As hard as this may be, I have to admit something to you all. I am in a binge-purge cycle. And, it’s not an eating disorder I’m writing about (and please don’t think I’m minimizing eating disorders…I had anorexia and know how SERIOUS eating disorders are, but this metaphor fits), but a cycle of ‘collecting’ and then ‘donating’ on a regular basis!
Yes, I know on shows like “Hoarders”, people call themselves collectors when they are really living in squalor without being able to truly see their surroundings. My house is clean. And it’s not too cluttered. REALLY! I swear! However, I get on ‘kicks’, then when (and it will happen) I begin to clean, it’s like a tornado going through. I start getting rid of everything. I look at something and will tell myself I don’t need it, so into the donation box it goes. And I know I’m right to do this, because I haven’t looked at or used the damn thing for months.
And then it happens. I need it. You haven’t used the kitchen gadget or junk drawer contents forever, and the minute that donation box is dropped off and processed, you need this ‘thing’ more than you ever did.
A couple of years ago, I was furiously cleaning out my kitchen cabinets. My kitchen is quite small, and my cabinet space is very limited. So, every so often I have to ‘sort through’ (i.e. toss out) things in order to ensure my cabinet doors and drawers will close again. In the silverware drawer was a bottle opener. A rusty, icky, old bottle opener that we NEVER used. Hello! Pop and beer caps that you have to use an opener for are a thing of the past, so I had no qualms at all about tossing the darn thing away. Then, hubby got home. And got in the silverware drawer to eat his favorite after work snack, cottage cheese (not sure why I included that info…not really pertinent, but I just think it’s a weird snack).
Anyhoo, after immediately opening the drawer, hubby said, “Where is my bottle opener?” And I said, “You mean that dirty, rusty, nasty bottle opener that we never use and probably won’t use in the next 30 years? I tossed it!” Hubby’s face turned an interesting shade of purplish/red and he said, “You THREW AWAY the bottle opener my dead FATHER gave me when I was just a teenager? The ONLY thing my FATHER gave me when I was growing up that actually had sentimental value to him, and you THREW IT AWAY?” I said, “Well…yeah…” And the night went downhill from there.
So, being the sweet, remorseful wife I was, I got to the thrift shop as soon as I could the next day to get it back. And it wasn’t there. The box had been processed and someone had already bought the darn thing. Apparently, it was a collector’s item. I was on a quest. I scoured EVERY thrift shop in town…every antique dealer…every flea market…e-bay…etsy…and anywhere else I could think of. The opener had had a bars name on it, so I got online and of course the bar had closed years ago. FINALLY, after weeks of searching, an antique dealer called me and said he found a bottle opener like the one I was looking for! Twenty seven dollars later, I brought it home and stuck it in the drawer. And when hubby got home. I lied. Yes, I lied. I said, “Oh my gosh, hubby…I found your bottle opener! I must not have thrown it out after all!” He took a look at it, and then said this (word for word), “You know, it IS pretty gross…it needs to be tossed anyway! Sorry I got mad!” Heh?? After all of that…and he throws it away??!! I’m pretty sure hubby had no idea why I was so grouchy around him for the next few days.
This has happened with my mother as well. “Prof K, do you have my baking pan I lent you a few weeks ago?” Oooops. That was hers? I thought it was just another baking pan I’d accumulated that I didn’t have the space for. “No, ma…I have no idea what you’re talking about!” And then the search begins again!
Once, my mom and her ex took my hubby, son, and me out for Sunday lunch and she was wearing the ugliest outfit I ever saw. Seriously. (And yes, she admits it was hideous today, although her defense at the time was quite impressive). I’ve tried to find a pic of it online, and no one is brave enough to post anything about this hot mess…and thankfully so. Anyhoo…I, teasingly, told mom how awesome I thought her outfit was. And, later that week, she had bought me my own! A patchwork, culottes, blouse outfit I was now obligated to wear. So I did. The next week, I put it on for church. Hubby 2 comes in the bedroom where I’m looking at myself in the mirror and says, “You’re wearing THAT? You look 80!” AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH! But I wore it (for my mom) and she thought I looked beautiful…go figure. Luckily, the ‘style’ quickly went out, and those 2 outfits have since found their way to the local thrift shop. Thank goodness!
Now…what have I ‘collected’ over the years? I started with Precious Moments, and then went on to Boyd’s bear figurines. Once I got tired of these, for some unknown, God forsaken reason, I started collecting bells. I bought a ‘lot’ of them on e-bay so my collection grew in days. Now, they’re in a HUGE Rubbermaid container, and I have no idea what to do with them. Sell them? Keep them? Hmmmmm.
For a long while, sis and I collected antique bottles we dug up…we literally had hundreds!! Weeding those out was hard on me, and a friend had to help. But, I was surrounded by glass…and it was way too much!! I moved on to vintage, snarky ashtrays and leather postcards. I have absolutely no idea why. Just saw a couple of these things in an antique shop and thought, ‘I need to collect these’! When I show people my ‘collections’, they look at me like I’m one step away from needing an intervention. And they are probably right!
So, I’ll continue my binge and purge cycle of ‘collecting’ and in the meantime, who knows? I might just come across the 1 thing that makes it all worthwhile…the Picasso found at a rummage sale or an original Abe Lincoln letter at a flea market. I’ll keep plodding along…looking for that ‘find’!
OK…here’s the moral to this blog post, and it’s one we can all learn from: NEVER TELL YOUR MOTHER YOU LIKE HER OUTFIT IN A SARCASTIC WAY. SHE WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING SNARKINESS AND THE RESULT WILL BE YOU WEARING A QUILT IN PUBLIC. ‘Nough said.
Prof K ❤