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When it comes to matters of my desk, I’m partial to the term “organized chaos.” Really: I DO know where everything is. Sort of. A kind of built-in GPS tracker in my brain (usually) tells me the approximate quadrant of my desk where something is located. For example, a phone number I jotted down recently is on the lower right corner of my desk about three-quarters of the way down in the paper pile, immediately below the “Spring Schedule” for the water aerobics class.

It’s mildly disturbing, however, when my spouse enters my desk domain and glances down disapprovingly. I swear he does this on purpose.

“Gale, I need the insurance policy for your dad’s house in Colorado,” he’ll intone.

WHAT? Right NOW? Is this some kind of perverse TEST? Well.

“Give me a second,” I’ll respond airily with a wave of my hand, shooing him away. When he leaves I go into full panic recovery mode.

OK, OK, OK – what did I do with those papers? I just saw them. I know: They’re in the envelope of stuff about my dad’s house. Sure. That would have been the logical place to put them, right? I mean, here’s the MLS listing for my dad’s house when he bought it in 1985. And, oh look: it’s the picture of the kitchen when they bought the house with its screaming yellow walls that they figured they would repaint but to this day still exist. And the funeral notices for both of my parents but … dang it! No insurance info.

I’ll call my brother. He still lives back there in Colorado. He’ll know. Got to be quick and quiet so I don’t disclose my predicament to my significant other waiting in the other room.

“Gregg!” I whisper into the phone when my brother picks up. “Who is this?” says my brother. (Have I ever mentioned what a pest he was when I was growing up? Some things don’t change.) “Knock it off,” I hiss. “Listen carefully. I need the phone number of the insurance agent for Daddy’s house.”

Now at this point I was seriously starting to feel like Louie-the-Leg-Breaker on a call for the Gambino crime family. I was afraid I’d lose it momentarily and begin shrieking at my dumb brother, thereby blowing my cover.

Fortunately, my brother must have been occupied at the moment with bigger things because he retrieved the number without further complications, giving me the opportunity for another hushed conversation with the receptionist at the insurance office.

The insurance papers arrived within minutes via e-mail. With a press of its green button, my printer quickly dispatched the needed information. Casually, I dropped them on Hubby’s desk. Whew! Dodged another bullet.

So, yes, there are times when I think I should get better organized. Clear up the clutter, compose a couple of files. But what I really need is time to THINK about all this. Get to KNOW myself better. That’s what the experts say. Figure out what’s important to you. Decide what you need to keep and what is simply emotional baggage.

And how am I supposed to do that, I wonder? How can I make these ginormous decisions when right now all I can think about is finding my cell phone charger, which was – I swear – here just a second ago!

Well, one thing is for certain, friends. With this much clutter sitting atop my desk, unlike Ted Bundy, I’m never going to be accused of being a serial killer. And that’s one for-sure good thing I know about my desk.


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