Sunday, April 06, 2008

A family of packrats

Jeff and Whitney came by yesterday to start helping to clear out the basement. We have been asking the kids to come go through their crap for ages. Finally, Jeff has decided to do it. I think he has about as much crap he never wanted to get rid of than our daughter, Mary. Our oldest son, Jason isn't so much of a packrat. He only hordes things that have some kind of use to him. But to the rest of us, it is "sentimental packratting". For me, I want to keep every little thing that belonged to the kids through the years, and Jon is a crazy packrat who doesn't even want to part with old paint and motor oil. So, because of our never wanting to part with anything, the house is full of "stuff" (as George Carlin so nicely put it).

Over the years we have accumulated an enormous amount of "stuff". Boxes and boxes of stuff. Going through boxes yesterday we ran across little "doggie biscuit" awards that schools give kids to get them to do things they should want to do for the sheer enjoyment of it. Like Reading. They got rewards for reading. Do any of you remember "Book-It'? It was a campaign sponsored by Pizza Hut to get kids to read. If they read so many books, they got a free personal pan cheese pizza. All they had to do was have parents sign off that they read such and such number of books. They were trusting parents to be honest. I always was. But then again, our kids loved to read and so they got a lot of free pizzas, and a pin every time they got a free pizza and all the pins were packratted away in boxes to save, for what...who knows.

We found medals, buttons, pins, tags, patches, trophies with no names on them, certificates for everything but going to the bathroom. Broken toys, dried up pens, rotted pencils and all sorts of crap. Some crap has very sentimental value like pouches of baby teeth, soccer pictures made into baseball cards, drawings, notes, letters from friends, all sorts of stuff. Even a picture of an annoying friend of Jeff's who we always joke about to this day...the infamous Joe Petry.

J & W were here for more than two hours and filled three big black garbage bags full and emptied several boxes of crap and look around down there and it looks worse than it did before they started because now there are boxes out of place, stacks of "treasures" to be re-boxed to packrat away for the next ten to twenty years.

We are doing this now because we need to get the basement finished. We are finishing the bathroom down there, want to put in a kitchenette and finish tiling the floor, finish putting up walls, etc. But in order to be able to do that, the crap has to go.

We would get done faster if we didn't have to go through this separation anxiety with each and every item we take out of a box.

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