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Bright Beginnings

Temporary arrangements and I don't get along.


Dear Organized People,

You intimidate us. It isn’t personal, you understand, but those of us not blessed with orderly natures feel overwhelming despair when faced with a seemingly insurmountable quantity of Things that need to be put away Somewhere.

After my recent move, I should'v'e been thrilled when my uber-efficient mother-in-law offered to help me get settled. And I was, until she started bringing in boxes of Random Miscellany from the garage.

“Let’s unpack the batteries and extension cords,” she said brightly, the way you or I would propose a weekend getaway or a trip to the ice cream store.

Alarm bells rang. I didn’t have a system in place for that yet, and I didn’t know where their designated spot should be.

“That’s fine,” she reassured me when I voiced my concerns. Then she uttered the words that cast a pall over my disorganized soul. “We can put them in the laundry room closet for now.”

“No!” I blurted out, in a tone of voice reserved for toddlers exploring electrical outlets with forks. Did she not remember the MP3 player I’d temporarily set down on the hutch near the door of our old place, still awaiting repairs six years later? Or the magazine clippings that had piled up for months on my desk, waiting for a brighter, more time-filled tomorrow?

Temporary arrangements and I don't get along. Despite my best intentions, I never find the time to create permanent solutions.

My new house deserved a fresh start, and I found my mission statement in, of all places, the sleep training book I was reading at the time. My baby-training expert assured me that the only path to success was to “begin as you mean to go on.”

That became my mantra: No temporary fixes! No item, however precious or utilitarian, will cross my threshold until it has a forever home.

The toughest challenge to that resolve came from entirely unexpected quarters.

After much soul-searching, my husband and I decided that our new house didn’t need internet access. I use it heavily for work, but I’d have it in my new office — though that wasn’t ready yet.

It wasn’t so simple, though. After having lots of wires and flashing lights installed, I learned that my phone company only sold bundles including both phone and internet service. For the privilege of not having home internet, I’d need to switch my service to Verizon, who’d have to install still yet more wires, then let Xchange Telecom take over my account.

Needless to say, this was not the work of mere hours, and my Wi-Fi network, unwanted, uninvited, yet still inviting, broadcast patiently and devotedly for weeks more than we’d intended.

I’d made a decision, but I needed to invoice a client, my daughter needed school shoes, and I had to look up some phone numbers. And I needed internet access to do all of this.

“Do you think it’s cheating if I use our Wi-Fi until the new service is installed?” I asked my husband. “Just for now?”

But... I thought of the MP3 player on the hutch. And the Amazon Prime special trial offer for which I was currently paying full price. And of how easily temporary becomes a fixture and how “just for now” creates a foothold of possibility.

So we chose to begin as we meant to go on, and we haven’t looked back.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 663)

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