Monday, December 26, 2011


We got started on the little guy's bedroom -- for real -- tonight. All of the books, stuffed animals and Blackhawks memorabilia are packed in boxes and occupying the length of our hallway. 

I am overjoyed to have the contents of his room spilling out in the public area of the rest of our condo.*

Since we started packing things up, it seemed like a good time to do a little purging. We do toy and clothing purges fairly regularly because the 100-year old condo does not offer oodles of closet space, so little guy's crap was condensed into one small U-Haul box and a smallish tower of jigsaw puzzles.

Years ago, my kids really got into puzzles. I loved getting them because they didn't require batteries or make noise and the kids would sit quietly and actually help each other complete the puzzle. 

Wii killed puzzles.

I decided we could free some space in the new room if we donated some of the puzzles to the nearby Salvation Army. But because of my undiagnosed OCD, I insisted that we make sure all of the puzzles had all of their pieces. 

What a satisfying way to spend the night with the family, right? TV on, eating leftover squid and shrimp, drinking wine and putting together puzzles. 

Just like they did back in the 60s.

Not so much. The children bitched and moaned like I had asked them to twist off their own little arms. And mother only has three Mother's Little Helpers left.

We've completed 18 puzzles. My fingers are truly stiff. My back is in agonizing pain. 

And four of the 18 puzzles have missing pieces.

What do I do with them?

Do I throw them out? What kid wants to slave away over a puzzle and not be able to finish it because of a missing piece or two? Where is the reward in that?

Do I mark the boxes accordingly: "This puzzle is missing two pieces"? Because isn't an Incredible Hulk puzzle with one missing piece better than no puzzle at all?

What do I do with them?

And an even better question: How do I avoid the top drawer of his nightstand which I know is stuffed with coloring books, broken crayons and other weird shit that will need my attention?  

I'm actually trying to knock the Hoarder out of him and make him a part of the purging process, so just dumping the drawer in the garbage can isn't going to do him any favors. But going through it with him isn't going to do me any favors, either. 

Daughter has a drawer of markers in her bedroom caddy. A year ago, we found all the markers in the house and tested every last one of them to make sure they had a viable marker shelf-life before I allowed her to put them in that caddy.

I think it's time to test the markers again, just in case some of them dried out.

Sometimes I wish I was Husband. He just brought up a dirty Tupperware container that has probably been living in his desk drawer at work for a full month.

He ain't sweatin' it.

One day last year, the kids had some random vacation day. We had no plans. I made them help me sort out 10 years worth of take-out menus. We covered the dining room table and floor with piles of menus so we could get rid of duplicates (and sometimes triplicates or more) and organize by cuisine. 

I felt 15 lbs lighter. I don't think the kids gave a shit, either way.

I'm tired. I still have to finish the Rug Rats puzzle.  And since everything was dusty, I may need to wash my hands 7 times in a row.  But only after I've worked the loose floorboard in the hallway with my heel 12 times.**

*I am lying. This makes me crazy.

** I do not need to actually do the number/counting thingy. I can barely count laps on the track or in the pool. But I do make the children put together puzzles and sort take-out menus for me.

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