For the first time in over two months, I set the alarm next to my bed. The furniture store where I worked was finally reopening, so I was returning to work tomorrow. I had planned an early night so I would be bright-eyed and fresh-faced on my first day back, but between the anticipation and my lack of a sleep schedule over the past weeks, I hadn’t been tired. I stayed up way too late watching Veep.
I was finally climbing into bed when I remembered that it was trash night. It was tempting to just skip it this week, but I had cooked chicken a few days ago. I didn’t want to leave the packaging and trimmings rotting in the cart for over a week. I needed to get it wheeled to the curb. Sighing, I stripped off my nightgown and pulled on yoga pants and a t-shirt.
In the kitchen, I pulled the bag out of the trash can and tightened the drawstrings then reached under the sink for a fresh bag. The box was empty. I had ordered more but they were still in my car.
When I picked up my latest order of groceries I had wiped down the frozen and refrigerated stuff and put it away, but I left the non-perishables to quarantine in my car for a few days. Come to think of it, some of that stuff probably shouldn’t sit in a hot trunk all day at work tomorrow. I gathered the bags and carried them inside.
As I walked past the washer, I remembered that there was a load in there that needed to be transferred. I set the groceries in the hallway and opened the dryer to toss in a fabric softener sheet.
There was a load of clothes in the dryer, too. Of course. I scooped them into a laundry basket and carried it into my bedroom. After pulling out the things that would wrinkle if they sat in a heap overnight, I took them to the walk-in closet to hang them.
The closet was stuffed, so I practically needed a shoehorn to hang the clean clothes. I decided to wear my favorite black pants and a cheerful pink blouse to work the next day, and I pulled their hangers off the rack to check them for wrinkles. I was going to be in no mood for ironing in the morning.
As I inspected the pants, I began to feel uneasy. After two months of sitting around in sweat pants and eating whatever I felt like, I had put on a little weight.
A little. I snorted.
I shucked the yoga pants and pulled on the black pants. I had to suck in my stomach to button them. As long as I didn’t breathe tomorrow, I might be okay. Checking out my reflection in the floor-length mirror, it looked like I had been poured into the pants and they were about to burst.
I peeled them off and put them back on the hanger, then looked for something else to wear. There was a skirt with a looser cut that would do in a pinch. Normally I wore it with sandals but I hadn’t had a pedicure in two months, so I went foraging through my shoes for a suitable pair of flats.
This closet was a disgrace. I had shoes I hadn’t worn in years and would probably never wear again. The racks were crammed with clothes I had forgotten I even had. Instead of getting rid of stuff, I had been buying more hangers. A lot of people were going to need to shop in thrift stores in the coming months. I should really donate some of this stuff I never wore.
I started a pile of neglected shoes and added some dresses I should have returned, and a blouse that had been a gift from my sister. Even after I lost the weight I had gained recently, some of this stuff was never going to fit again. It gave me a pang, but I was ruthless as I threw things into the donation pile. As my remaining clothes began to slide freely on the rack, I started to get excited. I should sort through the dresser and the coat closet, too. And the kitchen. There was way too much stuff crammed into my cabinets.
But first I had to get out of the closet. My donation pile was blocking the doorway. Luckily, the attic access was in the closet and I knew I had some empty boxes up there. I pulled down the trapdoor and climbed the sliding ladder.
The overhead light didn’t work. I’d have to change the bulb next time I was up here, which was probably what I had thought last time I was up here. For now, I felt my way over to the stack of boxes. And walked into an enormous spider web.
I did a little dance as I pawed at my face and hair, slapping at my shirt in case there was a spider crawling on it. As I imagined a gob of spider eggs hatching in my hair, I scurried down the ladder, vaulted over the donation pile, tore off my clothes and hopped in the shower.
After blow drying my hair and putting on a clean nightgown, I realized it was well past midnight. Tomorrow was going to be a disaster if I didn’t get some sleep. Then I remembered I hadn’t set the coffee maker yet. I padded into the kitchen.
The bag of trash was still sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor.