My sister suggested that I buy a subscription to a magazine called "Real Simple.” Her son was selling them.
It was written for people like me, she said. Full of organization tips for women looking to simplify life, she said. Just what I needed, she said.
And, so, I wrote my check for 20 dollars and my nephew got one subscription closer to earning his bonus gift . . . the two dollar flying saucer that doesn't fly but does require $10 worth of batteries to light up the sky with the voltage of an anemic firefly before falling apart a day and a half later.
I got my first issue of the magazine within a few weeks.
The cover looked good.
"No More Clutter" in big, black letters was followed by "Get Organized,” “Stay Organized,” "Bug-bite Remedies" and "5 Minute Summer Hair.”
Wow! No mess in my house. No frizz in my hair. No scratched-up sores to draw attention to the spider veins in my legs. That was JUST what I needed.
I sat down in my favorite reading chair to check out the issue.
The table of contents was simple to follow. The editor's article was about dealing with inadequacy. The magazine fell open to an ad that featured a smiling, well-dressed, healthy-sized woman . . . no unrealistic, size "anorexic skinny butt" anywhere in the picture.
I was beginning to think that my sister had been right . . . until I got to page 23.
On page 23, the editors of the magazine had printed organizing ideas that were sent to them by other subscribers and readers of Real Simple . . . other people like me.
"When my daughters were little, I would put together complete outfits, down to the hair clips, place them in large plastic bags, then stock their dressers."
"I organized all my tablecloths by length and hung them on flocked hangers."
"The narrow spice racks I installed inside my pantry doors hold approximately 75 spices, from A(achiote) to Z(za'atar).
"I created a spreadsheet on which I write the title and author of every book I finish along with a synopsis, the date I turned the last page, and a comment on how easy it was to get through."
Who are these people?!!
What kind of person has time to organize their children's clothes . . . including hair bows . . . and place them in bags to be arranged in drawers?
I dress my kids in anything I can find that is clean. If that plan fails, I pull something out of the laundry hamper, shake out the wrinkles and sniff the armpits. If my eyes don't water, it's good to go.
In what world does a woman own so many tablecloths she has to organize them by length to find one?
I own two tablecloths. I know exactly where they are. The one I bought under the delusion that someday I would care enough to set a beautiful table is hanging unused in a closet. The tablecloth from my childhood that I inherited from my mother is hanging on my windows . . . my answer to our kitchen's need for curtains.
Why would a person flock a hanger? What the crap are achiote and za'atar? And, how could anyone think that the lovely, lazy art of reading should be organized on a spreadsheet?
These people are not like me! They are not like me at all.
It turns out Real Simple is NOT just what I need.
Evidently, I need something called "Really, Real Simple Organization for a Mother Who Wants to Feed Her Somewhat Clean Family a Meal Spiced-Up with Plain, Old Salt and Pepper on a Table Set with Half-Finished Art Projects and a Plastic Army-Man Battle Scene While She Tells Them About the Wonderful Book She Is Reading That Was Written by Some Guy She Can't Remember.”
Where can I get a subscription to that magazine?