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IMG_7660Our house was outta control this weekend.

I’m not talking a little clutter. We got a new computer hutch. I get it… everything needs to be taken out of the old one and put in the new one. I knew the process would be an ordeal given the fact Lyle is very particular about his computer stuff, and when I say “particular,” I really mean he’s a fucking nut job. But I get it. Computers are his livelihood and his passion.

What I don’t get is why he needs to save the plastic, bubble packaging from SD cards purchased three years ago or a huge bag of plastic bags or 20 years of paystubs or eight boxes of staples or an entire drawer of those little square computer disks that are as useful as floppy disks, which we also probably have.

I questioned. Poked. Prodded. His eyes grew wide, really wide. His lips tightened.  He sucked in short, jagged breaths. “I mean it, Melissa, don’t throw (fill in the blank) away. I need it.”

“I won’t.”  But he knew I looked away too quick.

On a calm day, he and I can talk about his hidden stash. I counter ‘You never know when you are going to need it’ with ‘We only have so much space’. ‘It’s wasteful to throw it out’ balances with ‘used wrapping paper has a shelf life’.

The thing is though, I’ve seen his parents’ house. After his mom died, we helped go through a few closets. It took four people all day to go through three closets and a little crawl space. We found broken toys from the 1960s, worn out bath mats from the 70s, stacks of flattened out “gently used” gift wrap, piles of moth-eaten blankets, and one burlap sack from a grain elevator where Lyle’s mom worked before she got married.

I’m pretty sure if it weren’t for me, our house would be a labyrinth of computer magazines, paper grocery sacks, cables (he really loves stray cables), boxes of to-be recycled batteries, old shoes, and stacks of old-shirt-turned rags.

He says I pitch everything, just like my mom. Now, my mom has been known to ‘start fresh’ from time to time. When I was younger, I watched her ditch entire living room sets for something new. I never thought much about it then. I just accepted the cast offs.

I keep some stuff that has sentimental value. Stashed here and there, I have all of Russell’s baby teeth (I know that’s creepy) and love letters Lyle wrote when we dated. But now closets are jam packed, cabinets are overloaded, and the garage is stacked with crates.

When the house gets too messy, I grouch, pitch shit, and then eat chocolate chip cookies (or whatever else is close by).

Well, the house is sorta back together, but now I’ve had five days of eating crap, sugar cravings are back, and my joints are all swollen. The mess that was on the floor 24 hours ago pales to the clutter in my head. Now, I’ve got to really figure out what needs pitched.


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