Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to Maureen Locher

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When my four boys were little I never had much time for myself – just like every other mom on the planet. In many respects time flew by, my sons grew older requiring less care, and here I am now facing a new set of challenges.

20 years ago my house was stuffed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, trucks and Legoes. Stepping barefoot on a Lego in the dark was akin to stabbing a needle in my eye. A few minutes ago I was awakened by the sound of a crash. I did what any red-blooded American woman would do: I woke up my husband. None-too-pleased, he humored me and searched the house. His search netted a wire record rack which had fallen from one of many piles of clutter around the house, namely, all the treasures belonging to my parents with which I could not part after they moved into assisted living.

My dad adores music. Consequently, he accumulated – I kid you not – 100,000 records. Records of all types and sizes. One summer when I was probably 10, I remember cataloguing the opera records, neatly printing all pertinent information on a little index card and filing it away in the small green metal box. I found those old boxes at the farm and recognized my juvenile penmanship. I wanted to bring them home with me, but I had to draw the line somewhere, right? I left them. But, oh my goodness, what I didn’t leave! What my family has packed into vehicles and brought home truly boggles the mind. We rented a storage unit. And still we are swimming in a sea of junk. Good junk, but junk none-the-less.

So what’s a girl to do? I don’t want to end up one of the sad cases on Hoarders. I want to be able to walk through my hallway on the way to my bedroom without disturbing a wire record rack which tauntingly waits until I settle into bed to crash to the floor. I don’t need any of the stuff I’ve brought from my parents’ house. Why do I want it so badly? Am I Linus clutching my security blanket? I can’t have my parents forever, so I want their stuff – is that it, Sigmund?

Whatever it is, it is beginning to drive me completely nuts. Last weekend I washed all the sparkly glassware I bought from the first house auction, Windexed my china cabinet shelves and lovingly placed each piece. It really looks beautiful. Of course, I had to remove other things that were occupying the space which leaves more boxes in my dining room. My china cabinet has become a microcosm of my wishes for my entire house. The ideal. To have a place for everything, and everything in its place. Ha ha ha! In this lifetime?

When my kids were younger I blamed the messes on them. I still blame most messes on them. I blame this old house with no closets or cupboards or drawers. I blame my husband for not building closets and cupboards and drawers. I blame my parents for making me love them so much that I can’t part with their things. Surely, I am not to blame. It wasn’t my hand at the auction that kept cropping up to bid on every single thing that my little heart desired, was it? And by the time the auction was winding down as we followed the auctioneer through the labyrinth of neat rows of merchandise I didn’t even have to raise my hand; the auctioneer merely looked at me as I nodded acceptance of more and more and MORE boxes of “treasures” which surely I couldn’t let go to a total stranger for a buck or two. Right? I mean that would have been crazy! Right?

Sadly, the evil little twist in this scary tale remains to be unveiled, for in a few weeks we’re having another sale – the contents of the barn. Each day my brothers unearth more really cool stuff. Really cool stuff which I have no recollection of ever having seen. Really cool stuff that surely may follow me home. Anybody have a straight jacket and blindfold I can borrow for the big day?

Copyright 2010 Maureen Locher

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