First World Decluttering Problems

The old Jetta’s ignition system died.

We could have resurrected it.  (Although it hadn’t had air-conditioning for over a year…)

Our mechanic — who’d been kind of hinting all along… — got all set up for a date with the junk dealer.

Then…

Somebody suggested we Donate the car to charity.

Seven or eight phone calls later we had a promise that the car would be picked up five days hence.

Then their flatbed broke down.

And then it still wasn’t fixed.

But then it still wasn’t fixed.

So they borrowed a flatbed from somewhere else

and finally one day..

.

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Half of the Stainless Steel Ware Drawer

Yesterday I volunteered to be a project director for a council so buried under proposed projects they are frantic.

I’ve set myself the project of finding a project director for each proposed project…

…recognizing that the Council has been too swamped to sort out where one project ends and the next begins.

I woke up with my head in a tangle.

So I sorted our silted up stainless steel ware drawer…

This collection of miscellanea will go to the next community rummage sale while..

This collection of matched pieces — which do NOT match our own set — will first be offered to friends.  Then, if any of it comes home, set aside for rummage.

(My husband edited all my choices, agreed on what could go but kept all sorts of pieces he likes to use.)

 

 

Learning the Swing of Things

A friend of my husband and his new bride, my fellow member of our Second Wives of Widowers circle and a short lady, had us over for a movie night.

At popcorn time, she deftly climbed on a dinette chair to reach her supplies on the upper shelf.

Last night as we prepared to join them again, my husband loaded one of our FOUR folding step stools into the car.

THEN

Selected two of the seven rubber jar-grippers that threaten to overwhelm kitchen tool drawer and added them to the stack of dvd’s…

I am so proud of him.

************

When we learn what is most needed, we likely have some bounty for fire-stricken Santa Rosans, too.

Setting limits…

Dear Wife of my husband’s first wife’s brother,

Your erstwhile brother-in-law brought his new bride, me, to his home two years ago.

Since then, slowly but surely I have been respectfully emptying it of your deceased sister-in-law’s personal and professional effects, releasing them to friends and in venues where she is remembered and loved as the beautiful woman and skilled teacher she was.  I finally finished this dispersal a few months ago.

Finished, that is, except for a substantial stash of items and furniture.  These are mementoes from my husband’s deceased wife and her sister who predeceased her, as well as gleanings from their deceased antique dealer mother.

My husband feels these all rightfully belong to you and your husband.  At this point in time these items fill our storage areas; space we want to put to other uses than warehousing.

Several times these past couple of years my husband has asked when you folks plan to come to collect these items.  Your few answers signal to me that perhaps you folks aren’t particularly interested in reclaiming any of it.  I understand.  Lives move on and priorities change.  But, if you do want any of it we need to make a firm plan for you to come get it, otherwise…

We plan to disperse these things at two community rummage sale fundraisers before the end of the coming year.  The first benefits our public library while the second benefits our volunteer fire department.  Whatever remains that we cannot disperse through those events will be donated to area charities.

Please be sure to let your husband know of our plans to disperse the remainder of this legacy….

It’s a spiritual journey…

I had planned this day at the heart of the luxurious midsummer 4th of July long weekend to be my one completely unscheduled day.  A day to do nothing at all “by the clock” while my mind ran free to walk, to write, to read.

Lo and behold, at eight thirty this morning, my husband precipitously invited a couple I don’t know well (the wife is accustomed to having a housekeeper) to come over for a noon visit.  The house hasn’t been vacuumed since May, the bathroom …, yesterday my cat deposited hairballs on the comforter, and there are absolutely no snacks or drinks in the cupboard.

The key to serenity, I am convinced, is to eschew tantrums through a process of mental decluttering.  After a short rant among trusted friends…

… I threw out any notion that preparatory house cleaning or worries about entertaining preparations are in any way, shape, or form my responsibility.

… and I determined to salvage as much good stuff as possible.

So, while this post isn’t the post that’s been deliciously marinating in the back of my mind in anticipation of today’s unfettered writing time, it is a post that has something to say and I’ve enjoyed the work of letting it say what it wants to.

And my husband has vacuumed the living room, mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the bathroom while I have been writing it.  (I’d already thrown the comforter in the laundry.)

The excuse for this incursion is that the new bride is bringing us some soup she wants us to believe that she promised us.  I’ll respond by serving that up for a light lunch they dare not refuse…

If I decide to go that route.

 

Five Things

The (roughly) Memorial Day Volunteer Fire Department Benefit Rummage Sale approaches and the slowly growing stash of culled kitchen equipment and my superfluous desk chair were all ready to go.

A couple of weeks before, faced with the realization I’d developed active distaste for an old research  topic, I purged a section of my office bookshelf and found that four of the relevant background books were acceptable for Amazon’s trade-in program!  Off they went.

This success fired me up to amass a bagful of I’ll-never-read-these-agains with which I planned to tempt the interest of our local used book shop.  My husband found himself caught up in the wave and added an old c.d. of his own to the stash!  Our book shop accepted more than two thirds of the books and his c.d. for credit…

(So it was that he too experienced the sweetness of learning that his discard is a treasure to eyes in the wider world!)

It was in the aftermath of these literary successes that I commanded gaily, “Now you must find Five Things of your own to add to this Fire Department Sale pile!”

He promptly delved into a closet and produced two superfluous functioning desk lamps, three functioning fans, a small space heater and something we think might be an air purifier.  I asked to keep the I-hope-it’s-an-air-purifier.  He decided to keep the smallest fan.

But there they were: his Five Things we’ll never think about again.

We added to the pile the set of introductory math books the bookstore hadn’t wanted and carted it all to the Firefighters’ Auxiliary this morning.

Detachment with Love

This post is not about clearing out a basement or sifting through a closet.  Rather it is about clearing rubbish out of my thinking — about beginning to exercise the Lost Art of Making Sense.

Since November 9, 2016 dawned cementing the news that a racist, a mocker of the disabled, a robber of workmen, an adulterer, a mocker of science, a homophobe, an ignorant bloviator, in short Donald Trump, had been elevated to the presidency by an electorate who was willing to ignore all those qualities and run the country off a cliff…

Many commentators have made it quite clear that I am supposed to immerse myself in guilt for having failed to quell the fears, to heal the pain, to solve the problems of my fellow men (intentionally: “men”) who chose to release their festering pus on election day and loose infectious hatred upon themselves and everyone else.

This doesn’t jive.

I am responsible for feeding, clothing, and sheltering myself and those weaker than I am.  I am responsible for turning my other cheek and for not burning down the homes and villages of people who steal from me and lie about me.  I am responsible for loving the Lord my God and my neighbor as myself — and for not killing them, for not sleeping with their husbands (or wives), for not stealing from them or lying about them, and finally, even for not wishing I had what they have….

But I am not responsible for understanding, or accepting their choice anymore than I have ever expected them to understand how much I detest their choice, or arrive at mine.  Those who expect and demand my magnanimity don’t ever mention that they might try to understand my point of view either.

The decluttering here is to shed the life-long, knee-jerk inclination to bang my head against a brick wall trying to make myself understood and to replace it with a fierce determination — perhaps even stronger than theirs — to walk toward my own dignity — a dignity which in no way lessens their safety or security either.  Come with me if you will.

From those who won’t, I detach.  With love.