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Normally I hate to dust my house. There are just too many knickknacks and mementos to take down off the mantle and move them to another spot. After all, you just wind up putting them back in pretty much the same place as you took them from in first place. Besides my mantle, what qualifies as my entertainment center has also become some sort of refuge for all kinds of things that otherwise wouldn't have a rightful spot anywhere else in the house. There are pictures from days gone by and old empty bottles that for one reason or another caught my eye either for their uniqueness or that they hold some long distant memory that marks some type of occassion in my life. These days, I have a lot of time on my hands. There's time to read, time to sleep, time to watch too much television and, depending on your point of view, time to take notice of your surroundings. With that thought in my mind, it was then that I noticed just how much dust had accumulated throughout the house. Being a master of procrastination, at first I figured that I could just ignore it. After all, most of the time I have the place to myself and I only really noticed it when the sun came through the windows in the early afternoon and filled the house with rays of light and those little dust particles seem to dance in the air.

At first, that seemed like a nice distraction but after a bit it got to be annoying. I looked upon those little floating particles as something akin to an indication of just how far I'd let myself go. They seemed to be everywhere at once, a metaphor for my life if I'd ever heard one. I figured to myself that it was time to clean house.

If any of you folks are like me, once you embark on a project, you take to it with a vengence. Those days and weeks of procrastination are finally over and there's no half-stepping or dilly-dallying. Once something is started, it must come to an end.

And so it was I started taking stuff down from the mantle and the entertainment center. I made piles of stuff that represented moments of my life on the kitchen table. They sat and gazed back at me with a look that I could only interpret as for them to say "What the hell took you so long?". I got out furniture polish and rags and was all ready to get started when something caught the corner of my eye.

Earrings. A little tiny set of earrings that my kid must have made years ago and had stashed them behind some of the bric-a-brac only to soon forget about them. I vaguely recall the jewelry making kit that has long since been discarded that provided her with many flashes of both frustration and creativity. Two partners in crime that had somehow joined forces to beat the odds and leave something behind.

When I looked at them, there was nothing "special" about them. They were what I'd call the "dangly kind". There were some multi-colored beads and some stones haphazardly threaded through a slim piece of wire and all tolled, were about an inch in length. In retrospect, they probably could have been made by just about anybody but for some reason they struck a chord with me. They brought back some pretty fond memories of times gone by and some pretty hopeful thoughts about what lay in store for the future.

The wee one has a birthday coming up in a few days. She's at that age where I struggle with what to buy her but in reality, I really shouldn't. She hasn't discovered fashion and to the best of my knowledge, the same goes for boys and even if she has, she ain't talkin'. She still giggles at my silly jokes and makes goofy faces when I do something stupid. She still gets embarrassed when I put her on the spot and gives me that "Oh Da-ad" look when she wants me to know she's had enough. She's still polite to my friends and to any other adults she comes into contact with. Her eyes still well up with tears when she's sad about stuff or when something sappy comes on the television and in that regard, she's just like her old man. She still likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and french toast for breakfast on the weekends.

This weekend, I'll probably wrap those earrings up and give them to her as a gag gift. Maybe she'll remember them, maybe she won't.

Maybe I'll also finally get around to cleaning up her room.

After all, who knows what buried treasure I might find?

Happy Birthday Sweetie!