we used for Christmas dinner.

These go in various cabinets around the kitchen.

One of us has to get down on the floor and restack all of the items, which only fit a certain way in the cabinet. The other one of us passes the things down to the person on the floor.

When all are returned to their proper area, the job of getting up off of the floor begins.

Susie then gets to clean the refrigerator. All of the leftovers either have to be put in containers to store in the freezer, condensed into smaller units to remain in the fridge for a while, or thrown out if they are past their “use by” date.

While she is doing this, I am typing on the computer to get assorted articles finished by the deadline for various publications.

My Hoosier Outdoor Writer’s annual conference is in mid-February, and the stories I pick for our writing contest are due soon.

I submit a few of my best works for the past year and compete against some of the best writers in the country to see how my works are judged against them.

When this is all finished, I head to the garage.

There is still a bunch of empty boxes left over from Christmas that have to be disposed of so I can get her car back in the garage.

Then, I can finally get back to making my wooden crafts on my Shopsmith.

I’m glad Christmas comes only once a year.

Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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