Out of Sorts

Recently, I walked into my office and handed Tammie a cup of tea before sitting down to enjoy my own. Looking up from her work, my daughter thanked me and questioned, “Are you going to write today? What topic did you pick out?”

Shrugging, I admitted, “I haven’t even thought about it yet.” Swiveling in my chair to look at the computer screen, I changed the subject, “Did you know that an elephant has over 40,000 muscles in its trunk?”

Tammie laughed as she admonished, “You just don’t want to get down to work, do you? But no, I didn’t know elephants had that many muscles in their trunks. Overall, how many muscles do humans have?”

Being a true trivia lover, I knew the answer. “Humans have a little over 600 muscles in their entire body.”

I also like silly Mom jokes, so I decided to throw in one into our conversation for good measure. “I want you to know that I’ve entered into my snapdragon phase of life.”

My daughter questioned, “Really…what does that mean?”

Smirking, I answered, “It means that a part of me snapped and the rest of me is dragon.”

Shaking her head, Tammie advised, “You should stick to trivia.”

Knowing that Tammie liked trivia too, I asked, “What bit of trivia do you have today?”

After a thoughtful moment Tammie said, “Do you know what breeders get when they cross a sphynx (hairless cat) with a munchkin (dwarf cat)? Seeing me shrug, she supplied the answer, “A bambino”.

I like to start the day by reading a newspaper. That morning the first online article I pulled down began, “By the end of March, one third of the world’s population were in lock down, isolated and confined to their homes.” From there, the writer detailed what people in different countries were doing during their sudden quarantine.

While quarantined, there is no where to turn but inward. One way is to houseclean. I know people in Central Wisconsin have been doing this. Sorting through their belongings, some of my readers report having found old Life Lines articles they had enjoyed so much they’d cut them from the Marshfield Buyer’s Guide. Intending to mail the articles to a relative or putting them in a scrap book, they’d never followed through. The natural thing to do when they found them was to send the clippings to me with a note of thanks.

Last weekend my daughter Tammie decided to visit her home in Saint Paul. While ‘sheltering’ with me, she isn’t ready to move back yet. However, she needed to check on the house and see her Chiropractor. I went along, planning to sweep, dust, vacuum and mop the house. If we had time, we wanted to go through several boxes that Tammie had never unpacked after her last three moves.

To our surprise, we found the house neat and clean. My daughter’s friend had been using the house as a safe, private office to escape the distraction of her toddler while Tammie was away. Her friend’s thankfulness was shown through doing housework to give back.

Fear of Covid-19 made us unable and unwilling to visit other places in the city. Seeing her chiropractor was one exception. We took Lake Street on our way back to Tammie’s home. Businesses my daughter knew and liked were damaged and boarded shut after they were broken open and looted. Some businesses were even burned to the ground. One shabby apartment building in the center of all this wore a crude, spray-painted sign. A heart-felt plea begged for mercy with the simple words, “Families live here!” Goose bumps ran up and down my arms in sympathy.

Unhampered by routine chores when we returned to her home, Tammie and I dove into sorting the contents of her packing boxes. By the time our weekend visit ended, there were only two boxes that hadn’t been opened. They would have to wait.

Pushing the last boxes neatly into a corner of the room, I pointed out, “After we are done sorting through those last two, we need to sort through your closets and drawers.” With a smile I joked, “We aren’t out of sorts, yet.”



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