Monday, January 26, 2015

Red

I had a bout of existential dread yesterday afternoon.  I think it was in good part from feeling that I haven't accomplished enough this break, and classes starting today.  (I have accomplished a good deal this break, but much of it isn't work related, though it was good and I'm very glad I did it.)  In lesser part, I think I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed by household clutter.  I'm a dreadful clutterer.  I have several piles of books on my dining table, and piles on my office desk.  Or had.

I got rid of the angst by redding up (red upping?) my house, especially my office.  I put books on a shelf, put financial stuff in the right envelop (for the tax year, so that it will be ready and easy to find when I do my taxes), put car stuff away, and in general just red up the house (redded?)

I always think of the decluttering process as "redding"; when I was a kid, my Mom would tell me to "red up my room" or say she was going to "red up" the kitchen.

The problem with "red" is that I'm never sure how to use it in any sort of past tense (or whatever the tenses are called by those who have real names for them). 

I red up my room?

I redded up my room?

I red upped my room?

Which sounds right for when I did it yesterday?

Who else uses "red" to talk about decluttering?


At any rate, my office now looks quite a bit less cluttered, and so does my dining table, and the kitchen counter, and for some reason, that helped my dread ease.  I am slightly better prepared for the beginning of the semester, because I was pretty much prepared before the dread set in, and now I'm a little more organized, and that's to the good.

Our semester begins today.  So for those who started last week or before (or who are on quarters, and so a third done), I hope your term's going well.  And for those who start today, good luck, and happy work ahead!

16 comments:

  1. That's one cool word! I've never heard it before (google suggests it's a Pittsburgh thing). Thanks for starting off my morning with an interesting dialect insight. Can you red up smaller areas (would you say you are redding up a desk? or would you just use it for a larger area, like redding up a house or office?

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  2. I can red up a desk, for sure!

    I think the word came to my Mom through her Mom, who came from Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.

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  3. Pennsylvania Dutch, definitely, and spelled "redd" for both present and past tense.

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    1. Oh, cool, thanks for the spelling help.

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  4. I've heard it before as well, although my family didn't use it, and I wouldn't have known to add that second "d" that Carolyn mentions. (And now I'm hoping that your blog post has given me the impetus to do some redding up tomorrow during our snow day.)

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  5. I got totally distracted from the existential dread, which I hope has dissipated some by now, by this illumination of this word I'd previously not heard. You used it in a comment on my blog recently and I thought it was an autocorrect of "tidy"!

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    1. Happily, I got distracted from the existential dread, too!

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  6. I have never heard of the word but I totally deal with work stress by decluttering and straightening up at home too. Interesting word.

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  7. I've only seen it in fiction -- mostly of the late-19th/early 20th-century American "local color" variety, I think; I just checked, and it appears in Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers": one of two neighbor women, looking around the house in which -- as they gradually realize -- an abused wife has killed her husband, proposes going upstairs, then says "I hope she had it a little more redd up up there." The first paragraph of the story says it's set in Dickson County, but I don't know what state that's supposed to be in (but Wikipedia says Glaspell was from Iowa, and frequently set her work there -- so maybe we're seeing the result of Westward migration, and/or "redd" has a more general German origin?)

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  8. My mother and her family used it. They come from Indiana, and have Pennsylvania Dutch in their ancestry. I always assumed it came from "to make ready," but I have no idea if this is actually true!

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  9. Both of my grandmothers were born and raised in Pennsylvania, and both had fairly recent German (but not Pennsylvania Dutch) ancestry, and neither used it, so maybe it is, indeed, specifically Pennsylvania Dutch.

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  10. My husband (also from Pennsylvania!) does not use it, which supports CC's thesis!

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  11. I never heard that phrase before. Cool beans.

    We're into week four of the term. First assignments are in but I'm counting down the teaching days until my team-taught course gets handed over to my colleague. I only have five more meetings with those students - great class but a lot of work as it's a new prep. Then I'll have time to tackle some of my disorder, physical and virtual.

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  12. Anonymous3:53 PM

    It is very western Pennsylvania. I live a couple of hours from Pittsburgh and hear it all the time.

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  13. I've only seen "red up" in fiction, so it's nice to know it continues!

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  14. Also, the way language about housework travels through the female line is very cool. Not surprising, but cool.

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