Friday, December 18, 2009

How Do You Spell Chaos?

Chaos reigns in the household, and I mean above and beyond the usual level of chaos…

This week we have prepared for the ultimate invasion of privacy, the consummate disruption to daily living, and the unearthing of Jurassic era dust from the corners of our closets. Yes, my friends, the Center of the Universe and I have committed to having our carpeting replaced.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early (wait, who am I kidding? – is there any WAY these people will show up on time???) installers will come with a great quantity of carpeting. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, our nasty old antediluvian floor covering will go away, never to be seen or heard from again.

Yes, this is a happy event, in that, well, who doesn’t like new carpeting more than old carpeting? That’s kind of a given, after all. But here’s the rub, and the actual reason we have procrastinated for so long about doing it: The upheaval may kill us. And our marriage. And us. And our marriage.

When every bedroom in the house has to have the ratty old stuff yanked out in anticipation of having sparkly, twinkly, shiny clean new stuff laid, where do you put the furnishings of each room? Yes, I know, the installers will move the furniture. Believe me, the only thing that finally impelled us to actually bite the bullet and take this step is the knowledge that other people do this every day of the year. (No, not the same people, but you know…)

So our bedroom furniture will go into the guest room while they do our bedroom, and vice versa. Q.E.D. We get that. It’s all the “stuff”, to use the polite term, which has had us fearful and intimidated for so long. (Believe me, we have put this off waaaay too long.)

It’s the issue of emptying out the closets (carpet installers don’t do that), moving computer desks and computers (carpet installers don’t move electronics), moving the treadle sewing machines (carpet installers don’t move ‘antiques’), finding a new home for a lovely spinet piano that nobody plays any more (carpet installers don’t move pianos), and not killing each other in the process.

Truth be told, we’re actually cooperating quite well, and coordinating our efforts to make this a joint project. (No, Howard, that does not mean we’re smoking a joint to get us through this. Come on!) But they say in every couple there’s a hoarder and a discarder, and the two are typically at odds.

In all fairness, we both have some packrat tendencies, but mine are well-controlled (according to me—hey, let him get his own blog!) and his are more like, “But that sweatshirt may come in handy one day, if the see-through look ever comes back and needs to be expressed in kelly green fleece with the barely visible silk-screen of a St. Patrick’s Day Barf-fest on it.” Yeah. That sweatshirt isn’t even good for washing the car, so give it up, man. Or, “I know that frame is broken, but I used to like it.” Used to? It needs to go away. You see the problem.

How about the umpteen boxes of cassette tapes I found on our son’s closet floor. I wanted to give them to Goodwill. Face it, my son clearly doesn’t want them, or he would have taken them with him. And all music is digital now, unless you still like your vinyl, which is another story entirely. I will run it by the son before disposing of the tapes, but you should have seen the C. o. T. U. when I stacked them by the Goodwill stuff. He began to hyperventilate and perspiration formed on his upper lip. I could see I was in for a struggle. “Babe, you don’t want these—we don’t play tapes anymore.” “Let me just see the titles,” he pleaded. “It doesn’t matter—where would you play them? You’d hate the sound quality. What’s the point?”
He gave up a little too easily. I’m going to check those boxes in the morning. I bet he’s squirreled them away in his workshop. Along with his bell bottoms, his madras shirts, and his Bass weejuns.

The old carpeting may go, but the time capsule remains.


  1. My ex-husband was like that about his albums from childhood. I guess it was because of the memories associated with them? By the time he tried to sell them, none of the used music places were buying albums anymore.

  2. I am a packrat myself, so I understand your issues in the reverse. My boyfriend has helped me clean out a bunch of old crap that I didn't need but was keeping 'because you never know'. Good luck with the new carpet, and the packrat!

  3. I'm not a packrat. I wish I was because there have been so many times I've been looking for something only to remember I threw it out months ago. Oh well. Good luck with the new carpet. I love getting new carpet, after it's installed, that is.

  4. I don't like it when people move my furniture. During our last move, the Mormon missionaries helped us, and when they moved the dresser they uncovered a condom wrapper and an unused sanitary pad. :oO

    Good luck with the installation.

  5. Oh, yeah, it's programmed into our DNA that a hoarder has to pair up with a discarder. Theoretically it keeps order in the universe. My husband is the packrat, which was brought home to me when I finally parted with a box of formerly loved clothing, only to find it back in the house with his scrawled message: "Reconsider."

  6. I am from a long line of packrats. I still have a outfit I wore to a concert in the eighties. I will never fit in it again, but can't seem to get rid of it.

  7. That's the nice thing about being an Army wife. I can purge when the DH is away. This works best when he's gone at least a week so I can get one garbage day under my belt with him out of the house. Bonus if it's a bulk garbage pick up week.