Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Unpacking my rat

I don't really think of myself as a packrat. I like throwing things away. I find a certain satisfaction in using the last of the dental floss, or laundry detergent, or mint chocolate chip ice cream, and disposing of the container. I like removing clutter from my visual space, and an almost empty bottle is just a nuisance. (The same can be said for an almost empty carton of ice cream. I mean, what's the point?) The trouble is, while I may not be a packrat, I am sentimental, thrifty, and just crafty enough to be dangerous.

As far as sentimentality goes, if someone I care about put time, thought, or money into something I now own, I must keep it. It would be ungracious not to, right? I mean how would my cuddly sister, Teresa the Bookie*, feel about me tossing this note (circa 1992)? Believe me, you don't want to cross Teresa the Bookie. When she says cuddle, you cuddle!

By the same token, if you have ever sent me a card, or passed me a funny note during class, or (here's the kicker) written me a letter, I probably still have it. Witness the following, penned by my sixth grade pal, Lidia the Hammer.*

Boss,

The soc test was sort of easy. I finnished in 15 min. How about you?
The math was easy. I was done at 10:45. How about you? What do you think you got?
I don't really like anyone now. Why were you wondering? Do you like anyone? I don't really care if you do or don't because you won't tell me anyway.
Let's be in a fight all day. Write notes and at the end of the day we'll make up, OK!?

START NOW.

I don't like hanging around short people. You should grow a little! (You really have grown taller!) Even if you're almost as tall as Catie you're still short! Grow UP ^ a little!

Write back or else!

Enemy,

Lidia

PS: Don't tell anyone we're pretending


The note is folded into a self-enclosed square and marked "DROL," which, if I recall correctly, stands for Don't Read Out Loud. I'm sure I didn't.

Even when I'm not sentimentally attached, frugality keeps me from disposing of the baby swing, the exersaucer, and the velvet Elvis painting currently gathering dust in my basement. I might need them again later. And I wouldn't want to buy them again. Have you ever priced a velvet Elvis? Those things are expensive!

But it's the craftiness that really gets me into trouble. There are stacks and stacks of things that I would like to throw away, but I can't because they're still useful. If not to me, then to someone, somewhere. I'm practical enough to know that I won't make a quilt out of my worn out stonewashed jeans, but somebody else might. And when the need arises, I want to be there with my denim booty (the pirate kind, not the rear end kind). My frayed and faded Lees may be just the thing to fill that last square.

In addition to the fabric, there's ribbon, paper, silk flowers, pipe cleaners, and assorted glues and guns. It's not a crazy jumbled mess. Most of these things are carefully categorized and labeled. (The box with the lovely iridescent green glass I thought about making into a mosaic is clearly marked "broken vase.") Ask me for something and I can tell you right where it is. The trouble is there's just so much of it. I know I'll never get to all these projects, but I can't just abandon the raw materials to the trash heap, can I? Who would look for shards of broken glass there?

Finally, there are the things I've kept by accident. The 1998 BYU Winter Semester Course Schedule falls into this category. I found it a few days ago at the bottom of a box, the contents of which I assume were dumped directly from a drawer the last day of winter semester 1998. Corresponding, as it usually does, with other major life changes, moving always seems to take more time that I have. And inevitably, I end up just throwing things anywhere, planning (of course!) to sort it all out when I get where I'm going.

Ahem.

And so, my basement and my closets and my boxes and boxes of letters make it look very much like I am a packrat. But I promise you, I am NOT. And I'm going to prove it by getting rid of it all. Well, most of it. OK, a lot. So if any of you are in the market for some lovely shards of iridescent green glass, just let me know.

*Names have been changed.

19 comments:

Peanut said...

It's nice to see that I made your "to do" list. Even if it was for a beating. Did you pick up Teresa the Bookie as instructed?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you didn't have Teresa the Bookie clean you out over the summer when she passed by. She's good at it! Mom

Tarimisu said...

Hey, Diana, how about this note from you, I guess it was your senior year??? You typed it to me in typing class (type-o's are original):
"Hey Amy!

"Yes! this is your lucky day again! You get another ypye
written note from me. Consiter it an oomack or something. But don't expect correct punctiuation of spelling or typing bexause I'm all worn out from learning the mmmmmmm and the xxxxxxxkeys today . . . . Ahhhhh the stress.

"but enough about my typing skills (wich aer ovbiioulsy raf pusreior ot aynnoe else in the wrold. Er more sessions by sleeving.)

"Remind Sonnet to ask Mr. Hillman if they eat dogs on saturn--and also teellher to call my mom. Thanks!

"Any way Joel (ahhh! the J-word!) says you are just like misty, but prabably not consiously. Ikeep telling him he's wrong, but he's too
silly* to listen!!!!! (someday I'll figeur out how to use this typewriter, and how to speel to !)

"The beeeeeeell's fixin to rign. Sorry nothing of content today."

"(Hanwritten:)
<3
Di
P.S. say silly* to Casey for me!"

Not only do I have this note, but I have it at my fingertips! Scary. The "*" have a secret meaning, which I will tell you in an e-mail. The rest of my notes and letters from you and others are in a rubbermaid contianer in my attic. Rubbermaids are handy for such items. I whittle down little by little. I'll have to share my system with you sometime.
This post is great! Thanks!

Boss said...

Oh Amy! You make me laugh and smile and giggle. First because of that note (does that mean I make me laugh?), but mostly because you have it--and at your fingertips. I look forward to being reminded of the secret meaning of "silly." Also, you must share your system with me, because the boxes and boxes of letters (including many from you!). . . well, I still want to keep them, despite my resolution to declutter. But if they are coming with us to Akron, they must be organized! Help!

Boss said...

Mom - I meant to get the basement organized when T the B was here, but we got distracted. I'm not sure what happened. I'm planning to snatch her up this summer if I can, before she departs to parts unknown. (Maybe I should run this by her?) Hey, Teresa! How 'bout it? Also, bring your sister.

Boss said...

Sonnet - Did I ever get to that beating? Lidia wants to know if she should take care of it. Also, do you know who Shannon is? That's the only name on the list I don't recognize from seminary class, and I added it myself. (All the other names were submitted by Schmatrick Schmunsford, I think.) So while amusing, this note is a bit of a mystery to me.

As for Teresa the Bookie, I assume I picked her up, since I still have both kneecaps. But I can't say I recall specifically. Teresa?

Tarimisu said...

OK, I'll get those tips out to you! But first, please do not ever forget to call my by rightful name, which is Alice the Shark!

Peanut said...

I was wondering about "Shannon" too. Perhaps someone who you needed to beat in behalf of someone else? (Also, I agree that I think Schmatrick wrote the rest) I think my favorite note I got from you went something like thisz:
"Dear Sonnet, If [Clarice the Greaser]* asks about a time when we were kids (I was 5 you were 3) and we had an argument about how air was made--you said God made it, I said plants did by photosynkysis, Mom said we were both right because God made trees. It happened. Thanks. Diana p.s. I'm looking forward to beating you up after school, how about you?"
Ok, I took a little bit of artistic liberty in recounting the details of the note, but mostly it's correct. I hope I still have that note among my stash of saved things in AZ.
*No, Clarice the Greaser was not her real name nor was this nickname used in the original note

Boss said...

I wish I'd used Clarice the Greaser in the original note!

Taffy said...

Ok, so I have tons of letters still in their INSANE decorated envelopes. I also have plently of decaying notes from middle school and a box of old boyfriend letters. I think we would all benifit from Amy's system-- So spill it already 'cause I'm fixn to sell my house too.

Paul said...

Reading through these names (Teresa the Bookie, Alice the Shark, Clarice the Greaser, Lidia the Hammer) and comparing them with the names that Dani came up with for one of her forums, I have to ask. Does everyone who grows up in Arkansas learn to make mafia names? Is it just the ones that later move away? Just the women?

Inquiring minds want to know.

dani said...

I think Paul's trying to insinuate that Arkansas breeds the Mob! ;)

Boss said...

Arkansas probably does breed the mob. It's full of all sorts of interesting secrets. But, sadly, I cannot claim any mob-naming prowess of my own. I used this name generator:

http://gangstaname.com/mafia_name.php

Have at it, Alley Trash Bruno!

dani said...

Aw... I came up with mine on my own... 8o|

But, strangely enough, you and I have something else in common besides our mafia naming abilities/likes... we were both NOT born in Arkansas but graduated from school there and then MOVED away. :)

Tarimisu said...

http://www.mindspring.com/~bhusted/gang.html
Having been born and raised in Arkansas (though I, too, moved away), I probably should not be posting this website, but . . . check it out. All your mafia suspicions are true, I'm afraid.

Christina said...

I think these habits must be genetic. I think the Henrichsen's are all related to MacGuyver. When I lived with Sonnet she pull the most... 'interesting' things out of storage and sure enough we would find a use for it.

OK Henrichsen's it's a test: What can you make with a 1 foot square of aluminum foil, a clean diaper, a toothpick and a new tube of chapstick???

Boss said...

Hi Christina! An excellent challenge!

I’m not sure that I qualify as MacGuyver-like because my creations always tend to be more decorative than life-saving. But here’s what I’ve come up with.

(These instructions assume access to scissors, scotch tape, and a blow torch. If these items are not available ... improvise!)

Aluminum Hurricane Lamp* Instructions:

1. Use the toothpick to punch decorative patterns into the aluminum foil.
2. Cut three circles approximately six inches in diameter from diaper. Stack circles, using tape to stabilize. Use scissors to bore a small hole (approximately the size of a chapstick tube) in the center of the stack.
3. Remove lid from chapstick. Use dial to expose about 1/4 inch of chapstick. Insert tube into diaper disk.
3. Wrap punched foil into a cylinder around the diaper disk base. Tape foil edges in place. Secure cylinder to base with tape.
4. Use blow torch to light chapstick.
5. Enjoy.

Note: use cherry or mint chapstick for a lovely scent while burning. Also note, any clean, disposable diaper may be used for this project, but flame retardant diapers work best.


*For decorative use only. Not intended for use during hurricanes or other weather events. Author not responsible for fire damage, puncture wounds, or other injury resulting from this project.

Christina said...

Like I told Sonnet earlier today -- if I was stranded on a deserted island I'd want to be there with your family because in about 5 minutes I'm sure we'd be flying home in a plane made of coconuts, snails and palm leaves (or something like that...)

Sue said...

Hey, you're not supposed to know that I have such a long career as a bookie, much less reveal it to the world of blog readers! Did you actually pick me up so I could cuddle with you? I hope so, because otherwise I'll have to send my people after you.