Just where were the hounds?

Published 10:18 am Thursday, November 6, 2014

As the old Tyree luck would have it, I was near the end of my month-long exile from work (following laser prostate surgery) before I stumbled across the book “5 Days To A Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways To Clear Up Your Space.”

Of course I’ve been limited to lifting no more than 15 pounds, so I couldn’t immediately throw myself into actually carrying out the ideas espoused by “organizing and time management experts Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims,” but it would have been nice to have gotten an earlier start on the book.

It’s interesting that the authors chose to set a five-day limit on the project. One can easily find “neat freak” books offering success within 10 days or 30 days or 100 days. I think one particularly laid-back volume even offers “Dude, Last Minute Details The Crematory Operator Can Do For You.”

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Although they make grudging allowance for lone wolves, Felton and Sims really want you to invite five good friends (with a schedule in perfect harmony with yours) to come over and help you with the clean-up project (as sort of a self-imposed intervention). That’s a sticking point for me. As a naturally shy person, I don’t want that many people going through my life-long accumulation of half-read periodicals, long-expired warranties, old love letters, scribbled notes, unmemorable memorabilia, “What was I thinking?” purchases and Things That Will Come Back In Style Any Day Now, Assuming That Moustache Wax Manufacturers Can Get The Walking Dead To Model Their Product.

It’s sort of like inviting five in-laws over to critique your “e.d.” issues. (“Yes, Suzy, if we observe for five days in the bedroom, we can figure out your husband’s physical shortcomings. Or you COULD divorce him and marry Joe McGilliguddy and raise us a bunch of grandyoung’uns like we always told you!”)

The authors preach the adage “Many hands make light work.” Well, in my particular case, the adage would be “Many hands throw a vase into the air with a shriek if they don’t realize the snake that found an entrance into the old farmhouse is PROBABLY non-poisonous.”

Also, if I imposed upon five friends to help me get organized, I would forever be waiting for the other shoe to drop so I could return the favor. Given the magnitude of what I would be asking them to do, I could see myself someday attaching space shuttle tiles in-flight or babysitting kangaroos in heat or something.

The authors emphasize setting “reachable goals” for each of the five days. That’s nice, but after a hard day at work, most of us are more interested in “reachable antacid” or “reachable Tylenol.”

I’m glad that the authors realize that families can present obstacles to getting the mess cleaned up. My son Gideon (age 10) thinks every single “kids’ meal” picture he ever half-way colored should be hanging in the Louvre someday. Of course right now he doesn’t mind if we muddily tromp on them on the living room floor, it’s the legacy that matters.

The authors want you to be able to enjoy beauty, simplicity and easy access to your belongings. They also want you to feel comfortable if people pop in unexpectedly. Of course I already feel comfortable RELEASING THE HOUNDS when people pop in unexpectedly. Uh, I know those hounds were around here somewhere…


Danny Tyree welcomes reader email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”. Danny’s’ weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.