I dislike clutter. I admire homes that are organized and neat. I think I might have a secret fear of becoming a hoarder. I admit that I have thrown out my fair share of junk. When my father-in-law Mike comes over, he brings more newspapers and coffee cups with him than an active duty CIA analyst. At least one recycling bin is filled with all the things he leaves behind.
When we moved into our first house, the previous owner left behind so much stuff that I filled at least twenty-five industrial sized garbage bags. A representative from the Guinness World Book of Records drove by to do an assessment. The sanitation workers stood frozen admiring the sheer amount of curb-sized refuse. I think they were looking into other career options after all the heavy lifting and hauling away of Ms. Thompson’s left behind clutter.
Our friend and former next door neighbour Heather recently revealed that she thought I was an excessive vodka drinker because our blue-box was stuffed with empty bottles of the Russian potato elixir. Heather rescinded her views when she saw Helen’s husband stagger over across the street and deposit the empty bottles in our recycling bin. I have never liked vodka. I prefer single malt scotch with its rich bouquet. I will now deposit my empties in Stan’s blue box.
During Suzanne’s 40th birthday festivities, Heather confessed that she had thrown away at least ten tea towels when she was helping us get ready to move. The missing tea towels were a flashpoint for Suzanne who was convinced that I had thrown them out. They came up almost every time we had a difference of opinion. After a long day of sewing, cooking, canning, cleaning and washing mountains of dishes by hand, Suzanne only wanted a single tea towel that was nowhere to be found. It did not help my case that my mom would use Suzanne’s white face cloths to clean the floors, the garage walls and the barbeque grill.
I maintained my innocence for almost three long years to no avail. Given my propensity to clear away needless clutter, Suzanne concluded that I was a tea towel vigilante. She apologized right away when Heather issued her chocolate martini confession.
But Karen was not convinced by Heather’s display of contrite fabric remorse. Karen believes that I am addicted to throwing things out. This is not a fair assessment. I once threw out Karen’s diet Coke that was left on the kitchen counter for a few hours. It had gone flat. I was putting it out of its bubble devoid misery. To get me back Karen insists on giving my kids toys that have thousands of tiny parts. The central vacuum makes quick work of the clutter and our dog took care of the remaining pieces.
Karen is famous for her annual Easter egg hunt that attracts the neighbourhood kids and stray tourists looking for a free chocolate fix. With an army of volunteers, Karen directs the Willy Wonka process of filling over two thousand plastic Easter egg containers with treats. At the end of the hunt, Karen insists that each container must be accounted for. I take a couple dozen containers home just to throw off Karen’s count. After all, Easter is all about the resurrection; the re-appearance of what disappears, like tea towels, vodka bottles and clutter.Tags: CIA, During Suzanne, home, Willy Wonka, work