Stuff…so much stuff.

Our weather today was in the upper 60s, lower 70s, and as I drove home there were sporadic, momentary showers, enough to get the car wet, but not enough to rinse off all the dust. Tomorrow and Friday are going to be cold as a witch’s bed, and I am not looking forward to it. Should I ask Tony to help me excavate the sweaters tonight? Or shall I live without them until the weekend? I think I have enough warm clothing to last me until then, but I don’t want to risk it…maybe I will go out there myself, with a hard hat. Our balcony closet is small, but thank God for it, or we’d be up to our eyeballs in stuff.

I am guilty of Clean Sweep-style purging of clothes and things every year, and I think this bothers Tony. He is of the “We’ll Need It Someday” school of thought, while I myself am a recovering pack rat. I kept everything, and am still guilty of keeping many a useless item in the hopes that I would use it again, especially noteworthy being that vat of cloth hanging out in my mother’s garage that I just can’t bear to throw away, even though I haven’t sewn in years. But we buy so much that I think we should get rid of the doesn’t-fits and out-of-styles, which for me is more important than for him. But I still see so many things in his closet that he has never, nor ever will wear, that I know he can’t bear to get rid of. And I have to make a confession. I threw out lots of David’s stuff, and he never even noticed. I never threw out anything of value, mind you, just the thousand t-shirts from credit card companies, or the collection of rusty paper clips, or the many out of date cell phones that were being kept because of what, their expired cool value. See, I never planned on leaving the country and throwing stuff away wholesale, like so many of his friends did, and so I threw away bit by bit, the broken, the horribly ugly, the uncomfortable. I lived with a man who kept 3 BMW tires and rims that he kept because they were cool. We had no BMW. We didn’t have a car that those tires would fit on. We had no fourth tire. So there they sat, forever, collecting dust and taking up psychic space.

And so when I see my husband’s polyester FOB getup, or his holy socks, I think, Now if I could just get rid of that without him noticing…

And likely he wouldn’t notice. But for Tony, I harbor a deep and abiding respect. This is a man who does what he says. His word is gold. If I ask him to do something, it’s done at the soonest possible date. And done right the first time. No need to follow him around like he’s a toddler, cleaning up his messes with a whisk broom and dustpan. No need for his boss to bang on our bedroom window to wake him up for work. He will not be late to our immigration appointment, was not late to our wedding, and he will not mess up because he wasn’t being responsible. His mistakes are honest and human, and I have GOT to get that straight. For me, throwing out an old box of plastic forks and knives was a great idea, free up space in the cabinet for other things. But for him, they are useful and will eventually be needed. I acceded to this decision, just moved them elsewhere.

I am making room, not only for new things, but also for MY things. Like the hundreds of glasses and plates and blankets and things that I have been saving up, that I thought precious enough to pack when I moved from Oklahoma, things I saved money to buy. But they’ve been in those boxes for God, two years now, what’s another year? But when I think of all that I have that I can’t find…I should go through those boxes in Mama’s garage and get rid of a bunch of those things, but since I moved here in such a rush, what’s there was already pared down. And I have gone through them again and again over the last two years, taken out essentials, lovingly repacked the indigo vases, the cobalt cups, the things it hurts me to think about. I am not being childish, as in “Oh, my poor stuff”, but rather I tend to get resentful when I think of the plastic forks taking up space that my cobalt glasses could be taking up. As if I didn’t have bigger problems, as if it were a life-threatening issue. So I wait. I moved into his apartment, so I live among his things. If I had gotten a respectable job and been out of this enormous mountain of debt David and I created, I could have had him move into MY apartment.

I sense that my desire to get new silverware, grown-up silverware, is not going to be well-received. I would then want to demote the current calico silverware we use in preference to the gleaming, substantial, smooth Torun. Like I have craftily done in other areas, replacing the mundane with the refined. My home is my sanctuary, and the grace notes of soft sheets and fluffy matching towels and soft lighting are the ways that I make our nest more comfortable. I don’t like plastic plants overmuch, but here they are. Now…I don’t have a beef with the plastic plants insomuch as I want to take over and make this place look like I want it to. He always receives my changes well, and he loves the comforter cover and the high-count sheets, and the bolster pillows (who can live without those?!?!?) but he takes exception to my nesting when I remove something of his. So I have to be very subtle.

This is a struggle known all over the United States. So universal is this that there is even a Public Storage commercial where the woman is looking around a bachelor pad saying things like, “We won’t need this place after we’re married” and “My apartment is much nicer anyway” when the dude opens his mouth and asks what they would do with all of his stuff, and it cuts to an imaginary scene with his stuff piled high in the street, the fiancee going at it with a flamethrower. That’s not me, I don’t hate all of his stuff, but I feel the same homemaking nesting feeling, like I am responsible for making our life more comfortable and refined, slowly, piece by piece. That could probably be helped more by picking up every once in a while instead of sitting on my ass writing about plastic forks. But you know it’s weird that I would rather buy a set of fluffy towels than a fluffy sweater. Things have changed.

I am not used to a man who doesn’t need to be babysat. It’s a wholly new experience to have a husband who is honestly as responsible, sometimes more so, than I am. I am used to disappointment, lateness, forgotten appointments, laziness, slights through lack of attention, and a miserable lack of intention, little to no support. God, the more I think of it, the luckier I feel. I still jump to conclusions, and assume something important was forgotten, approaching so many situations with the resigned, put-upon, martyred air of a woman who has always had to hold up two ends of the bargain, until Tony surprises me with the news that he has done something important that I myself have forgotten.

Damn, that feels good. So,…plastic forks, anyone?