25 July 2011

eat a shortbread cookie and croon

I have a problem.

It's an American problem.  It's a woman problem.  It's a typical problem.
This is me being, in a word, unoriginal.

I have too much stuff. 

I don't even like stuff, really.  And I'm not fooling myself by saying that, I don't think.  I'm not a stuff girl.  I'm an open air, clean spaces kind of girl.  I'm a "Screw it; throw it all away" kind of girl.  I'm a "Blow up your tv; throw away the paper; go to the country; build you a home" kind of girl.
(Name that song and artist - go!)

But I have two problems that thwart this dislike of stuff:

1) I'm cheap.  Whenever I get ready to send something on down the road to the goodwill, I start to think if I will ever possibly need it in the future and what a shame it'd be to send it to goodwill now and then have to buy another one of whatever it is in the future.

2) I'm nostalgic.  Anytime I overcome my cheapness, nostalgia sets in.  It was my great aunt's necklace (I don't like and have never worn).  Ada Brooks played a fun game with that (particular piece of tupperware) as a baby.  I remember using that (specific spring form pan that has rust on it now) to cook Paul a cheesecake right before we got engaged.

It's a disease.

My husband shares my Blow Up the TV attitude, desire and hopefulness.  He is shockingly not as cheap and not-so-shockingly not nearly as nostalgic.

So, we have just a tiny bit of conflict.

I'd say about 27% - 42% of all of our disagreements can be traced easily and directly to a difference of opinion about what to do with stuff.

[I like fabric.  I hoard it for all of my future and theoretical sewing projects.  

"But Ann Lowrey, some of it is downright ugly."  
"But, sweetheart, Ada Brooks loves to craft and she doesn't care that it's downright ugly." 
"You may have this entire and rather large piece of furniture in which store fabric.  You pick what you want to keep in there.  If it won't fit in there, it goes, so choose wisely."] 

Now, we disagree a lot about this stuff.  And sometimes one of us actually gets angry, but the vast majority of the time, we see it for what it is.  He'd throw away his great grandmother's (theoretical) antique, Danish sterling silver if I'd let him and I'd keep my great aunt's bent in bundt pan (making 3 for me) if he'd let me.  We are the yin and yang, and we balance one another into a fairly healthy relationship with our things. 

We've been in the midst of a great purge here at Warrior Trail.  So we've had a lot of these fun disagreements, that mostly have resulted in workable compromises.  Yesterday, it was all of our yearbooks - elementary, highschool, college for both of us.  We were missing a few, but still, it was a lot.  He voted put in burn pile or garbage or recycle.  I cringed.  A lot.  Compromise?  We cut out the pages with pictures of us on them, so the children could laugh with us one day.  We put them in a folder to keep in my (reluctantly allotted) nostalgia cabinet.

And neither of us was angry or even thought the other person was wrong.  I know we shouldn't continue hauling all this junk around, dusting it, cleaning it up.  He knows we shouldn't really chunk everything entirely.  

But this morning was different.

This morning, I noticed my mustard yellow espresso cups that belonged to some female ancestor of mine.  They had been placed in the goodwill pile.

Mustard yellow
Matching set of ten.
With ten espresso saucers.
With six matching perfectly, mustard dessert plates.

They scream early to mid 20th century.  They were probably in existence before my mother was born.  They are freakin' adorable.  I tell you - cutest thing of all time.  They hold 4 ounces of liquid. 
A few problems.

1) I don't even drink coffee. 
2) We don't now nor will we ever own an espresso machine.
3) My dishes are already exploding all over cabinets everywhere.
4) I cannot even imagine ever actually using them.  I never have.

But other than that, they are cute in every way and Paul Forster can sit on a giant, dull, but sharp enough to hurt, tack.  The bucket face that he is.  You take my cups: I'll cut you.

A few weeks ago, a my friend Amanda sent me to this blog post.  Paul and I both cried we laughed so hard.  Okay, maybe I just cried I laughed so hard, but Paul laughed a good bit too. 

So, Paul and I are reenacting almost this exact same event, but neither of us felt quite ugly yet.  (though if I ever brought home a metal chicken, well....)

I didn't want to give away my useless (to me) espresso cups.

I even threatened to plant flowers in them and give them as gifts.  I googled.  They're even too small for that, really. 

When Paul left this morning, he smiled and said to me, "If I need to break them up into pieces before I leave, I will." (I did not retort "Well, then I'll just save them to make a mosaic out of them." But I thought it.)  I smiled and said, "I won't put them back in the cabinet, but you're going to have to be the one who takes them goodwill.  I just won't be able to do it."  

While I was still stewing about my very correct, kind, and responsible husband who doesn't love mustard yellow like he should, my same friend Amanda happened by.

I may have grieved a bit out loud to her.  I wasn't so much frustrated at Paul, just frustrated at the fact of life that you cannot hold on to everything adorable or that has memories for you.  You're expected to send it on to strangers. 

She started grinning.  Her husband has an espresso machine.  He just recently asked for espresso cups to be added to his wishlist.
Providence, oh providence.  Right down to the dishes.

My little cups get to be drunk out of by a couple of folks I quite like, and maybe Amanda will even invite me over for an afternoon espresso (which I won't drink) but I'll so enjoy seeing them out, I'll happily eat a shortbread cookie and croon, dry mouth and all.

Here's to you, Paul Forster.  The cups are gone, and I am happy about it.  We both win a prize.

Now.... on to the stash of fabric.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness. Those espresso cups are amazing! I would have totally taken them off your hands ;)