Rural Living

Afterglow Overflow

Symptoms of a Holiday Hangover


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

Is your house a wreck? Are packages and tissue paper and a stray bow or two still lurking hither and yon? Is there a carton of eggnog about to expire in your fridge? How about a bowl of candies you are almost — you can barely believe it! — sick and tired of? Are there still some cards you meant to send? Isn’t there at least one gift you’ve yet to bestow?

I’ll bet you answered “yes” to at least one of these post-holiday queries. At my house, every single one is true.

I splurged on a prime rib roast for Christmas dinner. Knowing that both my sister and I would relish leftovers, I bought more than necessary. I can’t believe I’m stating this, but I am weary of prime rib sandwiches. This is very happy news for Brownie, who will never tire of eating prime rib, rather than her boring crunchies. I, on the other hand, am looking forward to a peanut butter and cream cheese sandwich.

I haven’t even mentioned the happy holiday decorations. Soon — very soon — they must be removed and repacked and restored. Then, the things you hastily moved out of the way to make room for the decorations will have to be found, and replaced in their usual positions. Of course, dusting must be done before you do that. Not to mention a vacuum marathon.

And the trash! Good heavens, have you ever generated so much trash and garbage in so little time? Folks in metropolitan locales are lucky: They must simply put it on the curb in a seemingly secure container, and — presto! — someone comes and picks it up and takes it away. We rural dwellers must gather the bulging trash bags, drag them to the car, stuff them in, and then drive to the Dumpsters. Chances are, though, the Dumpsters will be full to overflowing with everyone else’s once-gay wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. And don’t forget the old worn slippers, the singed toaster ovens, the doodads with the broken handles — all those things folks no longer need because they got new ones for Christmas. These items are often placed in front of the Dumpsters, just in case the next person finds them too attractive to ignore.

Are there new sweaters and shirts and pants, just waiting for hangers to put them in the closets? That requires at least a half-day closet purge — out with the old, in with the new. I got two new sets of fabulous towels — flamingo pink and turquoise, wouldn’t you know — for Christmas. My old towels, still suitable, have been in constant use for 10 years now. Both plush sets were the same color — amethyst — my favorite at the time. I am now sick, sick, sick of purple towels. Yet, they still hang in the bathroom. The new towels, you see, must be laundered before I use them. And doing double loads of laundry has lingered on my to-do list for a week now. Maybe today? Perhaps tomorrow?

I do not have the heart to take down my wonderful holiday wreath, or the matching pine-and-ribbon doodad under the porch light. They still seem fresh and festive. They make me happy. How long, I wonder, can I leave them up before folks drive by and comment, “Geez! Will she ever get around to taking down her holiday decorations?”

It’s all a bit overwhelming, really. The housekeeper comes on Fridays. Yet, who can really expect her to want to clean someone else’s house during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s? This means that, for three weeks, I’ve been on my own with the vacuuming, the dusting, the trash-emptying. But no. I should be ashamed to admit, I have not personally “run the vacuum” for years now. I do not know where the dust cloths are. And the trash? That is the top, number-one work detail I simply abhor. I have been compacting it by hand. I hope this lazy-woman’s solution will hold out until next Friday. But I think not. Sometime soon, I must gather it up and haul it away. Maybe today? Perhaps tomorrow?

The thought makes me weary. I think I’ll just drink some more eggnog. Indeed, it expired two days ago. And maybe I can manage to glom down yet another candy, after all.

Happy New Year!



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