Household Lists

By Susan Harlan
Image: Flickr/KittyKaht

Image: Flickr/KittyKaht

Things caught in the enormous cobweb in the tree in my backyard

Dried leaves, brown
Brown dots, unidentified
Twigs of varying lengths
Bugs (different shapes and sizes, one very red)
Burs, sort of yellowish-cream
Leaves (green)

Abandoned pots on one side of my house that require flowers or shrubs

Two large pink and blue ones purchased on sale at Rite Aid
Two glossy red ones with lattice pattern; Home Depot
A 1960s coffee can (can be used as a pot), rusted
Four large terracotta pots, square

Bumper stickers I have seen while running errands this week

Those dumb white stick-figure families (three cars)
One Confederate flag
One saying to eat local food

Things I can’t find at Target

Sugar cubes
A three-hole punch
Candles (tapers, preferably blue)

General To Do’s

Sweep porch
Renew magazine subscriptions

New books

Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel
Huysmans, Against Nature
Queneau, Exercises in Style
Lawrence, John Thomas and Lady Jane

New objects

One twin quilt from a quilt place in the mountains
One queen quilt from an antiques place in the mountains
One butterfly (in a frame), iridescent blue
Paper coasters from Pennsylvania Dutch Country

Objects that are required for my cabinet of curiosities

Skulls (definitely animal, possibly human)
Miscellaneous bones
Insects and bugs in resin (definitely some beetles, maybe a scorpion?)
Preserved frog in a jar
Photographs and landscape paintings
Coral and other sea creatures/items/plants
Taxidermy creatures
More butterflies

Household tasks

Fix dripping kitchen sink
Fix running toilet in downstairs bathroom
Buy picture frames (three 5 x7 and two 4 x 6, white and dark wood)
Buy lawnmower, preferably inexpensive (used?)
Patch ceiling around several light fixtures
Hang up poster that fell down
Swiffer up dog hair
Dust various dusty objects

Things I need to purchase at OfficeDepot

Pens (ink, not ballpoint)
Three-hold punch (which was not at Target)
Printer paper
Toner cartridge (generic?)

Things I am tempted to purchase at OfficeDepot

Red Swingline 747 Business Desk Stapler
Duct tape decorated with Ferris wheels
Duct tape decorated with pink flamingos
Plastic adhesive door sign that reads OFFICE and depicts men holding briefcases

Weeds in my front yard

One that is very large and flowery
One that looks like a bush but is not a bush
Large leafy fronds with purplish veins
Lots of nondescript green ones
Several long, dead brown ones


Susan Harlan teaches English at Wake Forest University, and her essays have appeared in venues such as The Guardian,The Toast, Roads & Kingdoms, The Morning News, Curbed National, Jezebel, and The Awl.

Join the Conversation