We were at Trader Joe’s this weekend (another departure from Costco) and part of our $25 shopping trip was $5 for flowers that my husband insisted on. Sort of a he-bought-me-flowers-even-though-I-was-right-there. I think of flowers as an extravagance – we so rarely get them because hey! They die quickly. And we have a son who will tear them apart, a baby that will smoosh them, and a cat that will eat them. The last time I got flowers was…I don’t recall?
Regardless, he insisted I pick out flowers.
No, I said, I don’t need them.
So we get home and I have these pretty flowers and nowhere to put them. Our house is still a wreck from moving from a 3 bed 1500 sq ft house to a 2 bed 800 sq ft house. We have things stacked on things stacked on things. We have toys. Books. Clothes that the baby is rapidly growing out of. And of course. The Corner.
Doesn’t everyone have The Corner? The place that is the dump zone for everything that comes through that you don’t know what the hell to do with? The place that ends up with a hammer, some nails, coupons, nail polish, a random dragon that my mom sent the boys, and fivemillionotherthings that have made a mountain that you stare at and say Good God. Then balance the latest William Sonoma catalog on top of it and call it a day.
Oh wait, that’s just me? Shoots.
Anyway, The Corner was the perfect place to put my flowers – extremely visible but out of the reach of prying hands – and I had these flowers that were either going to die in their wrapper or be displayed by the toaster oven – so…I cleaned. I organized the hell out of that corner.
Since I was already rocking and rolling (and Bob the Builder was on the TV and the baby in the Exersaucer), I cleaned the wreck that is the dining table. Craft projects had sent the dining table to kid land, and the million crayons and scraps of paper were everywhere. Leaves to glue, shapes, pictures, stars, stamps; eating at the table involved pushing everything to the wall – which we did 3 times a day. The table, did I mention, is about 3 ft by 3 ft. It was ridiculous. And now it’s clean.
Now instead of walking through our door and seeing a 3ft mountain of stuff in a corner and a dining table with glue everywhere, you see flowers. A neat stack of wine books. A clean dining table. And all because of a $5 bouquet of flowers.
Small gestures oftentimes snowball into big results.
A small $5 bouquet of flowers was the catalyst for cleaning that cleansed not only our house, but our soul. When my husband walked through the door at 2am from work, tired and ready for bed, he saw a clean house and it made him really, really happy. When I cleaned up from dinner that night, I wiped down a table that had nothing on it and was really, really happy. Our nanny is now able to put the laptop on the dining table (she plays music on it for the boys) and do crafts at the same time. It’s amazing. It’s just such a small thing that caused so much happiness.
This got me thinking of other times small things that snowball. And while this particular instance, the snowball was positive, it reminded me that negative gestures can snowball to huge and negative results as well.
When I was much, much younger, I was at work and repeated some gossip about a flirtation I had heard from the bartender and general manager about another employee. That gossip snowballed to the point that it almost wrecked the relationship of that employee and their significant other. It was appalling, and I was immensely ashamed. I groveled at the feet of the person who was impacted, and he told me then to always be careful of what I say to whom. I’ve tried to remember that lesson ever since.