Monday, January 23, 2012

La Casa Encima

Every once in a while during the years I lived in Costa Rica my little Tica mama would look around and in a wildly dramatic voice proclaim "Tengo esta casa encima!"

That was the signal for everyone to quietly back away and disappear: Chena had just declared that she had the house on top of herself, and that she was going to turn into a cleaning machine. If you didn't want to be furiously swept out with the dust, best make yourself scarce.

The punchline to that story is that the house Chena needed to crawl out from under was always immaculate, a veritable poster child (poster house?) for the Costa Rican tendency toward order and cleanliness.

This weekend I had a rare Saturday not committed to meetings, rehearsals, or travel. I stood at the kitchen sink, looked across at my "desk," and channeled my inner Chena: "Tengo esta casa encima!"

For years this spot across from the island has been the catch-all for papers, cookbooks, mail I didn't want to deal with, and all manner of what-nots and tchotchkes. Every once in a while I would take a stab at beating back the collecting creep, but I always wore down before putting a stake through its heart.

Not Saturday.

Saturday I pulled everything off the desk and off the shelves above the desk. It was a revealing look into my personality. Apparently I think I can cook, if the 39 (yes, thirty-nine) cookbooks are any indication. But apparently I think I can't cook, because I had over the years cut apart and saved three separate recipes for Impossible Pie.

Oh, yes, I did.
Also, I am under the misapprehension that I write letters. I threw away approximately four quintazillion address labels, keeping only enough to last me through the next decade (two sheets of 10).

I discovered a secret cache of coupons. Do you suppose Apple Market will still take these?

The expiration date on them, in case your screen isn't clear, is 2003.

But the best thing I found was in a little white plastic treasure chest. I pried open the clasp and realized that maybe I should clean a little more often.

Why, yes, those are baby teeth. They are not mine.

I have thrown the teeth away, but I still haven't decided what to do with the 25 cookbooks that have no place in my de-cluttered kitchen.

At least they're no longer on top of me.

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