COLUMNISTS

Susan's little helpers aren't so helpful after all

Susan Manzke
This is about as organized as I get, Susan says.

These days the cost of a first-class postage stamp is up to 58 cents. That makes me think but that hasn’t stopped me from sending out Christmas greetings.

I started out sending a photo card of me and my grandchildren to my relatives. First, I had to check for address changes. Some I knew moved, but their updated change never came my way. Those I hesitated sending because the post office might return them to me if they are past the forwarding date. That would mean another fifty-eight cents out of my pocket.

I almost sent a second card to one of Bob’s cousins. Somehow, I had them twice in my list of addresses. Now I can’t help but wonder how many times I sent Suzie and Dave two cards. If multiple greetings went their way, they probably thought that I had lost it.

Today my kitchen table is filled with cards both coming in and going out.

During past times, Bob and I worked on our mailings together. After writing a newsletter, I’d stuff the envelopes and address them. I then handed that to Bob who affixed the stamp and the return address sticker. He would then seal the envelope and add it to the stack ready to mail.

Today my kitchen table is a mess. Organization has gone out the window. Where unwritten cards should be are ones that need to be in the OUT box. I have to keep checking through the assorted papers and envelopes to find my way to the next step.

When I thought I had my act together, my kitten Barn-E decided to join me and help out. He leaped into the center of my accumulated cards and papers and started rolling around. He chewed on a pencil eraser and spun pens around. Barn-E was so cute I hated to end his play, that was until his game changed.

Barn-E before the mayhem.

Suddenly, instead of just staying on top of things, he started kicking. First, he chewed on the cover of a new paperback book I had just started reading—it’s a good thing the book is mine and not from the library. Holes are up and down the cover from the little guy's sharp teeth.

While I was rescuing the book about a dog (Barking at the Moon by Tracy Beckerman) pens skidded off the table.

My printed address papers were next and then the sheaves of short notes going with the photos, that identified all the grandchildren surrounding me in the photo we took at Camp Manzke last summer—the kitten is faster than I am.

I had to lock Barn-E in a different room so I could return to my work. He didn’t mind this because I also gave him a snack of kibble—he’s a growing boy after all.

Car-E surveys Susan's organized Christmas card chaos.

The crazy thing is when I returned to my Christmas card chore, Car-E was in the middle of the table. The big boy took up where the little punk had left off. Car-E is so much bigger he almost cleared the table before I could cross the room—Car-E had to make his existence known. He didn’t like that Barn-E had been getting all my attention.

Car-E went to a different room, too. I don’t feel safe locking them away together without me near to referee. Car-E can be a bit much for Barn-E—I can just imagine the chaos I’ll have here when Barn-E is full-grown. The two roughhousing is sure to bring down my house.             

Things are quiet in the kitchen. Now I can get back to sending cards. So far I’ve heard from readers from Appleton, Black Creek, Oostburg, Hatley, Oshkosh, Brooklyn, Arkdale, and of course, Seymour. I look forward to going to the mailbox. Thanks to everyone who includes a loose postage stamp. They may be little, but they make a good gift to me. (58 cents! Yikes!)

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.