What’s hot for one is not hot for all
I want to talk about Valentine’s Day and all that stuff.
I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. I don’t care about any holiday where I am supposed to get or give a card (except birthdays, mine and those of the people I love).
I feel manipulated by so many of those holidays – that they are just reasons for companies to sell me stuff.
(Although the half-price candy days at Walgreen’s the day after a holiday? Those are legit.)
I don’t judge people who do want the cards and the candy and the flowers, though. For some people, that’s their love language.
My love language is not candy. It’s not cards. It’s not flowers.
It is GETTING RID OF THE CRAP IN THE BASEMENT.
It is living a life without anchors.
It is living a life of space and light and open counters.
I am married to a hoarder.
He says he is not – that he is especially not, when you compare him to his parents, and I will agree with him. He does not have as much junk as his parents did.
(They had a lot. He had to clean out their house after they died. They had moved a bag of old newspapers from Pittsburgh to Florida. It wasn’t “Dewey Beats Truman” papers – it was just a bag of newspapers that they threw on the moving truck. That’s the level of junk they had in their house.)
(Also. The night before his mom’s funeral, we were looking for photos of her and of the grandkids to show at the funeral home. The house had photos on every wall and every horizontal surface. This was a house of photos. We found lots of photos of Mr T’s ex wife, but, even though my mom had sent them a bunch of photos from our wedding, not only could we not find those photos, but we could not find a single photo of me. Not. One.)(They did not like me.)(I ate bacon wrong.)
Anyhow. Where was I?
Oh. Mr T is not as bad as his parents, but he does like to hold onto things.
I do not. I moved so many times as a kid (and as an adult) that I am used to shedding possessions.
I came into this marriage with the essentials and with only two boxes of mementos.
Mr T came in with an entire basement full of boxes, boxes he brought with him when he moved here from California over ten years ago and have not been opened since. Boxes I have told him I will throw away without even looking to see what’s inside once he’s dead. If you can go more than ten years without opening a box, you don’t need what’s in it.
But we have been having many conversations about What Does Our Life Mean and What Do We Do When We Retire and (from me) Why Do We Have All This Crap In The Basement?
So he finally started going through the boxes to throw things away.
And we have found some very interesting things.
Like his lease from 1986.
And his employee benefits packet from 1988.
Which made a person weep because the coverage was so good.
And his stepdaughter’s college tuition bills.
And coupons for auto repairs. (Expired.)(For decades.)
He was going to dump almost everything in the recycling except he discovered something we had forgotten: In the 80s, almost every kind of transactional document had your social security number on it.
The OG will remember: We used to write our social security numbers on checks. That makes no sense now that I think about it. Even without the spectre of identity theft, how on earth was that information useful to KMart? It’s not like they could validate that number.
But there you go. All these documents with social security numbers, which means they can’t go in the recycling and which also means, unless we want to put every single paper in the “shred” pile, each paper has to be looked at individually.
Which is how Mr T spent Valentine’s Day night: Looking at old papers and making the decision whether to recycle or to shred.
He got through three boxes that weekend and that’s about the sexiest thing that could have happened.