It’s all very nice looking forward to a vacation – on which we are embarking tomorrow as you read this – but what’s with the run-up thereto?

It’s all very nice looking forward to a vacation – on which we are embarking tomorrow as you read this – but what’s with the run-up thereto?

I’ve known for six months that this trip has been looming – and as we all tend to do, I have decided that the first three workdays of this week will be my period of extreme achievement, in getting everything done which either needs to be done now, or should be completed before I get back – hence the need to get it done, like, now.

So in my head I have written my column,  written various checks, downloaded credit card bills, entered all the details in four different sets of books, scanned everything in to get the boss’ okey-dokey on it all, done as many bank reconciliations as I can with those statements that come in before the end of the month, got a haircut, left instructions for the cleaner, got money to pay the cleaner, packed a bag, printed out boarding passes – leaving Thanksgiving morning to give thanks and get to the airport.

Throw into that mix the appearance of one awfully nice boss, who has decided on a bit of a whim, that he would like to present his relatives with a spellbinding binder full of memorabilia from his late mother.

OK, I can do this. Put on hold everything in paragraph 3, you can do it Annie – exhort, exhort.

Task one: Go through the monumental shopping bag, and tackle box (tackle box?) which are both stuffed with all manner of papers, letters in original envelopes, old report cards, diplomas, hatched, matched and dispatched notices, invitations, orders of service – a seemingly never ending wave upon wave of yellowing pieces of paper.

Task two: Get them in some semblance of order to photocopy same – in color – in triplicate.

Task three: Rush off to Hobby Lobby to go find something in the scrapbooking aisle (ah, scuse me, could you point me to scrapbooking please, I’m new to this planet?) which might vaguely accommodate regular paper, legal paper and 11 x 13 paper. Buy three sets of them.

Task four: Try to get the first pile of paper in a vaguely chronological order. Slip two pieces of paper, back to back into the first plastic sleeve. Realize that the number of plastic sleeves you have bought will not remotely come close to achieving the task. Go as far as you can before running out of plastic sleeves, before the first binder is complete.

Task five: Belt off home in order to get to Hobby Lobby closer to the house before it closes in order to buy out the entire store of aforementioned plastic sleeves. Get stuck in traffic behind another – yes, another – wreck on 470 (learn to drive people, please!). Get to Hobby Lobby to truly appreciate the Salvation Army collector at the door who is doing musical magic with his little bell and sleigh bells accompanying his jaunty dance. Realize you only have 50 cents in your purse, so with a smile of embarrassment and sleight of hand you donate it to the red bucket. Indeed, buy out the store of the plastic sleeves, hoping you have enough, but knowing in your heart you are going to have to raid the original store first thing in the morning because your lovely boss – no really he is – has given you a window of one day (count it – one day) to complete the tasks one through five…. or six as it will be tomorrow. Pray there isn’t a task seven.

The reality is, the joy of tasks one through six, or seven, is actually palpable. Here I am wading my way through generations of stuff  – from the mundane detritus of life like wills and powers of attorney, all the way through to what I can only imagine must have been an early version of a visa.

I guess in 1876 there weren’t such things as passports – or did you need such a thing to move from state to state, I wonder? Regardless, here am I in the possession of a seriously large, yellowing, crumbling piece of paper exhorting the reader to allow the designee to pass without harm. In the “description” section (oh right, there were no ready cameras back then, were there?), it not only gave the vague areas of height and weight a number, or eyes a color, it gave descriptions “Brow:  low,” “Nose: long.”  I wonder how I would be described.  “Smile: winning,” “Disposition: usually friendly.”

And a blue piece of paper – bright blue – which was a steerage passage ticket from Antwerp to New York in 18-70-something else. Original document! Who keeps stuff like this? Certainly not me. When it comes Madam’s turn to go through my things she’ll be lucky to come across a receipt from Price Chopper from last week.

Deeds to houses, where the mortgage payment was $7 a month; a letter from a soldier to his loved ones, suitably shrunk in size to fit in a miniature War Department envelope; report cards from 1929-1934 – seemingly an excellent student who was never absent and had a sunny disposition. I held a wealth of history in my hands, and didn’t really have the time to enjoy any of it.

So I will limp through the next few days, and as expected, will get on the flight Thursday afternoon bound for Seattle, and will finally breathe out somewhere over Colorado.

Happy Thanksgiving, kids.