Thursday, October 9, 2008

You can't save everything...

Before I blog about the final leg of my trip home, I wanted to take a moment to explain a few things about my hubby. Mainly, his OCD. (yes, hon, you do so have OCD)

Let me begin by saying that my sweet'ums has many, many wonderful qualities. He is a wonderful father, caring husband and generous to a fault. If you are fortunate enough to count him as a friend, you have a friend for life. But....

Among the things that make me absolutely crazy about his OCD is his inability to throw anything away (OK, and his horrible driving. But that's a separate issue).

When J and I got married, he moved in with me. I had a three bedroom house, he had a one room efficiency so it just made sense. When he began moving his things into our home, I was AMAZED at how much stuff he had! How could one person have so much?!? Box after box began to pile up in the closets, spare bedroom and garage. You have to understand, in his mind, he can justify everything he saves. Being the naive person that I was, I tried to help him sort through it all.

Me: What about this coloring book? Why are you saving this?
J: Because, look how good I did! I stayed in the lines so well!
Me: OK....what about this poster? What is this?
J: I made it in 5Th grade.
Me: so we can throw it out?
J: Noooooooo! (looking shocked) My friend helped me on it and I promised I would never throw it away!
Me: (deep sigh) OK...What is this cardboard?
J: Oh! (getting excited) isn't that cool? It looks just like a fish! It came in the box when I got my computer!
Me: (not sharing in his excitement and really, at this point, staring in amazement) OK.....what is this piece of paper?
J:(trying hard to get me to understand) It's a circle I drew. See? It's perfectly proportioned! And I drew it free hand! Cool, huh?
Me: (not understanding at all) No, It's not cool. It's silly. Please, please tell me your kidding....
J: (looking very serious) what? Babe? Why are you banging your head against the wall?

As I said before, over the years, I would like to think I have helped (helper that I am) J get over some of his hording issues. We got rid of the coloring book, the cardboard and the circle. The poster was still in the closet in his office. I have convinced him that we don't need to save every piece of paper that the kids have ever scribbled on and that it won't hurt my feeling in the slightest if he throws out the wrapping paper from our first anniversary.

I tell you all of this so you will understand the gravity of the task I had to undertake when I went to pack our home, more specifically, J's office. In an 8 x 10 room, he manged to cram so much stuff, there was barely room to walk. The bed wasn't even visible. Every wall had an overstuffed bookshelf. The closet was overflowing. I spent more time in that room than anywhere else in the house. He had been hording in secret!!! (collective gasp!)
Among the many, many things I found:
-At least a dozen empty (empty!) boxes
-about 500 pens/pencils/markers
-4 or 5 travel mugs, still in the boxes (he doesn't even drink coffee!)
-134 (I counted) VHS tapes of movies he recorded off of HBO
-hundreds...nay.... probably over a thousand videos and DVD's
-every book he has ever read or may want to read that is currently in publication (J doesn't believe you should ever get rid of a book, even if it was the worst book you've ever read. After all, someone may want to borrow it to see just how bad it was)
-Anything that had the words "Liberty Medical" on it (he used to work there) including pens, notepads, cups, clocks, lunch bags, backpacks, letter openers, mirrors, picture frames, rulers, magnifying glasses, diabetic blood testers (no one we know is diabetic) etc, etc.

I think you get the idea.

To say that it was daunting is an understatement. I promised before I flew down that I would call him before I threw anything of his away. I did that once. This is how that conversation went:

Me: Hey babe. I threw out all the magazines and pamphlets for the Ecoquest business (a business we no longer have)
J: (long, long pause) what? why?
Me: because we don't even work with them anymore.
J: but...(trying to think of some reason to save all of it) what if we do it again?
Me: We won't. It's all outdated anyway.
J:(long pause again, thinking of another strategy) But, There were some good success stories in there.
Me: babe...come on!
J:(big sigh) oh, ok..well....I guess....ok....just....don't worry about it I guess.
Me: (rolling me eyes and vowing not to call him again) I won't.

You know, I think he may have actually lost sleep over that. I didn't.


thebonebreaker said...

I wasn't even sure that I could read this Blog, with a title like that. . .

In my defense, I admit that I am a lot better now (thanks babe!)

As for my room, it was hardly crammed - it was all stacked in an orderly manner ;-)
[the empty boxes were for future packing, just like the bubble wrap was!] :-)

You can never have enough pens, pencils, and paper...

As for the books ~ you have definitely helped me there - I no longer keep the bad books, as you have now turned me into a used bookstore junkie ~ trade-in, trade-in! :-)

The ending of your Blog has me a little worried though. . . what else did you throw away?!? :-(

ECHOMAMA said...

oh, baby, let it go....just let it go.

Red said...

I am on her side and I will tell you why. Because my parents are packrats/hoarders.

I cringe at the very thought of going up there when one of them passes away. And I will have no problem chucking the things that are necessary.

Ever hear of 'charities'? there are places that could use so much of the stuff you are letting collect and breed heaven knows what.

Let-it-go. Figuratively and literally. I have seen some of those clean house shows, thinking there is no way people can live like that. But they don't start out that way. It begins slowly and before you know it, you have 10 years worth of Popular Mechanics.

My husband worked in the pest control industry for nearly a year and he told me horror stories and confirmed that there really were people like those on the house cleaning shows.

I soon hope to be possibly having a garage sale and there are things I will be selling and what does not sell always goes to Goodwill, and if not there, find a shelter or children's home to donate to, there are people who are fart worse off than us and could actually use your 'stuff' (rest in peace George Carlin)

thebonebreaker said...


I hear what you are saying - I hear it from my wife nearly every day :-)

One question: there are people FART worse off?!? :-)

Red said...

You never know with some peoples farts...they really could be worse off then you or I!!