Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I started to dust my bedroom today -- it wasn't on my Wednesday agenda, but I was getting really uncomfortable with the accumulation of dust and the cat fur tumbleweeds that would blow out from under the bed and dressers if I walked by them quickly enough.

Once I started cleaning off the tops of our dressers and nightstands, I e-mailed Husband to tell him we had to take time on Friday (he doesn't have to report to school that day) to clean out our closet and dressers: we have too much stuff and it's time to pare down.

And then 4 minutes later, despite having other things to do, I was in the closet, ripping the obvious garbage off of hangers and promising myself I'd stop at the hanging clothes. An hour later, I was tearing through shoes. Then handbags. Then the wrapping paper stash. Then the bag of bags.

These all had clothing on them.

I learned a few things during this process.

#1  We could live here until we're 90 years old and when the adult Little Guy and Daughter go through our things to decide what should go to our nursing home and what they want to keep, they will uncover no fewer than 6 million Nerf bullets. No matter how many I collect and return to the bin in Little Guy's room each day, there are always more Nerf bullets hiding somewhere. I found three in my closet. Who shoots Nerf guns in a 3' x 5' closet?

#2  All of the suits I bought over the past 20 years: Blech. Not only did I pick inappropriate sizes, but I never selected anything that remotely represented my style. Everything was conservative and awful.  It's no wonder I couldn't write in a voice that was mine when I was gainfully employed: I wasn't even dressing like me.

Because I'm a bit of a hoarder at heart (getting rid of stuff is scary: what if I need it later?),  I took off my clothes and tried on several 'quality' pieces -- lined slacks and some name brand jackets.  I looked just awful in them.  I tore them off my body and threw them on the growing pile in the hallway for Goodwill.

If I ever have to go back to the corporate world, so help me God, I will not dress like I'm a 75-year old Republican.  It ain't me. 

What's left of the bag of bags. Intimidating, right?
#3  I could have made two more cats out of the cat fur that had come to rest on the floor of the closet, and in particular, in the bag of bags, one of Raoul's favorite napping spots.

The bag of bags is where I hit the wall. The biggest bag of them all -- the beach bag -- holds every free drawstring bag from race swag and every free tote from conferences that husband and I have ever been in. There are also more than a few Clinique and Estee Lauder totes. And some Ikea bags. Jesus ... it's a fucking nightmare.  A fur covered nightmare.

The pile of bags is on the floor on Husband's side of the bed. For as many 'stay or go' decisions as I made this morning, the bag of bags pile seems impossible.  I pulled out the obvious keepers (those that weren't covered in cat fur) ... the rest?  What if the day comes when I actually need 30 zippered totes from Houghton-Mifflin publishers?

Husband came home and although impressed with my purging, he's being a bit of a belligerent dick about going through his own drawers. Dead book lights, half empty packs of matches, pieces of Nicorette gum in their foil packs... why does all of this shit have to be out in the open? Even if it's shoved in a piece of pottery on the dresser top -- it's still visible. I hate knick knacks. And pieces of shit. Consolidate the drawers and pick a junk drawer. I've got one -- it hides jewelry boxes and heating pads, decks of cards and stationery.  It's not shit to be displayed.

I want to go to bed tonight in a clean, organized space. I might want to light candles. This room is supposed to be our temple. A not-child-friendly temple of relaxation and sex. I can't relax and have sex with plastic zip ties, dead batteries and pieces of Nicorette gum all over the place.

One box and a tray table full of crap.

In the past four weeks, we've done some renovating and some cleaning/purging.  This is what remains -->. 

Given that we live in a 2,200-square-foot apartment, if this is all that needs to be sorted through, I guess we're in good shape.

Good shape, that is, if you don't take into consideration the back sunroom, just off of our bedroom, which is where 15 years worth of stuff has gone to die. Luckily, that room -- formerly an outside porch which was crudely converted into a sunroom (without insulation!) about 45 years ago -- is miserably cold from about October through June, so the door is always shut.

Out of sight, out mind. Until it warms up, then we've got problems.

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