Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pack rat

This is going to be a rant. I feel it coming on. In fact I am so angry I can hardly hit the right letters on the keyboard – it’s taken me twice as many keystrokes to get this first paragraph written as it would normally do. And me an RSA level 3 girl.

It started with the phone call at breakfast time, and I’m not going to bother disguising names to protect the innocent.

“Who was that?” I asked my husband.

“Tony. We’re working at his girlfriend’s place this morning. She wants her lawns laid, now that the drains are completed.”

I didn’t get up in a bad mood. Honestly I didn’t. I had no intention of blasting out a trumpet call to battle. But.

Every building on our place, bar the single section of one in which my pony sleeps in bad weather, is silted up with an accumulation of “one day it’ll be useful”. There is no wall that does not have its complement of things leaning against it; no space into which you could actually put anything without major reorganisation.

I have booked a firm of slaters to come and renew the very rickety roof on the stable range, of which the other box is – you guessed it – also full of “one day it’ll be useful”.

“Oh? Barbara wants her lawns laid? I’d quite like some buildings emptied.”

He began to detail where MY few items in use could be moved to; inconveniently; and ignoring all his own pack rat accumulations. I interrupted him.

“I’m going to put all that in the container at the top of the yard,” I said.

It’s not a building, but it is a dry, clean, almost empty space. I was also under the firm belief that as I had bought it, it was mine.

“Oh,” he said blithely, “but I talked to Tom the other day and I’m going to borrow his tractor and loader at the weekend to move the container so it can be a dog kennel for people who come to stay in the barn conversion.”

And that was the point at which I blew.

“And how is it you didn’t mention that to me? I’d quite like to have a space that’s MINE. Something that’s not half full of old carpets, oil-soaked fenceposts, lumps of scrap iron where the dog gets his rope stuck, and a ton of fertiliser with its sacks rotted off so you can’t move it. Something that doesn’t leak when it rains.

“And I wasn’t referring to MY belongings – I meant yours – like your Dad’s tools that you never use, and parts for cars that you scrapped twenty years ago.

“Oh, but Barbara wants her lawns laid. Barbara wants her drains done. Well FUCK BARBARA, that’s all I can say.”

It wasn't a particularly eloquent argument, I know, but maybe my vehemence got through for once. He didn’t answer. He went off to work, very quietly. For Tony, and bloody Barbara and her sodding lawns.

I think he’ll be making his own supper tonight.


Mary Witzl said...

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, am I on your side! We've got just such a shed ourselves and it is filled to bursting with junk I don't want to keep, including some God-awful old shelves that my husband can't bear to part with, bless him.

To be honest to my husband, we're both packrats. But I believe I have a handle on my disorder, whereas he is in denial.

Wish I could come down there. I'd bring a friend of mine who is an expert at this sort of thing (I could do it if I didn't have my dicky shoulder, and I know YOU could do it too under normal circumstances, but why should you have to now?). Anyway -- I'd bring my friend and we'd hire a dumpster and we'd get rid of the lot in one go. That is the only way to do it, and I ought to know as a reformed packrat. If they don't see you doing it, you can get away with it.

Seriously: while he helps put in Barbara's lawns, get someone to help YOU clean out all that crap. Maybe you could get Barbara to help you do it.

Sue Millard said...

I've already got my daughter organised for Friday. Trouble is, some of the crap is actually worth something - too much to throw away for nothing, at any rate - and much of it too huge even for a dumpster. Like a six-wheeler wagon that weighs 11 tonnes, but hasn't turned a wheel in 5 years. Anybody want a 30 year old ERF with a Rolls Royce engine?

Mary Witzl said...

Sue, I've just been over to the Hayloft Publishing site and saw that the Queen has ordered three of your books! Wow!

Mary Witzl said...

Oops -- our posts crossed.

How about E-Bay? But then I suppose you'd have to arrange the shipping...

How about just getting rid of the junk and leaving the putatively valuable stuff?

I'll never forget how infuriated my mother was when my father went off every Saturday to pursue his hobby of volunteer botanist and horticultural advisor at a local cultural center where he was made much of. At home, we had trees to water and prune, grass to cut, and DIY jobs galore, but it all paled in comparison to the joys of the cultural center.

Sue Millard said...

getting rid of the junk and leaving the putatively valuable ... yep, that's the jugular vein and that's where we're going.

Helluva lot of junk, though.

Mary Witzl said...

Yeah, I know: I've stated the obvious -- a real talent of mine.

It's the whole business of separating the stuff that's the problem. Sorting through it in all of its rusty, mucky, damp, slippery horror.

Sue Millard said...

"... At home, we had trees to water and prune, grass to cut, and DIY jobs galore, but it all paled in comparison to the joys of the cultural center."

I'll hold my hands up and say that I can be as guilty as he is of doing this kind of thing. The difference is that I know I'm doing it and he doesn't. And I only do it when I'm asked (like judging at a horse show), not six days a week. said...

Our house moving--Cessnock to Bathurst , then Wagga, then Bondi Junction, then Coogee, then North Strathfield ; added to the side issue of having owned Dondingalong or 13 years and still owning Tanilba, has allowed us to dispense with the dispensible with each move-- and we still do have a double garage in the bowels of these units which is getting dangerously crammed.
But dumpsterwise we will soon have to help our younger daughter who is the family packrat. We may have to anaesthetise her first before amputating.
Re Barbara needing help,I have emailed.

And what's this about the Queen ? Is there a horse connection? lololol


Sue Millard said...

Brian - actually it isn't the Queen but it WAS the Duke of Edinburgh (or his Office at least). Two years ago my book must have been a Christmas present for the grooms of HRH's Fell pony driving team.

Mind you, there's nothing like baiting the trap: I sent the third of my ten free copies to Her Majesty as a gift in her capacity as Patron of the Fell Pony Society. (My Mum got the first and my grand-daughter the second.)