How's Bayou? Home, sweat home No. 4
If my usually laid-back wife, Millie, feels as strongly as I do (in contravention of ancient Greek philosopher Socrates's wisdom) that the unexamined life is, in fact, well worth living, then why did she put our tiny Uptown condo under the microscope of a complete stranger?
"I bought a Groupon for a professional organizer to come in and tell us what to get rid of and what to do with the rest," she announced with glee. My lack of enthusiasm, coupled with Millie's casual nature -- she was voted Greatest Procrastinator in her senior year at McGehee's -- resulted in a delay until the week before the offer expired. Panic.
On the day of reckoning, I was feeling violated -- a complete stranger, who knew nothing of our outside-the-box lifestyle, would craft us into something we aren't -- so I headed up to Madewood to avoid the inevitable.
I felt I was drowning in memories of Millie's past half-hearted efforts to "straighten up."
There was the stack of clothes to go to the Junior League thrift shop, topped by the, I thought, exquisite leather purse, hand-crafted by an artist just down the road from the Vermont Teddy Bear Store, with which I'd surprised her (obviously so, in retrospect).
Or the sweater jacket I'd snared for Millie on a weekend jaunt to Ireland that was headed to the closet of a friend.
What would be gone when I returned?
I knew that the comfortable disarray of our kitchen cabinets would disappear. But why? The doors are there, as they are on closets, to hide the sordid reality of our personal habits, a snapshot of our disorganized, acquisitive selves.
Sure enough, everything matches when you open our kitchen cabinets now. Everyday china is grouped within reach; and less-than-everyday china, which used to mingle freely with its upscale neighbors, is now relegated to irrelevance on the upper shelf. And we must keep it that way. (It looks like an illustration in the magazine Real Simple.)
When I asked Millie where the holder for the milk frother now lived, she sheepishly admitted that she had probably thrown it away.
"She" -- our ringmaster -- "said she has one and keeps it in the drawer with the knives and can openers. It doesn't need the holder."
Problem: HER kives have probably been trained to align themselves, not jumble up, as ours do, as soon as you close the drawer. Translation: frother now bent, with spinning edge out of alignment. And the fancier one that Millie bought last month to replace the meager Restoration Hardware version I'd given her for Christmas produced foamed milk just twice before giving up the ghost.
When I unpacked the box of objets refuses sent in disgace to Madewood, I found the rubber wine-bottle stoppers, but not the suction pump. I later found it in the knife drawer way down yonder in New Orleans. (A felicitous reunion has taken place.)
And last night, Millie assured me that, if we used the set of dessert plates a friend had given us years ago, we'd have plenty enough china to serve everyone in her church group.
But wait. Aren't those the ones I just unpacked and put on kitchen shelves at Madewood?
The net result, however, is not so bad. Hoarder that I am, my hoard along the bayou increases. And no organizer will ever set foot in this overstocked, chock-a-block paradise I call my country home.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.