Friday, December 14, 2007

"Despite years of personal development, she still turned into her mother." *

Right now my two older boys share a room. Terzo has his own room across the hall. All three of them would like to be in the same room, and crazy as that will make an already crazy bedtime, I find it adorable that they want to be together (never mind that we live in a six-bedroom house…and I will stuff all three of my children in one…)

So about a month ago, I started shifting everything out of the big back room that we had been using as our TV room and office, into my bedroom. The TV had been moved, months ago, despite my vociferous opposition, down to the living room (into a nice, enclosed armoire, at least). It seemed silly to use the biggest room for…the computer. Especially since I only ever use my laptop, and almost never in that room. All the books and the computer and the dog crate can just as easily fit into the smaller front room where the boys are sleeping presently.

The back room needs to be painted – it remains a vibrant turquoise from the previous owners, and still sports nasty tan shag carpeting. I was under the delusion for the longest time that I was going to paint it, pregnant belly and all, but I finally came to my senses and decided to get our window-rebuilder-guy to paint it for me. He can’t fit us into until after the first of the year, so we sort of slacked. And then I realized the other night that the absolute mess of piles of books, various pieces of furniture, and odds and ends that don’t go anywhere else, all heaped in my bedroom, was making me nuts.

I was starting to feel like a cross between a bag lady who actually has a home, and my mother, whose house was crammed so full of crap that I took to staying in a hotel when I visited. And I mean true crap – not Antiques Roadshow contenders - piles of junk mail and unopened bills, plastic bags full of twisty-ties, tupperware containers, and more plastic bags, empty egg cartons, rinsed-out jars of all sizes and shapes, every catalog and magazine she had ever received, as well as all the Franklin Mint figurines and dolls and plates she had frittered away money on for years, still in their packing boxes…child of the Depression, coupled with some serious clinical depression, is my layman’s diagnosis.

After taking a month to clear out her house, I learned a valuable lesson, and I am relentless in throwing stuff out. I make weekly trips to the recycling center, have a monthly almost-standing appointment with the Vietnam Vets’ pickup truck, and routinely post stuff on Freecycle.

But when Terzo pushed one of my favorite mugs off the coffee table onto the tile fireplace hearth yesterday, and I picked up the chunks to throw them away, H stopped me: Wasn’t that your dad’s mug?

Yes, it was, and I loved it, but it’s broken.

Well, why don’t you glue it together, and find some use for it even if you can’t drink out of it anymore? he asked.

I looked at him like he was insane. What is the point of a coffee mug if you can’t drink coffee out of it?

Well, except that my dad died when I was seventeen, and I don’t have many things of his, and the mug makes me happy. He worked for RCA for years, and the mug sports the dog-and-gramophone RCA logo, and something about the Trident submarine translator with which RCA was involved, somehow. Maybe in the communication systems? I don’t know. It had a cool squared-off handle, and was shorter but wider than your average coffee mug. It was second in my affections only to my Philadelphia Flyers mug.

But then, of course, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, and it sits on my kitchen window sill awaiting copious application of Crazy Glue. And now I am off to pull up carpeting in the back bedroom, under the theory that the painter can paint around the boys’ bedroom furniture just as easily as he can paint around the bookcases and dog crate and computer equipment, and so I can get the rest of the piles of STUFF out of my bedroom. So I can sleep at night again, knowing that I dodged at least ONE becoming-my-mother bullet.


*refrigerator magnet, from this site


Caro said...

Your mother must have been related to my grandfather. It sounds like they saved the same stuff.

Your H sounds like he knows you well. What a clever idea with the mug.

Paula said...

You really must be nesting to take on a job like that this close to Christmas.

Be careful lifting dear.

My sister has the same hording problem.

lazy cow said...

Know the feeling well. My mum has a walk-in robe stuffed with clothes but wears the same outfit almost every day. I've offered to come and clear out her crap but she refuses: "what if I need it one day".

Katy said...

do your three boys want to all live in the same room because they love each other's company that much, or because they want to keep their friends close and their enemies (or brothers) closer?

Will the baby get its own room? That is totally backwards to how most big families are. And it sounds like you have plenty of space if they decide that they want their own rooms.

Joke said...

Back when having a N3S or N1D was a far likelier proposition than it is now, at NOS's request we got bunk beds with the trundle bed so the (presumably) three boys could sleep in the same room.

We also know of friends (one oldest boy, set of triplet girls and twin boys...don't ask) how have such a set-up in TWO rooms.


P.S. If I ever got TFBIM that refrigerator magnet, she'd give me a practical demonstration of her views on the right to bear firearms.

Suse said...

I was going to attempt to say something erudite but then I read about Joke's friends.

Sarah Louise said...

You go girl! (I can't think of anything else to say that wouldn't be completely introspective and very long.)