From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning the dining room table II | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Cleaning the dining room table II

Diane Prather

Diane Prather

My little cottage office is located in our front yard, right next to Pipi's Pasture. My son Jamie designed and built the office for me some years ago, and I love it. The cottage is white with blue trim (now in need of repainting), and it has gables and three windows. One large window faces the west, and from it I can watch the cows in the pasture. The other two windows face south and west, and one of them opens to let in fresh air. The door opens in two horizontal section — kind of like some barn doors — so there are top and bottom halves. Jamie built the door that way so that I could open the top half and cats could perch on the ledge of the bottom half.

Inside, the windows have white ruffled curtains that pull back. Odds and ends of certificates and other things hang from the paneled walls. There's a big desk, work table, two chairs, bookcases and a big storage cabinet. It's a perfect place to hide away and write. However, I have never heated the building in winter. Instead, I work in the house at the big dining room table.

I've always enjoyed decorating the dining room table with a runner or tablecloth and a holiday-appropriate centerpiece. Unfortunately, it's hard to see them for all of the paper, books, mail and numerous other items that accumulate during the week while I'm working. I try to control the clutter by putting it in a pile, which gets taller and taller as I get busier and busier. If someone comes for coffee, one or both piles get moved somewhere.

Each weekend I go through the piles, throwing out junk mail and other papers and even filing away some items. So last weekend I thought it might be fun to keep track of just what had accumulated on the dining room table during the previous week. This is what I found:

■ A telephone book

■ A "Craig Daily Press" and a folded grocery ad from the paper

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■ A brochure from the Colorado Beef Council

■ An envelope of photos sent by my sister

■ A monthly list of children's books sent from a book club

■ Eleven receipts from feed store (I counted)

■ Two college textbooks

■ Folder of papers to be graded

■ Grade book

■ The cow/calf book, left there from cattle gathering

■ Daily planner

■ A writer's magazine

■ Two letters from readers

■ Three legal pads with columns in several stages of writing

■ Handouts for Life Skills classes

■ A "book" of stamps

■ Four decorative pages of stationery, one with a letter started on it

■ Two note pads

■ Two pads of stick-on notes

■ Package to be sent to my sister

■ Four Christmas catalogs

■ Several bills and political ads

■ Assortment of paper clips

■ Dictionary

■ Three stamped envelopes ready to be mailed

■ Stack of Halloween cards that never got mailed

■ Various pieces of paper with addresses, phone numbers (some which I don't even recognize), recipes to be filed

■ Pens, scissors, white-out

■ Three library books

■ Four "flash drives"

■ Stack of bank statements to be used in figuring income tax

Once the piles of stuff are cleaned up, work begins again, and before long the dining room table will have to be cleaned off again.