Oh, hello again! This little gem somehow wound up in the ‘draft’ box rather than being published at the end of January. As I happen to like it, I thought I would post it and let you enjoy it as you choose, or not. If you do happen to enjoy it, or other essays on this blog, please subscribe to it. That way you’ll always know when I’ve had a
second glass of wine moment of inspiration. And as always, I love to hear your comments. Preferably not through your lawyer’s office.
My office is a mess.
Every time I think I have a handle on all the crap that’s in there… the handle breaks. For example, I opened a box that said “Dia”, which was not helpful, because that’s my name. Inside the box were photographs and school stuff, from back when I was in public school. While it was interesting to see that I started talking up and out in class in Grade 1, I’m not sure that that’s a surprise to anyone who knows me these days. And while it rather tugged at my heart to see my dad’s handwriting (in red fountain pen ink, of all things!) suggesting that as I was always walking around the house with a different book in my hand, perhaps the total count of books read on the report card was a tad low, I just cannot keep all of these things.
And going through the photographs… Oh, dear. Fortunately, about a quarter of them were Jeff’s, including a lot, really an awful lot, of photos of aircraft. How can anyone take so many pictures of aircraft? Fixed wing, helos, jets, the whole gamut of planes that appear at air shows and/or that he flies, he took photos. And then apparently gave them to me. I’m not sure that this fits into “…with all my worldly goods I thee endow…”
Anyway, I’m trying to work my way through the last few boxes we moved from Owen Sound to Stirling, in preparation for moving out of Stirling. Not that that’s going to happen soon or quickly, but we think it must. Since my last paid gig ended, I have been interviewing like crazy. So far without a job offer, but that’s okay. Not all of them were jobs I actually wanted (I sent off a lot of c.v.s in panic mode), but only one job was within commuting distance of Stirling. And unfortunately, of course, it was the one job for which I interviewed that I really did want but did not get. However, and eventually, there will be something, and given the trips out of town I have made and will be making in the next couple of weeks, when the perfect-for-me job does happen, commuting seems unlikely to be an option.
When we were a military family, we moved a lot. Even when we moved back to Ontario, the first five years, we moved a lot. In all those moves, we had things to pack and shift and unpack, but because we always knew there was another move coming, we generally tried not to bring in anything more than we took out, moving was in a way a static experience.
And then we found Our House. And bought it. And lived there for 14 years. Accumulating a lot of stuff along the way. Our stuff, my grandparents’ stuff, my parents’ stuff. We had a lot of stuff. Jeff made a dozen trips with a full station wagon to the
dump recycling centre in preparation to the move here to Stirling. We also held a yard sale, shoving stuff in people’s hands as they left the house (“No, really. Take it. Take it all!”). And we gave things away, a lot of things, to individuals and to charitable groups, and to the library. And then we moved.
We still moved more stuff than we should have, which in part is because I wasn’t there to be ruthless enough in clearing out the kitchen and the attic, and in part because we were moving into a house even larger than the one we were leaving and there was going to be room for all our stuff! I mean, I have cupboards in this kitchen that are so big, all my favourite platters fit in them. Such bliss…
Such agony…. because I have to face facts like a grown-up girl. We’re going to be moving again and some of this stuff just must go. I have no idea where, or how, but it must. It must.
My office is where the culling will happen first, because I obviously don’t need all the crap that got moved. It’s still in boxes! But I do want to go through all the boxes and bags – I found my parents’ wedding pictures in one of them just last week, and damned if I let those just go. But I’m pretty sure I don’t need the mastercard bills from 2002 any more, nor the Christmas cards from all of last decade (after I make sure I have everyone’s address, of course), and there is much more like this that will be relatively easy to
The tougher part of this culling job is going to be the bits and pieces we’ve collected because we’ve gone somewhere, or someone has given us, or that we’ve inherited and are things that we actually like and use.
I read an article recently about a family that cut their material possessions down by 50 per cent, including the size of their house. Fifty percent? Wow. And yet… we have two sets of dishes, really nice ‘every day’ service for 8 and the ‘good china’ for 12 my mother gave me when she retired & moved to the cottage. We have three – three! – sets of sterling silver flatware plus the stuff that matches the ‘good’ china AND the stainless stuff we bought as newlyweds. We have my mother’s crystal glasses, the Venetian crystal we bought (in Venice) on our honeymoon, and about 36 more wine glasses besides. We have 14 shrimp cocktail glasses. There are 7 sets of mixing & serving bowls in the cupboards, and about a dozen platters and service dishes. And I own 2 soup tureens. Don’t ask me why. And don’t get me started on the bakeware (why would anyone not living in Paris own two madeleines pans???) because I think I might start crying.
So maybe we can cut back by 50 per cent, and without too many tears on my part. Maybe I can learn to live with two sets of mixing bowls, and only three platters, and I will happily give up the stainless flatware and use the silver every day. I can even get rid of another couple of dozen books without too much agony. We’d be doing it for the right reasons. We’ll feel better for having a cleaner, simpler life. We’ll enjoy dining off the RCD china and listening to CDs we really want to own and sitting on just two chairs but really comfortable ones.
So, there it is. Many, many fewer boxes of papers and scraps. Much less kitchen gadgetry and gewgaws. Really good books and very serviceable lamps. Culling is done. Except, you know, for the actual, well, doing it part, which I will get to. Really. As soon as I finish this book I just found on the bottom shelf… I didn’t know we owned this! Excuse me, will you? I have to find a good glass for a little scotch, and curl up in the big chair in the corner, and listen to that obscure young pianist who gave me her CD, while I read this funny little book….