Monday, October 19, 2009

Cold Weather

In seven days we went from shorts weather to freezing. That meant that all the winter clothes had to come down from the attic. Only Cal (and Luke) can get into the attic since there’s no pull-down ladder. All we have is a cupboard door that opens onto a “J” shaped chute, which ends in the attic. Basically, you have to grab onto the top of the “J” and pull up your entire body. This is not something at which I am particularly gifted. If you need someone to run for 10 miles, I’m your man, actually woman. But hoisting things with brute arm strength—that’s a Calvin specialty.

Needless to say, Cal brought down all the bins. Luke and Ariel take care of their own clothes. But Jake and Matt need direction. The first step is to sort all the summer clothes. Each person makes two piles: Stuff-I-want-to-save and Stuff-I-didn’t-wear-all-summer-and-is-now-going-to-Goodwill-because-my-mom-refuses-to-manage-excess-clothing. This is the easy part. The hard part is the winter clothes. Matt must inspect each hand-me-down; he will wear nothing that is loud and draws attention to himself. Then he must touch each garment to see if it is soft enough. By touch, he can tell if something is 90/10 cotton/polyester or 60/40. Anything under those ratios is destined for the Goodwill bag. Of course, then everything must be scrupulously washed.

During Matt’s touch test, I’ve transformed into a sneezing, swollen-eyed disaster. Actual black circles form around my eyes. I’m horribly allergic to dust. When the doctor ran the scratch test for allergies, I had to get the nurse because the mite reaction was so severe it traveled from my forearm near the wrist all the way up my bicep. My body reacts to dust as though it is evil. A hellish contaminant destined for soul destruction. I think dust allergies are part of my DNA. Every good Dutch housekeeper knows that cleanliness is not only next to godliness—they’re what we call down South “kissin’ cousins.” Of course, for Dutch people are cousins are kissin’ cousins. Dutch people kiss strangers on the cheeks—three times, right, left, right. Whereas all relatives get kissed on the lips. Boy, was that an adjustment for Calvin—he learned the last minute artful dodge, which occasionally gets you kissed on the ear or the jawbone. But that’s another story…


  1. I feel your pain with the dust allergies...I swear my skin gets angry at me whenever I dust or pull boxes out from under my bed. And I sneeze like crazy.:(

  2. The last minute artful dodge, eh? Never heard of it before.

  3. Ah.. I did notice the change in wardrobe when I saw you guys the other day. Our mother will have the same tedious task when she returns from her vacation...

  4. Bunnies make me sneeze and cough, dust bunnies that is.

    Grace Duke

  5. Hi,

    You have a nice blog. I just thought of mentioning about this website They seem to offer specialized advice of dust mites allergies.