Sunday, April 12, 2015

Between the Hoarder and the Neater Me

I am almost over my virus, so there shouldn't be much to complain about. Have you ever noticed how little you notice when you're really sick and how much you notice when you start to feel better but not better enough to do anything about it? You lie there and you think, but you're not quite ready to get up and get to work.

The floor needs to be vacuumed.

My three piles are slipping off center and threaten to fall down. People keep bumping into my piles and I know I should go through and recycle most of it, but I don't quite feel like it, so I yell at the people bumping into my piles instead.

The dog is shedding and even though I brushed him yesterday, the day before, and four days before that, clumps of fuzz are coming out all over and clogging up the Velcro on the ten below sleeping bag that I've been using in a vain attempt to get warm on the couch. Yes, I could not get warm in a sleeping bag rated to ten below zero, Fahrenheit. But I'm almost better now. Almost.

Okay, so Mike vacuumed. I brushed the dog again and left the piles of fluff out in the ivy for the birds to collect, and I managed to pull out all reading material and whittle my three piles into one small pile that I actually need to pay attention to. I even recycled a bunch of periodicals. The trick is to flip through each one and only stop on articles that I really want to read. And then I read them. At some point, I realize I'm not going to keep up with everything so I only hold myself to reading the most recent ones from cover to cover. The rest can go into the recycle bin. There is almost a joy in letting go of all that backlog of reading material now and then.

I made a pile of library materials that I'm not going to read and are probably overdue anyway.

This shit is boring. Who wants to read about how a reformed hoarder tries to stay reformed?

Well, maybe one of my friends out there is a hoarder and could use some sweet ideas. The other thing I'm going to do is pretend that there's a rummage sale and I have to get my stuff to it this Thursday.

Did you ever have an argument with yourself? Did you? I have arguments with myself all the time.

The hoarder in my head mumbles that I might need to know what happened in Croatia last September when I wasn't reading my issues of 'The Week.'

Generally, I like knowing that something significant happened in Croatia, but the neater me says that it's not timely news any more and unless I'm burning to know, I should throw that issue out. Besides, neater me says in my head, if I'd actually read this article in September, I would have forgotten it by now, so there. And on top of that, neater me says, not a lot of my friends are standing around discussing current, or not so current issues in Croatia. Oh, it's not as if my friends don't care, but we're all inundated by too much information. We are. We all have to find ways to deal with it, so neater me says to read only what really draws my eye and I'll be done reading that September 2014 issue of 'The Week' in a jiffy.

The neater me is kind of a bitch, sometimes, if you might know.

But hoarder me would get buried neck-deep in 'The Week' if we didn't throw some of that shit out.

Notice the royal we that the neater me uses when discussing this shit in such a civilized passive-aggressive way.

The nicer, neater me will ignore that.

And make note that those little parts lying on the counter for the past seven months that neither Mike nor Nick seem to recognize, the ones the neater me would have me toss into the garbage, those parts become apparent only after we throw them out and when we go to put away the tripod and we find that the little part from the counter was the one that held the base of the camera upright on the tripod and now it keeps tipping over as if it has a broken neck. Well, shit. It works that way, doesn't it? The little parts only become significant when the tripod gets put away. And eventually, that tripod will be put into the pile to be donated because it's useless without that little part that holds its neck upright.

But we won't get rid of that tripod for three years, will we because Mike will say he can fix that shit, but he won't, will he? So this is why spring cleaning is such a hazard. Someone's favorite toy, something's missing part, a book or a magazine unread, great-grandpa's broken toys, grandma's ugly china, a project abandoned, supplies set aside and lost and bought again. Those are the hoarder's hazards. The neater me battles uphill.  But here's what I want to tell the hoarder me, that if I can just do these three piles today, the top shelf in that closet tomorrow, if I can just go through two drawers and take out anything that floats to the bottom and makes it hard to close with one hand, then we will feel better next week. We can fill up the truck with things people will be happy to collect and we can drop them off at the thrift shop without opening our eyes to all the junk within. Then, when we get home and we can bump the table without toppling our pile, we will feel so light, so organized, so happy with the things we decided to keep, that it will all be worth it.

Humph. Until Mike comes up the stairs with the tripod and he's looking for that little part that holds the camera upright.

Thank you for listening, jb

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