Parting with “I Wish I Was”

Nothing gets me in get-rid-of-stuff mode quicker than being unable to move because of too much clutter or having something threaten to fall on my head.  This was the state of our storage shed a couple of weeks ago as I tried to put the last of our Christmas decorations away.   It seems there are two basic approaches to storage space use: 1) a place for everything and everything in its place so that you can find and get to everything with minimal obstruction, or 2) cram whatever into the first available space nearest to the door and when you can’t find or get to what you need buy another one.  These two approaches are as compatible as oil and water – at least for the one who subscribes to approach number one.

Frustration mounted as I found myself having to move a lot of stuff from one place to another in order to put one thing away.  As this happened repeatedly I found myself getting aggravated (well, actually – mad).  It’s amazing how focused I become and how much I can accomplish in a short time when I’m irritated (mad).  After wrestling with several out-of-place items I looked around the overstuffed storage shed filled with things we haven’t used for years and thought, “it’s time to part with this “I wish I was” paraphernalia.  Even though it has been pared down over the years, some remnants still remain.  Remnants of things we dreamed of doing, planned to do or used to do but probably will never do again.

The “I wish I was a mother of six” box of home-school curriculum and baby clothes  (I guess I’m holding out for grandchildren.)

The ancient “I wish I was still camping tent.” (Reality check.  I do miss camping, but not in a tent!)

“I wish I was a Tour de France bicyclist.” (How many helmets does one really need?)

“I wish I was an expert home remodeler.” (No one in our family knows how to use this tool.)

“I wish I were partying with friends on our immaculate, summer-decorated back yard patio.” (The weeds are winning, our patio table got crushed by a tree, but I think I can repurpose these cute paper lanterns.)

“I wish I were sitting on the beach with my sweetheart” (Even if we go to the beach once a year we don’t sit much.)

“I wish I could still fit into these clothes.” (I will again someday, really.)

I find it hard to eradicate all items that were part of something that made special memories for our family – like raising our daughter or camping.  We used to have a lot of camping equipment and have reduced it drastically one garage sale at a time, until now we just have our well-used tent (which I have used a couple of times in recent years).  Periodically I reevaluate and realize, okay I can completely let go of this now.

There are a lot of things that I think would be nice to do, but I have to be honest with myself and figure out what I really want to do enough to actually do it.  Am I really going to learn to use that roto-zip?  Do I really want to reupholster another chair?  No, not really.  Sometimes my quest to de-clutter is blocked by the niggling fear that I might need that thing I got rid of and then I’ll experience regret.  This has happened, but only a couple of times, like when I accidentally sold the remote control to our fireplace in a garage sale.  Ninety-eight percent of the time I never miss what I’ve sold or given away.

The good news is I didn’t break anything or get knocked unconscious that day in the storage shed. I can also check off “reorganize the storage shed” from my summer to do list.  It is quite freeing to realize when something has served its purpose and move forward.  An item that is no longer needed can be passed on for someone else’s benefit.  An activity can be enjoyed as a memory and new forms of enjoyment can be found for the current season of life.  Being able to part with what has become clutter from the past frees me to embrace the present.

Now, time to tackle the bedroom closet.



Toyota Winds


Chase the umbrella
As it tumbles down the shore,
Fly down the dunes
Then climb up to fly some more.

Feel a stinging on your legs
As the wind whips up the sand,
Build memories
Even better than you planned.

Go fly a kite
‘Till it tires out your arms,
Watch surfers dodge
The mighty ocean’s harms.

Walk against the wind
As it nearly blows off your hair
Smile when your little one says,
“It’s like a Toyota out there!”

Time Twister

Her mom was forty-eight,

And she was thirty-one,

Now 31 seems long ago,

And 48 seems young.

I came across these numbers,

And had to do the math,

I found its not unusual,

For it too is my path.

Forty-eight’s just a few years away,

And thirty-one is ten,

Now will seem young as 31,

When I am that age then.


How hold was the author when this poem was written?


Adventures in Kitty Sitting

The four-legged black ninja phantom menaces have worn themselves out and are scattered about the room in three furry piles.  One on the back of a chair, one in the window sill, the other curled up and purring beside me.

My daughter discovered the opportunity to foster kittens for a rescue shelter and thought that would be a fun project while home from college this summer.  After filling out the required paperwork, interviewing at the agency and touring their facility we brought home our first small charges.  Three 12-week-old kittens needing to be socialized and their health monitored and maintained until they are ready for adoption into a permanent home.  In this case just two to three weeks.

In just one week they’ve gone from hiding out under the bed to scurrying wildly throughout the house like the keystone cops.  They are all black and difficult to tell apart, but we’ve gotten to know them.  Some cats are called “Tuxedos” because they are mostly black with a white chest.  These have a marking  more like  a clerical collar.  They each have a small white patch on their neck that you can’t really see until you lift up their chin.

Finn was the most rambunctious and fearless from the beginning.  He is also the most affectionate and readily finds a warm lap to curl up in.  This has not made my resident cat, Raleigh, happy at all.  He usually sits in my lap and sometimes even watches TV with me.  Now he walks by and looks at me as if I’m a traitor.

Fergus has the most beautiful gold eyes, the softest fur and the quietest demeanor.  I think if I were inclined to keep one of them (which I’m not) he would be my choice, he doesn’t get in as much trouble as the other two.

Molly is the most shy but just as adventurous as Finn.  It is a little hard to determine if her unwillingness to be picked up is from fear or typical female independence.  I think it is more the latter.  She is very smart.  She quickly learned that she could have human beings running around looking quite ridiculous if she just runs under the dining room table and moves from one side to the other among the chair legs.  When all were playing with a fishing pole toy (again, the favorite of Raleigh, he is not happy to share) she managed to carry the whole thing;  fish, line and pole under the table, ending the game for everyone else (the humans found this very funny).

This is my daughter’s project but now she has a summer job and I’m home for the summer.  So, I spend a good portion of my day keeping Molly off the kitchen counter, Finn and Molly off the curtains, and all three of them from scratching on the furniture.  It’s nice when they take a nap.  I draw the line at litterbox duty!

Of course there is some work and inconvenience involved.  But the perks are worth it.  There is something very comforting about having a little bundle of life choose to come and sit on or beside you, nuzzle their head into your hand and loudly purr as if to say, “I think you’re a nice person, I really like you.”