Smell the Coffee: Falling down the cleaning rabbit hole

Like so many others, I stumbled into the new year without formal resolutions, but with something more akin to simple resolve. A determination without the formality of publicly proclaimed parameters.

I’m embarrassed to admit mine weren’t at all creative. Lose weight. Get in better shape. Declutter our home. Clear out my computer.

The dieting hasn’t been too difficult since we’re essentially living that proof immersion therapy works, having so thoroughly gorged ourselves on sugar, chocolate, pastries and bread over the holidays that merely seeing them now can trigger a gag.

Exercise hasn’t been so much a choice as required, coming in such forms as a fire drill (I work on the 21st floor), and locking my phone and keys in the car when only around a mile or so from our house — arriving there just in time to spot a neighbor’s cat grab a chipmunk. This prompted me to give chase in such a screechingly frightening manner that the cat not only dropped the chipmunk, but both fled from me going the same direction.

The decluttering is going rather well, too, but only because we rented a larger storage unit, so we’re mostly moving more junk from here to there without sacrificing more than a truckload or two to Goodwill.

It’s been the simplest sounding of my goals that’s proving to be the most difficult — cleaning out my computer, a mess that’s been a decade or more in the making. One that’s even managed to transfer from old computer to new, thanks to storing files in the cloud.

With each fresh attempt, I fall deeper down into the rabbit hole, discovering snippets of conversations and ideas I’ve saved. Logs that read almost like journal entries, ones I mostly have no memory of writing, yet sound so much like me that I’m certain I did. Like this one:

“I’m having regrets again over having made plans. I started off the day in a mood to be social and made plans for a night out with some friends, but that was hours ago. I was younger then. Full of hope. Not staring down this great nest of pillows and a new book and a Netflix marathon to complete.”

And, “I’m so exhausted I’m seeing colors I never saw before.”

Others are things that struck me as funny. Like, “Balloons: Happy birthday. Here’s a plastic sack of my breath.” (Bill Watterson, cartoonist.)

And, “She looks like the kind of person who could identify Echinacea in the wild and know 40 things to do with its roots.” (Don Patton)

“Bowelification: The sense of guilt you experience after using a business’s restroom without making a purchase.” (Another Don Patton)

“Some people like to call it ‘multi-tasking,’ but I call it doing a bunch of other things while trying to remember what I was going to do to begin with.”

“I hate when I go in the kitchen, looking for food, but all I find are ingredients.”

And then there were the quotes and ideas I saved and would still like to build on; things I wrote down and kept because I feared life would interfere and they would slip through the cracks.

“Life is a buffet, but most people are starving.”

“Do not collaborate with someone you would not share a tent with.”

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Someday, I’ll finish cleaning this computer, but I have a long way to go. Many more rabbit holes to explore.

Karin Fuller can be reached at

Funerals Saturday, January 25, 2020

Asbury, Betty - 1 p.m., Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Bailey, Jonathan - 11 a.m., Faith Christian Fellowship, Buffalo.

Britton, Karen - Noon, New Covenant Baptist Church, Charleston.

Brooks, Stephen - 12:30 p.m., Levi First Missionary Baptist Church.

Crites, Joseph - 1 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Easter, Patricia - 11 a.m., Bartlett - Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Finley, Ann - 10 a.m., Tomblyn Funeral Home, Elkins.

Fisher, Howard - 2 p.m., Dodd & Reed Funeral Home, Webster Springs.

Garrett, Betty - 11 a.m., Wallace Funeral Home & Chapel, Barboursville.

Graham, Alma - 1 p.m., Laurel Fork Missionary Baptist Church.

Graybeal, Joseph - 2 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Harper, Marnetta - Noon, First Baptist Church of London.

Jeffers, Ashley - 2 p.m., Gatens - Harding Funeral Home Chapel, Poca.

Moore, Ida - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Inc, Grantsville.

Moss, Gary - Noon, Kanawha City Baptist Church, Charleston.

Ramsey Jr., Shelby - 10 a.m., North Charleston Baptist Church, Charleston.

Sears, Everett - 2 p.m., Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Shafer, Murry - 1 p.m., John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer.

Sheppard, Betty - 1 p.m., JOY Classroom, First Baptist Church of Nitro.

Sutphin, Calvin - 11 a.m., Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg.

Valentine, Kathy - Noon, O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Vaughn, William - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Eleanor Chapel.

Vilain, Nancy - 3 p.m., Elk Hills Presbyterian Church.

Warwick, Harry - 2 p.m., First United Methodist Church of South Charleston.

Wood, John - 11 a.m., Blessed Sacrament Church, South Charleston.

Young, Terry - 1 p.m., Cross Lanes Baptist Church.