May 30, 2023 | Rome, Italy

January 2009

By |2018-03-21T18:35:20+01:00January 7th, 2009|"American Girl"|
Can we pretend it's March?

sit in my apartment barely able to move. The dishes are drying crusty in the sink; the carpets are marked with dark fuzz and footprints. Clothes are piled on my bed in need of a sort and a fold.

It’s the New Year. I’m ready for a change. I just don’t want to be the one to have to do it.

It’s a cruel joke that new inspiration is suppose to magically well up at the darkest, coldest time of the year. What I want is to do is lie in bed and read a book.

So starts 2009. My fresh-start intention is far greater than my initiative. How I imagine starting the year goes something like this:

I’d begin in the kitchen. I’d remove everything from the shelves and wipe them down with vinegar and baking soda. Bottles and storage containers would be neatly arranged and that old rusty can of foie gras would get a toss. I’d lay down new shelf liner made of cork, type up labels in Helvetica and post names on raisins, walnuts and dry cereal.

The refrigerator would be emptied and the green yogurt experiment would go. I’d tackle the hard crust of the oven and clean the limestone floor on hands and knees. Since I intend to throw monthly dinner parties in 2009, I’d now be ready to get cooking.

Then, I’d move on to my closets. I’d set about organizing hats, scarves, sweaters and coats by color, light to dark. The pants would hang flip-rolled on wooden hangars and skirts snapped on a vertical rack. In the lingerie drawer, the bikini and French cut underwear would be folded and stacked neatly. Socks would curl up with their mates. For shoes, a dollop of polish and horsehair to a shine. The dressing mirror would get a Windexing and the squeaky closet door a spray of WD40. Entering my revised closet, I’d be ready to slip on my best looks and walk out the door.

Filing would come next. Bills would be sorted by name: utility, credit card, phone and cable. Receipts of holiday card noted, addresses would be added to the database.

Tax items would be set aside and receipts counted. Access to records would be available by alphabet and arranged by date. By the end of this process, my finances would be in order and my checkbook balanced.

On to the shredding. Any piece of paper containing information remotely useful to identity theft, gone. The previous year’s receipts would be shredded and the strips collect in a bag ready for the recycling. Whatever the financial picture ahead, I’d be ready.

As I lay stretched out on the couch, all this runs through my mind with a smile. Order is on its way.

But then my head begins to hurt at the thought of it all, and at 4:55 the sun begins to set. It’s dark now, I’m hungry, and it’s too late to do much of anything. Again. The days just seem to go this way.

Yes, it’s January.

Maybe New Year should be postponed to spring, to a time when I actually feel like getting up and being proactive. Right now, my couch is a very good place for dreaming about the future, and falling asleep.

About the Author:

Madeline Klosterman wrote the "American Girl" column from 2008 through 2019.