Saturday, January 03, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

I have a lot of difficulty “letting go”...whether we're talking about a relationship or an old vase, I just am not good about getting rid of stuff. My ex is the opposite. When we were married, some of our biggest arguments were about throwing away old stuff. He would go through a room and just throw away anything that he thought was old or imperfect. “If it hasn't been used in a year, you don't need it”, was his motto. I, on the other hand, attached sentimental value to every object. The ticket stubs to movies, the silky nighty I wore on our honeymoon that had become worn out and lace-torn, the beautiful vase gotten as a wedding gift, now held together with hot glue.

So, 5 years ago, when my ex left (out with the old, in with the new), perfectly in character, he said he'd rather have cash than the house or any of the “stuff” within. This worked out perfectly for me. Though it's not easy to afford or maintain this big house, I get to hold on to all my glorious “stuff”. I even had trouble getting rid of the piece of driftwood found in Mendocino that we'd put on the bed to symbolize we'd felt disconnected... like we were “drifting” apart. (Although I admit to being tempted to throw that one through the window of his new house with a note that said, “your new wife might want this”.)

Without my ex around any more to throw away all my precious junk, my kitchen-cabinet-cleanup project is long overdue. My idea of making spaghetti sauce is heating up a jar of Prego so this is more kitchen than I deserve, but I still love it. Taking everything out, one cabinet at a time, I discovered all kinds of “treasures”. Cooking gadgets that I have no idea how to use. Holiday molds that release the jello into a unique shape causing guests to think “what the heck is that supposed to be?” I found another kind of mold, too....on an ancient sandwich left in one of the 10 Bolder Boulder lunch bags that I've collected. Ah...what memories. I found all the baby cups that Scotty used to drink chocolate milk from that have since been chewed up by our dog, Chloe. I found 3-kids worth of elementary art projects and I also think "What the heck is that supposed to be?" I even have a bunch cheesy stuff from MY childhood like my “St. Louis” souvenir cup and saucer.

Let's face it... I'm not just sentimental, I'm a packrat. I can't stand to throw away something that is too old or worn out or sentimental to give to charity, but still has some value (supposedly). I think the weirdest thing I found was something that looked like a urine specimen cup. It was still in a plastic container (unused thank goodness!) but I must have thought the container might come in handy some day when I stuck that little treasure in my food storage cabinet. I have to admit, it was one of the few items in there that actually had a lid that I could find. There were quite a few lids with no corresponding containers as well! Almost everything was stained and weathered from years of use. “Tupperware” was “special” according to my mother. (I can't believe she actually asked if she could take some of these sorry containers, saying I could send her the lids if I found them in my cleanup. Now you can see where I got my packrat behaviors from.) My son asked me if I was going to give them to the homeless... Um... No. I don't think homeless people want old and dirty food storage containers to store all their leftover food in their live-in “refrigerators”. What my Mom didn't want, I actually put in the trash. Thanks to Walmart, I was able to replenish my supply for less than 20 bucks. It may not be “Tupperware” but it's clean and has lids.,

I found lots of mugs that were the ex's... Far Side, “I Love My Daddy”, Enginerd... He drank a lot of coffee, so coffee mugs were a standard gift. I boxed them up to send over. Most likely he will throw them all away. I'm proud that I either gave away or threw away a lot of old stuff, too. But I'm keeping a few of the old things. The “I Love My Mommy” mug will never go out of style.

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