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Michelle's column: There are some skills you never forget

It’s amazing how the simplest of experiences can transfer from one part of your life to the next.

Take, for example, the surprising skills I developed as former deli clerk at Cub Foods in Rosemount. Besides the ability to accurately read a meat thermometer and make a pretty mean veggie tray, I learned how to scrub. Everything. I also learned the fine art of dish stacking, because there are an awful lot of dishes there to stack in that kitchen.

The scrubbing and stacking skills have come in especially handy these past few days, as I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to get my parents’ house ready for their return from Arizona this week.

My folks have been in Arizona since my abrupt move from St. Paul earlier this year. I’ve still got my townhouse here in Farmington, but I’ve also got some great renters living in it, and they’re not moving out for a while. So, I’ve been camping out in Hastings, in my parents’ house.

It hasn’t been too bad, either. It turned out to be a good thing I was at their house this winter, particularly when, during the first real cold snap, the furnace went out. I got that fixed up right away, no pipes broke and there was no mess to clean up.

No mess, other than the boxes and totes that were stacked in the living room, dining room, entryway and basement.

I didn’t have time to sort through and get rid of things I no longer needed or used before I moved, so I’ve spent my past three months sifting through my belongings. I’ve donated about a dozen bags of clothing to the Vietnam Veterans of America, and they’ve gotten at least a half a dozen boxes of donations from me, too.

But on Sunday, well, I had two days until Mom and Dad were scheduled to arrive back in Hastings. The scrubbing and cleaning was the easy part. It was figuring out where all of my stuff that didn’t make it to the storage locker will go that was the tricky part.

My plan was to take what was left upstairs and move it into the basement. Since I had things in the craft room, the laundry room, the kitchen, the living room and the sun room, it didn’t seem like I had that many things still upstairs. That’s because, I have come to realize, I didn’t get rid of as much stuff as I thought I had. And what I still had at the house was spread around different rooms.

But then I pooled it all down in the basement. And I had my work cut out for me.

First I tried to pool things in general areas of the basement. Clothes went over here, yarn and crafting things over there. Here’s the boxes of DVDs and CDs. There’s a tote box for gardening things, there’s a tote box for my American Legion Auxiliary papers. There’s two totes for my Minnesota Newspaper Museum things. You get the idea.

The piles were somewhat organized, but I didn’t think Mom and Dad would be impressed with piles of clothes and papers strewn about the downstairs family room.

Ah, but I possess that wonderful stacking skill. And I put it to good use this week. I purchased a number of clear plastic totes, so I can see what’s in each one. I started with a firm foundation of yarn and crafting items in the three largest (I have a lot of yarn), which were pushed against the wall. On one, I stacked my pots and pans, and topped it off with the tote of gardening supplies. On the very top, I perched a cute lampshade I’d purchased a while ago.

Little by little, I conquered those piles in the basement. And I’m relatively sure none of the tote stacks will fall over. I hope.

Some skills, once acquired, are invaluable, I guess. My former deli co-workers would be proud of me.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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