Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fighting Against My Pack Rat DNA With All My Might

I come from a family of pack rats. The gene for hoarding runs strong on my mom's side of the family. Not A&E documentary worthy hoarding, lest you feel the need to be concerned about the safety and well-being of my children, but still substantial enough to make me conscious of the benefits of the occasional healthy purging of those things unnecessary in my life and home. Example: my grandmother - The Queen of garden planting, hidden word puzzles, and plastic canvas knitting - had drawers filled with the most miscellaneous crap I've ever witnessed. Opening the main compartment of her roll-top desk meant taking your life into your own hands for you were opening yourself up to the very real possibility of being buried alive under pounds of falling documents. Want to read an obituary from 1976? She probably had one, clipped because it was the cousin of a fellow church goer's friend from their Saturday night dinners at the V-F-and-W (as my brother liked to call it). Need a spare bead for your latest 8th grade friendship charm? Visit one of the upstairs bedrooms. My hand to God, I've never seen so many egg cartons filled with plastic charms in all my life. It's like the bead department of Hobby Lobby exploded in my mom's former bedroom.

Anyway, hoarding. Pack rats. It's in the genes and ever since my mom and her brother & sister were designated with the daunting task of cleaning out years and years of accumulated treasures when my grandparents moved into the nursing home, I made a pledge to myself that I would never let my inherited pack rat tendencies grow to that level. That being said, it's easier said than done. When we moved into this house six years ago, my dad lovingly agreed to help me move boxes (and boxes, and boxes...) on Day One while The General partyed it up Buffett style (a move I think he regretted on Day Two which involved moving items like couches, beds, a dryer, and other bulky furniture). So there my dad was, bright and early on a Saturday morning with Ford Excursion at the ready, but wait! What's this? Oh yes, we can't move any of my carefully packed boxes yet BECAUSE THE TRUCK IS ALREADY PACKED TO THE BRIM WITH BOXES (AND BOXES, AND BOXES...) of ribbons, trophies, scrapbooks, knick-knacks, wall hangings and Lord knows what else from the shelves, walls, and closet of my childhood bedroom. The man was literally giddy that I finally had a home of my own for storing those items he had for years been trying to unload. One would think I would have painstakingly gone through those items and disposed of those which were no longer of vital importance to keep, but no. The pack rat in me can not let them go so in the attic they stay. (Aside: Parkers, I believe the original Mr. Banana Head is located in one of those boxes. It has been my mission to find it one of these days, and believe you me, if I do it will be posted here for all the world to enjoy).

You may be asking yourself: Does this post have a point? And the answer is: Bear with me, I'm getting there (I hope).

I go through periods of mass purging, those moments where I get the motivation to dispose of everything in my life that does not have a designated space; things which are broken, missing pieces, or out of date (TOYS!); those things which are not adding to my quality of life; or anything that is just plain annoying me. My general rule of thumb during these times: If I haven't looked for it or needed it in a year, it's out. Often times our garage becomes the dumping ground for those items which I deem unworthy of a space in my home but worthy of trying to make a quick buck on in the event in which I've been referring to (for years) as The Mother of All Garage Sales. This includes basically any and all baby items with whatever random stuff I can part with during the big sale event. Tonight, however, I made the impulse decision to do away with one of those items in my ever evolving attempts at the anti-hoarder movement.

The double stroller - purchased for us by my brother, second hand from a mother of twin girls - is now laying outside at the edge of the driveway. It's bulkiness, lack of use, and complete in-the-wayness was really starting to annoy me. My secret hope is that someone will pick it up before the garbage truck comes to take it away and use it as God intended. This stroller is cubersome, clunky, a pain in the butt to steer, well worn, and down right dirty. But never has a stroller been so loved or logged so many miles on the streets in and around One Carbon Hill. This bad boy was our main mode of transportation during the summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008, and I'm fairly certain there were days where my sanity would have been lost had I not been able to toss the girls in the double stroller and give all three of us a change of scenery and serenity. Now that the girls are older (and heavier) we have no use for this stroller, and rather than wait for The Mother Of All Garage Sales I made the decision tonight that it's time to let it go. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit how melancholy I felt dragging it out with the garbage and even more embarrassed to admit that right now I'm fighting back tears as I conjure up memories of moments pushing my babies in that stupid thing. Aren't hormones fun?

Reading back through what I've typed, I think this goes down as the most rambling, disjointed, is-she-ever-going-to-stop posts of all time. I apologize and blame it on a lack of oxygen. I promise never to post following an evening run ever again as I'm sure this was downright painful for those of you who stuck with me this far. For hanging in there with me, I will now reward you with nostalgic pictures of our daughters and the double stroller. Excuse me while I go grab the kleenex.

Tuckered out after our day at Shedd Aquarium. This was the first and last time this stroller ever saw anything other than the streets of One Carbon Hill while in our possession.

Getting ready to walk to the park

Playing at the park

Baby's First Lemon Shake-Up

Bringing home winnings after a night at The Homecoming Carnival

(So apparently I only took pictures of Punkin in the stroller. I suppose that's because I snapped most of the pictures when Shortcake was off playing in the park while her not-yet-mobile sister was confined to the stroller. Don't worry, Shortcake. Compared to your sister, what you lack in stroller pictures you more than make up for in video footage.)


Parker said...

For those of you who are wondering...if we posessed any kind of talent and could draw something more complex than a banana (on a body), we would probably be rich! That story, if i remember correctly, was "riveting", "a great beach read", and "once you pick it up, you can't put it down". I think we even had a section on the back "about the author". If it would have had an ISBN number, we could have used it for a book report in Mr. Keller's class!

AuntieM said...

pack rat i understand...as i come from a long legacy of packers...going through the difficult task of emptying my parents house, we have had so many fond memories and laughs of the stupid stuff my folks have saved over the years (why would you keep your kids grade school plastic art drop cloths?) lots of locks of blond hair, unmarked of course,s lots of baby teeth, and hundreds of flower vases and pots of dirt (really) that must be 30-40 years old and then again there was the sweetest stuff, 50 plus year old love letters from the Korean war, delicate dainty embroidered hankies, thousands of old family photos and newspaper clippings, every card ever sent to them from family and friends (of course i brought home all of them with my kids hand scribbled signitures and xxx and ooo's) and many "treasures" like the plastic pink and blue birthday cake numbers and candle holders that my Grandmother adorned every cake with! things that brought back such great memories for us..............so don't be too hard on yourself, for there is some good out of it ....... and does anybody need a 3 foot tall ceramic Miss Piggy lamp???

The Other Parker said...

I thought it was a body on a banana! That changes the whole story!

The General said...

A young woman picked up the stroller about 20 mins ago.

The MC said...

I bet runner lady took the stroller - she needs to make room for bigger hauls.

Jersey Girl said...

FYI Mrs.
In the first picture of Punkin in the stroller...I see a definite resemblence of Gizmo to her older cousin!! Must be the "Poke" genes in those two cuties.

Papa Poke said...

So, when do we get to get rid of your crap that is still in MY basement? If your brother keeps expanding the "Lounge" in his basement he's probably gonna want some space too one of these days. Maybe I should tell him what he told me about storing my camper in his sheds..."You can't afford my storage!" Love ya' guys! LOL.

The Mrs. said...

Hey, Papa Poke, that's not MY crap. That crap belongs to your GRANDDAUGHTERS. You can take it up with them (and as a heads up Shortcake cries fat crocodile tears when she sees any of her school papers in the garbage so just try to throw out her baby clothes and exersaucer).


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