I am back at work after a two-week vacation. I have never taken two weeks back-to-back and frankly I was becoming a little bored by week two. What do you do when you are bored? Completely reorganize your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Buy (or avoid buying) unnecessary stuff. Then you go to prison!

First the kitchen. We've been in our new house for a full year. In the madness of the initial unpacking, I picked what I thought was a logical drawer for the silverware and utensils. And for nearly 12 months, I've thought "Is this logical?" The answer, of course, was that it was not logical. So while the family was busy napping and/or working, I decided to switch the silverware drawer with the one filled with the spatulas, aluminum foil and "stuff," including a baggie filled with twist-ems (you know, the baggie every "old lady has," according to my daughter).

Two hours later, the five-minute job (ha!) was done. During the course of the switch, I found a new place (under the counter) for the spatulas and large spoons, and the the oven mitts (up and to the left of the stove). In a short span of time, all the vital tools of cooking and eating were in different spots, known only to me.

It didn't end there, but rather became a giant game of dominoes. I had to clear out the top cupboard for the oven mitts and, thus needed to find a new place for the packets of hot chocolate and random packet of orange powder that magically turns into a wonderful party drink once you add wine to it. As I opened the doors to the pant, I realized I needed to reorganize all four sliding shelves.

Two hours later, the pantry was cleaned, organized and oh so pretty. 

I finally sat down to watch some TV, feeling the satisfaction of a job well-done. Then the cries began as the family trickled into the kitchen for snacks and to make their diner. "Where's the oven mitt?" "What happened to the bread?" "I CAN'T FIND THE SILVERWARE."

The last cry was sort of my secret chuckle out loud.

Four more days stretched in front of me after the kitchen incursion.

I decided to drive to my favorite antiques mall in Medina. Twice. On one trip, I bought an enameled plate because it was only $10, and an amethyst geode because amethyst is my birth stone. On the second trip, because I regretted not buying a canary yellow vase from the 1950s, I was drawn to old ashtrays, particularly two enameled ones I spotted (I am sensing a pattern). I walked by those two, but suddenly saw beautiful ashtrays everywhere, all calling my name.

I have no idea where my strength came from, but I resisted and left without purchasing them or the yellow vase.

Facebook proved to be another temptation. How does it know what you've been looking at, in my case, antiques? I suddenly got a sponsored ad on my feed of a house auction. Casually looking at the pictures, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a picture of a giant "Ironrite" ironing machine, also called a mangle. Do I iron clothes? No, no I don't. But my mom, who passed away in 2001, had one that she loved. I can still picture her in the basement in front of that white metal monster, expertly controlling the large roller with knee controls. It was an awesome sight. I came really, really close to driving to Parma for the live auction. Again, luckily, I came to my senses, mainly because my husband looked at me as if I'd completely lost my mind when I told him of my plans.

"You don't iron," he said, speaking slowly and softly, as if addressing a child.

"But it's a mangle!" I cried.

To distract me from antiques malls and auctions, my husband suggested we drive to Mansfield to visit the old Ohio Reformatory. We've always wanted to tour the prison, which was where one of our favorite movies, the "Shawshank Redemption," was filmed. That, my friends, is well worth the drive. Scary, haunting and surprisingly beautiful, the building was astounding.

By Sunday night, I was exhausted from resisting temptation of buying, buying, buying.

Thank heaven for work. I can see myself going broke very quickly when I have time on my hands. Obviously, I can never retire.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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