One of my sisters who lives in New Orleans is lucky in a lot of ways. A handsome loving husband, 2 wonderful boys and the big one: You can kick your unwanted belongings to the curb whenever the mood strikes you. At any hour of the day or night. She doesn’t have to wait for the dreaded “bulk trash” window that comes once a month here in Dallas. This window comes and goes and our junk piles up.
This all came to me in the dark in bed last night. It’s 90 degrees outside and I’m laying there in full length pajamas under a blanket shivering. The ceiling fan is on so high that I fear it will take flight and decapitate our cat. Another fan is on the floor blowing at Mr. Husband and the air con is turned down to zizz. There is probably frost on the windows. But this is all righted by a sound machine puking the soothing sounds of a rain forest. Why you may ask? Well Mr. Husband may end up with a bead of sweat on him. Horror of horrors. I don’t want to get out of bed to ease up the air con because I might trip over something.
Sometimes I wonder if my main reason for wanting to travel is to get away from all the electrical gadgets and clutter. After 8 years of living with Mr. Husband I am beginning to suspect that he may be a high-end hoarder. It’s to the point where if I hear a crash and the sound of something breaking I yell “thank you Jesus!” and jump up to do the happy dance. I might even get to throw it away. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket on those lucky days.
I have fantasized about having him kidnapped and the ransom would be to donate 25% of the stuff in this house to charity. That would mean that I would have a fighting chance to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without breaking a toe. At first glance one would not think a hoarder lives here. Our stuff is nice, everything is clean and dusted once a week. It began to grate on my nerves when I discovered that there is not one place in the house where I can lay down and do yoga without hitting my foot or hand on something or rearranging furniture.
“No, thank you” is a perfectly acceptable phrase in the English language and one the hub-man has not mastered. Well he knows how to say no to me, but I hold this title unopposed. If family member wants to give us a another hunk of furniture, kitchen gadget, or gee gaw, it is not because it’s a cherished family heirloom. It’s because THEY DON’T WANT IT.
Hello … if they wanted it or had room for it they would keep it. But, not only will Mr. Husband accept it, he will go get it. Easy way for them to get rid of stuff. The Salvation Army doesn’t even do home pick up anymore.
Can a hoarder and a minimalist find happiness in the same house? Most of the time we manage it. But it’s a constant battle and renegotiation. I am beginning to suspect that Mr. Husband is afraid to leave the house for fear that when he returns something might be gone. It would take him a year and half to figure out what it was, but he would. I just know it.
Saturday was a slow day here at Casa Le Wacko. So we snorted spray paint. Not on purpose of course, by accident. But it led to an almost out-of-body experience.
The good news is that my office is finally finished. All shiny clean and repainted courtesy of Grandson. Trying to keep him busy, Mr. Husband gave him a new task. Repaint the iron patio furniture. We have company coming for the 4th and he thought shiny repainted patio furniture was just the thing.
During the afternoon I started feeling heavy-headed and stopped up. When my lips started tingling it was time to go outside and contemplate this situation. What did I discover? Grandson spraying the chairs a mere 6 feet away from the air-con unit. In the sunlight I saw that all the fumes, excess paint, etc. was sucking right into the unit and thus into the house. Oh good grief! Also the grass is covered with black splotches. It will grow back and so will my lung, sinus and brain tissue. It’s a good theory anyway.
What occurred to me in the ensuing delirium was this. Whenever you think you are going to teach someone they end up teaching you. This is the way of the cosmos. Grandson is a little microcosm of attention ending at the end of ones nose. He was painting away for hours and didn’t notice what was happening around him.
A real world, tangible example of not noticing how action or inaction effect others. He’s been like the proverbial bull in a china shop. He thinks he knows all, but doesn’t even know his own strength. He broke a leg off a dresser in my office. Woopsie. Well now he has learned how to repair furniture. Gouged a dent in a kitchen cabinet, it goes on. The results of a giant child man living in our house.
Grandson won’t pick up a straw off a restaurant table to put in his tea because the table might have germs. But he will sit on the floor in the kitchen next to the cat litter box and make a sandwich – on the floor. I yanked him up short on that one. Not in a graceful loving grandmotherly tone of voice either. More of a “get your lazy ass and my lunch meat up offa that nasty floor NOW!”
He boasts about how he takes care of his body, no salt, no junk food, and so on. As opposed to Mr. Husband and I who sully ourselves with impure foods. We even eat packaged ramen noodles on occasion. Oh the horror! Let’s just not mention all the pharmaceutical poisons he used these last few years.
So what am I learning from him? Patience, rely even more heavily on a sense of humor. There is more than one way to do something. However, all ways are not equally effective and some are more damaging to the surroundings than others. Pay attention to what you are doing at the moment. This is stuff you don’t learn in school. A free education. I like free.