Does She Need Professional Help ? Maybe Not. The Problem Could Be Me.


So, what do you do when it’s too wet to plow? Actually, I wouldn’t know. We live in the country, but we’re not country. What’s true for me is also true for the General. She spent most of last week in Odessa visiting her mother. Did I mention that it rained while she was there? Apparently, it rained a lot. I saw the news release that it was so wet in Odessa that trailer houses (oops, I mean mobile homes) actually floated down the street. Treva and her mother were oblivious to the threat of rising water. Of course, they knew that the rain water level in the circle drive at her mother’s home was impassable on one of the days she was there, but they didn’t see it as a major problem. They simply chose to stay indoors on that day. In fact, for the six days the General was gone, they mostly were free to come and go.

So where did they go? They mostly went to Goodwill to drop off donated clothing and an assortment of other things that Treva convinced her mother was no longer needed. Obviously, the General pulled rank on her mother and suggested (subtly demanded is probably more accurate) that “this and that” had outlived their usefulness. Of course, the General’s mother also has a mind of her own. I can assure you or “adult protective services” for that matter, that Treva’s mom did not experience undue force to part with anything. My mother-in-law continues to maintain the same level of tenacity that she obviously was responsible for passing on with her DNA to the General. I just wished I could have been a humming bird hovering in the background to observe the interaction. It would have been a study in the “battle of the minds”.

I guess everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning. While Treva was at her mother’s home, she busied herself cleaning out her mother’s closets. Treva’s mother is very utilitarian. If she ever had it, she’s still has it. Trust me, that’s not so true any more. Over the past year and nine months that the General has been retired, she’s made at least five week-long trips to her mother’s mostly with the intent of throwing things away. I don’t know how many dumpster’s full of things of things got hauled off or the number of trips made to Goodwill to donate items. The General has been on a roll.

There is something about creating space that resonates with her being. Of course, the only way to create space in an existing home is to either add on or eliminate what’s being stored. She opted to do the later.

The General got home from Odessa late Sunday afternoon. I left for an out-of-town trip on Monday. Consequently, over the past week and a half, we’ve lived apart. Around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday night, she sent me a text message stating, “I wish you were home. I recognize if you were here you’d be sitting on the sofa sound asleep, but it would be nice to have you near anyway.” Wow! That’s pretty mushy, don’t you think?

When I got home yesterday evening, I noticed a large Dillard’s bag in my office. The bag previously had been in the floor of our closet. I found a sale at Dillard’s that was too good to pass up several weeks ago. Despite my good intentions to carefully hang everything newly purchased in my closet, I simply hadn’t gotten that far yet. My first thought on seeing the bag, “The General has opted to pull rank of me this week.” Her placing the filled bag of clothing in my office was a clear way to communicate, “Use it or lose it. It can’t remain on the floor ”. Yep, she was on a roll.

My next clue that something was amiss was when I went out to haul the trash down to the road for garbage pick-up this morning. There were an inordinate number of empty boxes in the garage. What was up with that? I backed tracked to ask the General if it was the intent for me to haul the boxes to the trash. She assured me that was not the case. She said we’d need the boxes to haul things to Goodwill. What did she have in mind? I was afraid to ask. Consequently, I didn’t.

I subsequently found the courage needed to at least go look at our closet. It reflected a complete make-over. There was absolutely nothing on the floor. The shelving was neatly lined with shoes. A quick look at my hanging clothes reflected that everything was in order. I initially had the fear that half of my suits might be missing. Honestly, how many people do you know that get an adrenaline rush from organizing a closet. The General obviously needs professional help. Either that or I do.

At some point before the evening was over, she asked, “Do you want to see what I’ve done in the other rooms?” There was only one acceptable answer. I followed her. When she opened a bedroom door, I was horrified. Everything had been removed from the closets. There were at least four Ralph Lauren comforter sets neatly stored in plastic bags sitting in the floor. They were in “like new condition”, but we obviously didn’t need them any longer and we didn’t have room to store them. They were going to Goodwill.

In fact, both bedrooms on the other end of our home were filled with neatly stacked items that were too good to throw away, but obviously not good enough to keep. Everything was going to Goodwill. The theme of her message was “out with the old and in with the new.” I was delighted to learn that Macey’s was having a sale on bath towels and it was time we refurbished our supply. She then showed me shelving that she thought she wanted for our bathroom, but wasn’t quite sure.

What’s a man suppose to do? The General obviously has too much free time on her hands. I wanted to say, “If you’d leave good enough alone, you wouldn’t need to go shopping.” Okay, I have enough self-preservation skills to know when it is in my best interest to simply say, “Yes Ma’am.”

Will things be better when she creates additional space in our home by getting rid of any number of things? “Only in the resources of her mind”, is my best guess. After all, everything was neatly stored in closets. But on the other hand, “What if we had guests who noticed our closets were too full?” It is a strange question, but the General’s obsession with cleaning out closets is also strange. It looks like I returned home in the nick of time. Who knows what she might have opted to part with had I stayed always longer.

If anybody would like to borrow the General, she’s found a new passion in life. She is a “creating space” kind of lady. Her organization skills are incredible and her resolve to get rid of everything one really doesn’t need appears resolute. If you could use those skills, I could use a break.

All My Best!



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