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Posted: October 21, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Let's get organized

Would that getting organized were as easy as stores and websites devoted to organization suggest. Being organized is more mindset and habit than owning a pop-up dispenser for cotton swabs, a stacking system for cans or a rolling cart for laundry, as marketers would have you think. In just a few months, more than a few of those must-have organizers can end up collecting dust in a dark cabinet or sitting on a shelf in a store that sells donated goods.

Vacations, for sure, aren’t as simple as packing a bag and heading for the door. It takes organization. It is no small feat in this household to get away, and we are only two plus Sonny and the kitties. I am daunted at the thought of parents who wrangle a passel of kids away for a stay at the beach and would nominate them for a congressional medal of some sort, but these days a congressional medal wouldn’t be considered an honor.

Organizing to get away last week began days in advance. Packing was the last thing on my mind. The first thing was to clean and straighten the house so the house sitter wouldn’t trip on papers stacked by the door or be attacked by the dust bunnies that live in shadowy corners waiting for a passing breeze to launch them into mid-air.

I like to leave no laundry undone and to iron the stack that’s been accruing while I wait for a time when there’s nothing left to do. Ha. Then I have to clean the refrigerator so nothing green and fuzzy will grow there while we’re away. Writing notes for the house sitter took hours as I tried to think about every small and sundry guidance for dealing with the animals, their feeding times and habits, the alarm system, watering plants inside and out and mail delivery, among other things.

At Amelia Island, we would be sharing quarters with friends, and we all planned to cook during the week. Organizing, acquiring and efficiently packing the food and wine we would need for those days was another daunting task. A full-service resort was beginning to look like a better idea! Come the day of departure, I packed my own gear in an hour, and we were finally off. I was exhausted. Even then, I knew that getting organized once we got back would take a couple of days. If only I had been the first to coin the phrase: "Man works from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done." Even if organization is your goal.

Come we now to the somewhat loosely organized group of largely young people who call themselves Occupy Wall Street with spinoffs in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and around the world. "Loosely organized" is what I am on any day of the week, but that they are not "organized" with flow charts and hierarchical structures as recognized by corporate America has garnered much of the criticism and derision they’ve encountered. That they have no concrete and quantifiable demands makes them suspect and all too easily dismissed as purely shiftless and aimless, but for obstructing foot traffic and getting on the evening news. There are some among them with affiliations that might be deemed questionable. They do not all agree on the point of their "occupation." There are some with addiction problems; many are homeless; many are jobless; many are students teetering under the weight of enormous loans it takes to get an education.

But there are many, many among them who hold mortgages and jobs, who are well educated and well grounded in the American dream. It would be safe to say that almost all of the protestors are united in one belief: that this country’s financial and banking system headquartered on Wall Street has taken this country to the cleaners with impunity while those on Main Street are taking a licking years after the meltdown and the bail-outs. The "trickle down theory" wherein tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy are supposed to benefit those of lesser means has failed them, and they’re frustrated and angry.

Let’s be honest. Aren’t we all a bit — maybe more than a bit — frustrated and angry at this country’s state of affairs, no matter what "side" we’re on? Interestingly, a new poll of Americans shows more of us blame Washington than Wall Street, so maybe Occupy Washington should be the next direction this effort moves. The Occupiers may not be organized at this point, but give them time. It was nonviolent action by protestors that marked the beginning of what became the triumphant civil rights movement and the protests that ultimately ended the Vietnam War.

 

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