With This Ring

It is amazing the stuff William and I have accumulated over twenty four years of marriage.  About every five years, we purge the closets, cupboards, basement, and garage.  We have a sale or haul the pile of unearthed stuff to one of our favorite charities.  Every time we do this, we say, “There.  We’re done.  We’ve rid ourselves of everything we didn’t need or haven’t used.”  And yet, somehow, the stuff manages to creep its way back in to our home, hiding in the closets and cupboards, piling up in the basement and garage.  How does this happen?

The thing is Will and I don’t spend like we did in our younger days when we had the money and were completely irresponsible.  In our defense, we also didn’t have a child for the first seven years.  So yeah, we spent on ourselves.  But as we’ve matured (notice I didn’t just say got older), our spending habits have been reigned in completely.  Still, the stuff magically appears in our home.

I’m not talking about the unexpected gifts one receives and upon opening says, “Oh…that’s so…lovely,” all the while thinking, This has garage sale item written all over it.  Those items disappear immediately.  (Right now my very much alive mother is digging her own grave so she can roll over in it all the while despairing of my bad manners.)

Will is on vacation this week, and it is the perfect time to rearrange the closet in the back bedroom where I have stored all sorts of home décor and mementos from our son’s baby years.  My darling hubby takes up half of the closet we share with his dress and casual clothes, and now he needs another full closet for his works clothes.  This means it is also time to move the shelf from the basement where his overflow of clothing is stored as well as empty the bins where he keeps his unmentionables.  Remember:  I have half a closet for all my dress and casual clothes, shoes, and lingerie.  Is there something wrong with this picture?

The job takes longer than I expect because I have to dust and sort the home décor and Joshua’s keepsakes into separate bins, and I discard a whole bunch of stuff I forgot we even owned.  When combined with the things removed from the basement shelves, we part with a Victoria’s Secret purse given as a promotional item with a purchase of perfume, a vintage-looking hat stand, two egg trays I never used, a two-pound dumbbell whose mate went to Goodwill years ago, a mini-vacuum for electronics, a bag of tee-shirts, paint-by-number pictures Will’s Grandmother Richards painted, three Asian prints I swore I’d have framed someday, and on and on and on.

Why do we hold on to this stuff especially when it isn’t even the good stuff?  Still, I’d like to think we received a reward for making the effort to clear our lives of so much junk.  Will shifts the shelf in the basement and immediately realizes it must be swept off before I allow him to move it another inch.  As I step closer to pick up what our two cats have knocked under the shelf, I spy something of incredible worth lying in the dust.

“Oh my gosh,” I scream as I squeeze past Will and the shelf, swipe the item off the floor, and crash into my canning jars.  I break one of the jars, so now I’m hopping around on one foot, our son has come running down the stairs because he believes I’ve hurt myself, and William, who cannot see what I’m holding, is in a bit of a panic.  He shouts at me to not cut myself on the broken jar.  But my face is beaming and I’m laughing as I hold up a gold, circular band and say, “Look—I found your wedding ring!”

Two years ago, one of the cats (probably Henry) knocked Will’s wedding ring out of the cubby hole beneath our bathroom cabinet.  When I noticed the ring wasn’t in the bathroom and hadn’t been placed in my jewelry box (where it belongs), I questioned Will.  Long story short, we came to the conclusion that it had been batted down the sink or into the register vents, lost forever, my heart broken.  Today, it has been restored to its proper place.  No, not Will’s finger; he’s still employed in a warehouse doing work that would wreak havoc upon fine gold jewelry.

As I think back on the whole wonderful experience, I keep wondering why after two years of praying did I find Will’s wedding ring now?  Yes, finding the ring is reward enough, but I also believe we learned the lesson of keeping our lives clutter free.  Whether it’s physically, mentally, or spiritually, a clean life really does provide opportunity for extraordinary reward.

Lightning Juice

Several weeks ago, I decided to clean out my closet. Ambitious, I know. Thankfully, the job proved to be easier than I first expected. The solution was to simply remove everything I hadn’t used or worn in over a year and cart it off to Goodwill. A little sweeping, rearranging, and I was patting myself on the back in no time.

Right before I closed the closet doors for the day, I spied the box for my hiking boots in the back corner. Hadn’t I just worn those? I was pretty sure they were still sitting in the hallway going downstairs.

I wavered for a second: Leave the boots where they were and call it a day or retrieve them and feel truly satisfied on a job well done? I made a split second decision.

“Joshua?” I yelled from the bedroom.

(Pause)

“What?” he yelled back from the kitchen.

So typical of a teenager. Don’t bother to get up to come see what I want. (Yes, I know I was being equally lazy by not fetching the boots myself.)

“Bring me my Nevados,” I said, using the brand name of the boot.

(Pause)

“Your what?”

(Sigh)

“My Nevados!”

“What’s that?”

I quickly realized this exchange wasn’t going to produce the results I wanted. He was playing Minecraft.

Small sidebar: If you know anything about Minecraft, you know that once a person is addicted, yes, addicted, there is no reaching them throughout the duration of time they are engaged in playing. On one hand, Joshua loves it. He’s formed online communities with his friends and builds like a first rate architect. On the other hand, I’m firmly convinced too much exposure will suck out his brain.

“Please – bring – me – my – hiking – boots,” I bellowed at this point.

(Pause)

“Your what?”

(Sigh with teeth grinding)

“HIKING BOOTS!”

(Pause)

“Your lightning juice?”

Yes, Joshua, that is what I said: My lightning juice.

%d bloggers like this: