Coming out of the Closet

closetNot too long ago, if you said you had a room the size of a closet, it meant the space was probably pretty darn small.

These days, however, it’s not uncommon to have a closet the size of a living room, with more sliding drawers, revolving racks and custom shoe trees than Barney’s or Bloomies or Paris Hilton. So nowadays, if you tell someone you have a room the size of a closet, the room could very well be large enough to seat an elephant, comfortably.

Although I dream about one day being able to fit an elephant in my closet, right now, I can barely fit my clothes in there. We live in an older house, with teeny closets, and apparently, fifty years ago, people either wore significantly less clothes than we do today or they were much, much smaller. Maybe both. Based on the size of my closet, the previous owner was about 3 feet tall and probably spent most of the time naked.

Having come from the city where the rent was actually based on closet space, I was not unfamiliar with the challenges of limited storage. Over the years, I have become the queen of the seasonal changeover; feverishly stripping our closets and drawers bare of winter clothes each spring, packing them up into bins, and hauling them to the attic. Then I do the reverse in the fall. There’s no set time that I do this.

I’m kind of like a bear waking up from hibernation. One day my internal closet clock goes off and then I get the feeling that it’s time to make my family’s life hell once again.

“OK, I need anything that says ‘Summer’ to come down,” I yelled up to my husband at the top of the attic stairs.

“There are ten boxes that say ‘Summer’ up here,” said a miserable voice from above.

“Yeah, I need all those,” I yelled back. Like a well-oiled machine, my son pushed the bins across the attic floor, passed them to my husband on the rickety, pull-down steps, who handed them down to me and my daughter in the garage below. Ten times.

“Wait,” I said, lifting a top off a bin. “This is ‘Camp’ stuff. We don’t need it yet. Put it back.”

My husband examined the bin. “It says ‘Summer!’”

“It is ‘Summer,’ but it’s ‘Camp.’” I responded. “It goes back.” Mumbling evil husband things to himself, he hoisted the bin back up the steps and into the attic. Then he and my son started to come down.

“Hang on,” I said, peering into another bin. “These are bathing suits and towels. We don’t need these yet.”

“The bin says ‘Summer,” protested my husband.

“Well, we’re really only actually doing ‘Spring,’” I explained. More mumbling.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense for YOU to go up in the attic and actually look in the bins before we bring them all down,” he asked.

“No,” I said adamantly. “We have a system. I’m the Ground Floor Gal. You are the Steps Guy. He is Attic Boy, and she is Garage Girl.”

“That’s not a system. That’s a weird bunch of superheroes.”

“Fine,” I said sliding a mammoth bin back across the floor to him. “Then I consider it my duty to make our closets safe for all mankind.”

“Great,” he said. “But who will save us from you?”

©2014, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Cleanliness is Next to Impossibleness, Who Are These Children and Why are they Calling Me Mommy

The Latest Lost in Suburbia column: Hair of the Dog that Smelled Bad

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“Are you free for coffee tomorrow?” I asked a friend over the phone.

“No, sorry,” she replied.  “I have to take Tyra for a wash, cut, and blowout.”

If I hadn’t known this person very well, I would have assumed she was talking about her daughter or mother.

But she was not.

She was talking about her dog.

I had forgotten that Tyra had a standing appointment at the poodle parlor every four weeks to get groomed.  She had her own stylist who understood all the nuances of Tyra’s coat, which, I was informed, was made of hair, not fur, and therefore required a specialized level of dog beautification.  I found this exceptionally amusing since I don’t even have a standing appointment at the salon for myself, much less my dog.

Typically, I don’t even realize my dog needs to be groomed until he starts to smell so bad we wonder if there is something rotting in the fridge, and even then, I’ll just spray him with air freshener for a couple of days until we can’t stand it anymore.

My thought is, if wolves don’t take bubble baths in the wild, why should my dog?

Of course, this philosophy only lasts as long as it takes for the smell of my dog to get so strong it starts to cause the paint to peel from the walls.  And while this isn’t a problem for the dog, it is for me, our family, and our walls.  My dog definitely prefers smelling like garbage than lavender.   Pretty much the minute he comes home from the groomers, he will dash outside to find the nastiest pile of muck to roll in to obliterate the smell of perfumed pooch.  And if by luck he happens to find something dead outside to rub against, he will be in stinky dog heaven.

Tyra, the well-primped poodle, is apparently no different.  Although she puts up with her once monthly grooming, as soon as she gets home she will do her best to undo the work of her style team and return herself to a more natural doggie state.   While she may play the part of a pampered pooch, at heart she is a dog of the earth, and routinely has the earth in her coat to prove it.

Meanwhile, back at Smelly Dog Central, my dog Monty was clearly beginning to ripen and I realized the time had come to de-stinkify him before the Board of Health condemned his dog bed, and quite possibly, our house.

Since Tyra’s owner seemed so happy with the level of service she was getting from her doggie salon, I decided to try them out and let them work their magic on Monty.

However as soon as we arrived, I realized that the place might not be a good fit for my dog.

“Would you like a rose, eucalyptus, or lemon-scented spa bath for Monty?” they inquired as I signed Monty in.

I glanced down at my dog. He had his head between his legs and was busy giving himself a bath where the sun don’t shine.

I rolled my eyes.

“Actually…” I wondered.  “Do you have anything that smells like dirt?”

©2014, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

Xmas book bundleSave 15% when you order “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” and “Rebel without a Minivan” together on Amazon! To get your copies, CLICK HERE

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Filed under It's a Dog's Life