Monday, September 6, 2010

Would you like some salmonella with that backrub, baby?

This weekend two wonderful, fabulous friends of mine drove all the way up to Mulletville to help me pack. There was just one problem: They were rearing to go; I was not. Yes, there’s a for sale sign in front of my house and yes, we are moving, but the distance between getting ready to move and actually starting to move is, like, from Connecticut to Tokyo.

They were persistent fuckers, though. They grabbed cardboard boxes, markers and tape and attacked my built-ins. As they packed, the questions started:

“Do you really need a bottle of sand…

…Christmas napkins from 2006?

…a Zagat’s Restaurant Guide from 2005?

After a while, I started to feel like I was on that TV show Hoarders, and that I was being called out. I admit it: I’m a crammer. If I don’t know what to do with something, I cram it into a drawer or closet and I never look back.

I happen to be a neat crammer though. If you ask me, it’s an underappreciated skill. Not everyone can cram without unsightly overflow. My cram never bulges. It’s well contained and often well organized. I even throw in scented candles so it smells nice.

Who’s better than me?

My friends weren’t buying it. They set aside a box and labeled it “junk.” Good-bye sand in a bottle.

Then: “Mrs. Mullet. What.Is.This?”

“Aw! My Great Aunt Maryann made that for my wedding. She made it.”

"Clearly." They rifled through it. “It’s empty.”

“I never got around to putting pictures in it,” I lied. The truth is, the album always reminded me of a pretty toilet bowl seat cover—the kind that would itch your ass if you had to sit on it. The album would never hold pictures. It might, however, look nice in my bathroom...

“Toss it!” they chanted.

“But she had arthritis when she made it! And she was half blind. Look at the lace and beads! It’s a labor of love!”

“Toss it!”

They were animals, I tell you. Like something out of Lord of the Flies.

I didn’t put up as much of a fight over this sign:

Though it is catchy. Or this, a bottle of massage oil Chuck bought me 10 years ago, when the word massage was actually part of our bedroom repertoire.

The cork top is crusty and crumbling, and there’s algae on the herbs. It should keep the Connecticut Department of Public Health busy for a while.

When my friends left at 7, I was exhausted—and we'd only packed up half of the living room. I think part of my exhaustion (the part unrelated to working full-time, having a toddler, being pregnant and watching Jersey Shore) comes from knowing that no matter how well I purge my own home, there's a new house waiting for me that is full of even more stuff.

See, my parents are crammers too. My clothes from fifth grade are waiting for me when we move into my father's house. Remember, he's the same man who hid the legless people and the lesbian in his basement for 30 years. And my mother, in addition to giving us furniture, is also giving me 30 years of stuff she's crammed into boxes. Like my Bunsen Burner license from eighth grade.

I can't seem to escape myself. Literally. This move out of Mulletville is supposed to be about new beginnings; instead it's like watching "The Life of Mrs. Mullet." It's kind of creepy. I don't want to be Albert Finney at the end of Big Fish just yet.

Oy vey.

What about you? Are you a crammer or a purger? Did you inherit the trait? Would you like the weed sign? It's really cute...bought it in Colorado...


The Captain's Wife said...

I am so not a crammer. When we moved into our house in 2007 I tossed EVERYTHING in our starage room from our apartment. In retrospect, there were things I wish I had kept now, but oh well.

In our house now, the only things I "hoard" or "cram" are my daughter's clothes and toys. My attack is a kids clothing and toy store! I will part with them, after I have 1 more baby. But it would be just my luck that I would get rid of it all and then have another girl!

Carebear said...

I am completely, 100% a purger! I get such a thrill from throwing stuff fact in one of my gleeful purges I threw out our taxes which had not been mailed in yet...the hoarder (my husband) was not happy.

The Mother said...

Purger. I do not keep anything (and that includes the lovely kid school artwork/handiwork/gifts/junk) except cookbooks and fabric.

Hubby hated that when the kids were little. He sorta gets it now, 4 kids later. That junk can take over your life.

That said, even a non-hoarder can accumulate a lot of stuff in a house after a few years. The IDEA of moving exhausts me. Chin up.

Anonymous said...

I am a definite purger - I love, love, LOVE throwing things away. I use stuff till it is worthless and then it goes into the recycle bin or trash - whichever is appropriate. I do keep photographs - it would kill me to dispose of those - everything else is fair game - let the purging begin!

Pricilla said...

My hubby is the hoarder. Me, I toss.
I can't stand clutter.

♥Georgie♥ said...

well i think all that stuff are/is treasures! so i guess i am a hoarder!

Catootes said...

Neat cramming is what I call creative visualization. When we packed up the bedrooms to do the renovation, I couldn't believe the stuff that came from the bookcase shelves or the closets.
We're still in the process of moving the bedroom stuff back into the house and I must toss several bags of stuff that has been hiding under a bed or in the depths of the closet out into the trash a week. I don't know how it all fit!

You have nice friends if their coming to help pack. Do they help move stuff too?

Lindy said...

I'm a hoarder when it comes to my kid - I have every practice letter page she's ever done. Otherwise, I purge.

Good luck with the move!

Jenni said...

I'm not a crammer, but my cleaning people are. They cram shit in book cases and drawers, and when I finally get around to purging I'm shocked that all this shit is still with me. My husband is a crammer too. Drives me nuts.

Mama Badger said...

I'm a crammer until I move. Then it just goes. I get annoyed at having to cram every once in a while, though, and then beware. Nothing to remain.

I've moved so often since my parents died that I really had to decide which things from my childhood really meant something to me. What would I want my kids inherit.

Jen said...

I purge every time I move and because I move to smaller homes each time it is getting to the point where I can't keep anything. Which is a good thing because I would be a hoarder if I had the room.

Definitely a toilet seat cover.

Frogs in my formula said...

So, um, no one wants the dope sign??

c said...

I'm a crammer. And a pile-er. And we're moving in 6 months or so. I'm already having anxiety attacks about husband throwing away something 'I NEED' that's been in a tote in the basement for 5 years. It's not looking good.

Anonymous said...

I purge, Husband hoards. Once I threw some of his stuff away when he wasn't home and I still feel guilty about it...except for all of his clothes that I threw out in 2008 when he went camping with his troop of Scouts. The clothes were from the 70's and he was still wearing them in 2008!!!

SmartBear said...

I'm a purger....married to a crammer/hoarder. The trashcan is a constant source of arguing in my house. I throw it in the trash and he digs it out.
That photo album is PRICELESS!

Mrsbear said...

I am so a crammer. Rather than make a tough call, I will always revert to sliding something in a drawer. My husband is all about unsightly, teetering piles of stuffs. My stuff is tucked away neatly, until I'm confronted with it, then I will just blanket toss everything, because really, who needs their 1st grade report card from 1982? Nobody. Ever.

SLColman said...

I am a crammer but my husband is a purger... Well he is a purger about my stuff but not his! LOL

Keely said...

Purger, married to a pile-er. He doesn't cram or hoard, he just...piles. It's fucking irritating.

And no, I don't want the dope sign. Thanks though ;)

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