Daydreams in a Blizzard of Paper


Anne Michael

With just days left till Christmas I find myself with far more leisure time than I imagined I would have. The decorations are up, the cookies are baked, and the tiny dresses I’ve been working on have been shipped to my granddaughters many states away. I’ve actually had time to watch a few of those wonderful Christmas broadcasts and spend some time reading a novel called Spirit Gate by Kate Elliot. To my delight the book is FINALLY starting to be less stage setting and more story and character study. I’ve been reading this book for months, which is unusual for me. Because the initial chapters were excruciatingly slow, I’ve read at least a dozen books in the meantime. Now, though, I have no wish to put it down. What unexpected extravagance it is to sit in the evenings with a pot of Christmas tea and relax. Sheer bliss.

At work I have had the almost unheard of luxury of a “desk week.” Here at M&I Bank’s training department a day spent at the desk catching up on reports, copying, e-mails and the like is like finding the best prize in the Cracker Jack box. A whole week of them feels like winning the lottery.  

I took the opportunity to assign myself the task of setting my office in order and doing the dreaded filing. At least a dozen times I’ve asked myself, “What were you thinking?” I’ll be honest; it was not as wonderful an experience as I’d envisioned, which is no one’s fault but my own.  

Lest you imagine a handful of paperwork, accumulated over a few weeks in a tray on my desk, easy to manage and taking no time at all, imagine again. It was a year’s worth so it’s not surprising I had a blizzard of paper everywhere! I started the process by putting everything that didn’t have a place in a box so I’d have a place to begin. Over many months of constantly dashing from one thing to another, never mind the e-mails printed out for future reference, pesky expense receipts and notes to myself dripping out between pages that I had tossed into the confines of my desk and the recesses of my file cabinet, I realized how necessary this week had become. I ended up with a large cardboard box filled to the brim as I cleared work tables, desk drawers, folios and a file cabinet drawer that had become a repository for anything I didn’t need for whatever class was scheduled next. Once I got started there was truly no place to stop.  

In the process I found my favorite pen, a bottle of my favorite hand lotion and the birthday card I should have mailed in September to my friend, Lisa, that somehow got lost in the paper chaos along with a can of soup sporting an expiration date of October 2006. I found myself thinking that my resolution for the New Year should be that I will not allow this to happen ever again.  But while it sounds good on paper the execution that might be tricky.  

The fun part has been all the reading that this process has allowed me to do.  I am surprised at the e-mails I don’t remember having read but somehow know the information to which it pertains and the other e-mails that had things I might have known had I read them when I was supposed to. I could have read two novels this week for the many hundreds of pages that have gone through my hands.  How wonderful it would have been had Piers Anthony, Jill Connor Browne or Lawrence Ferlinghetti authored all I’ve read this week.

I have wild daydreams of a new beginning! But I have to admit I know me too well. I’ll settle for clean and organized for about six weeks. What we do here in the training department of M&I and the way we do it is one of the joys of my work life. My office may be a mess, but it is a happy mess. And I’m looking forward to my next week full of desk days. Perhaps my boss might make them mandatory once every six months. (I can dream, can’t I?)

I’ll just enjoy the magnificent pleasures life has unexpectedly afforded me this week, and wish you such luxuries as you might not find in your Christmas stocking this coming year—such as a job you enjoy as much as I do mine, an excellent book and a comfy place in which to indulge in the contentment of a good read along with a hot cup of Christmas tea or hot toddy. Daydreaming is over; it’s time for me to get back to work.

At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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