The General is on a roll to orchestrate change. She is taking seriously her perceived need for us to get rid of junk. The only problem is that: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. So when it comes to the “junk police”, who cast the deciding vote on what to keep and what to toss?
When I got home from work yesterday, I came into the house through the garage. Walking into the kitchen, I saw another box of what is destined to be hand-me-downs to go somewhere. In 48 ½ years of marriage, we’ve never had a garage sale. For the record, we are not going to start now. It is too convenient to donate anything and everything to a charity. The stuff the General is boxing up to get rid of is perfectly good stuff. The problem is we don’t use it, we don’t need it and the General no longer wants it.
Take for example, a set of a dozen clear glasses resembling the shape of bamboo. Thirty-eight years ago a friend had served us soft drinks in the middle of a Saturday afternoon out of glasses like the ones we now have in our kitchen cabinets. We thought they were neat looking glasses at the time and we purchased a set of six to give to our parents.
I guess what goes around eventually comes around because when we were sorting out the contents of my parents home after they no longer had need for it, we were once again the owners of a set of six clear bamboo shaped glasses. At some point in the past couple of years, the General’s mother (with encouragement and help from the General) starting the process of downsizing some of her stuff. In the process, we once again became the proud owners of the set of six bamboo shaped glasses we had given her parents. That explains how we came to have twelve.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The glasses were purchased at a shop somewhere in the Northwest part of Austin. The friend who had served us drinks out of the glasses like the ones we subsequently purchased was with us at the time. I don’t recall the name of the shop or the exact location, but it was an upscale venue.
Despite their attractiveness, the glasses don’t hold a lot. I don’t know how many ounces they accommodate, but it can’t be much. They are not large enough to be good for a glass of iced tea. So far, the set of 12 glasses has escaped the first cut, but I see the handwriting on the wall. They are as good as gone even if they are still in the cabinet. From my perspective, they aren’t hurting anything and they don’t take up a lot of space. Why get rid of them?
Getting back to my entering the house through the garage, the General requested that I go to the front door and look at the house from that perspective. Walking toward the front door, I quickly scanned the bookcase on my left. Had she tossed things from it? I didn’t notice anything, but I may need to look more closely. The other night she wanted to “cut a deal with me”. She would get rid of a piece of Fiesta dinnerware for every old book I was willing to toss. So far, we are 0 – to – 0 of incurring any loses in either of those two areas.
Getting to the front door and turning around as though I was viewing our home through the glass front door, the view was stunning. Miracle of miracles, the plantation shutters in the living area were all open. The view out the back windows is one of the things I most like about our home. You walk up to the front door and you look directly across the living area into the wild blue yonder.
The General subsequently gave me a guided tour of looking behind cabinet doors. She’s been busy and she’s scratched an itch to organize and arrange stuff. If there is a downside to that, all I can say is closely akin to a prayer: “God help me the next time I have to empty the dishwasher”. She’ll anticipate finding the dishes placed back in the cabinets in the same arrangement.
I eventually made it to my home office. She wasn’t far behind. She came in and sat down in one of the two across from my desk. As she entered the small room she was flanked by Kevin and Andrea’s two labs who also were coming to spend time with granddad. They are big dogs. The simply sat or laid on the floor as though they would be party to the conversation that would subsequently take place.
The General looked at me and said: “You have a hard time getting rid of stuff don’t you?” Immediately, a light bulb came on in my head. I may be slow, but I understood what was taking place. This was an intervention of sorts. The General and the two dogs were present to help move me from denial to facing the reality that I need to make some changes. My issues weren’t drug or alcohol related, but I obviously have a problem and a fix was on the way.
The General was leading the intervention: “We’ve got too much furniture. What if we got rid of the two antique pieces that we bought at an auction in Midland?” My response was immediate: “What if we didn’t?” I added: “The two pieces are unique antiques and neither are crowding our home”.
I’ve always heard that you should never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to before you ask it in a courtroom. Our conversation wasn’t a legal proceeding. It was more like a “Come To Jesus” meeting with the intent of providing me notification that change was on the way. An “altar call” of sorts was coming. Trust me, if the General mistakenly thinks our home is too cluttered, she’ll opt to find a way. The question she asked and didn’t know the answer to was: “What do you want to get rid of to make thing less cluttered?”
I started to make a tongue-in-cheek response to her question. You can only imagine what I might have been thinking. This time I used prudent judgement. Instead of making a tongue-in-cheek response, I opted to play it safe. She was serious. I should be as well. I responded: “What about all the stuff we have stored in the bookcases in our bedroom? Open any of those doors covering the bottom shelves and they are crowded with stuff we never use. I don’t even know what all is in there. Lets get rid of that! Throw it all away.”
Problem solved? – No so much! She responded: “That is all my stuff. Lets get rid of some of your stuff”. Therein lies the problem. The only kink in the armor is that it takes motivation and a desire to alter the status quo. I’m not there yet, but I sense I’m on my way (one way or the other).
Martin Luther King Day is a holiday for me. That means, we’ve got a long weekend. Without any disrespect intended, let me say: “The General also has a dream” and I suspect on MLK Day, I’ll be involved in helping fulfill her dream by un-filling our house.
All My Best!
Apple Computer, Inc.
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