When it comes to spring cleaning— or spring clean out, the world seems to consist of two types of people: those practical types who are able to divest themselves of inanimate objects once they’ve outlived their usefulness, and those who would sentimentally cling to an old rubber band.
My husband is the latter. He has, what I like to call, a “discarding disorder.”
I should have recognized the red flag when we were first dating but I was too
blinded by love.
He had proudly pointed out this anomalous antique breakfront which he
trimmed down to occupy a small corner of his living room. It was a gift from
his ex-mother-in-law and almost completely devoid of all charm and
character after the reconstruction.
As I gazed at the not very attractive results, the nicest comment I could come up was, “Wouldn’t you have been better off buying something new?”
The little skirmishes continued over the years including a clash over “Holy Mustard Sauce!” a hole-filled, stained cardigan the color of French’s mustard that has lived long past its shelf life. I also lost the battle over the giant tortoise
shell wall hanging, the hula girl lamp, and law books that probably haven’t been relevant since the turn of the century.
Not this century—the last one.
The most recent negotiation concerned a battered piece of furniture that had become nothing more than a dumping ground for other unnecessary articles (until his back was turned).
“But we’ve had it for such a long time. We can’t get rid of it just like that,” he said, unsuccessfully trying to snap his fingers.
“All the more reason to let it go,” I responded.
“Isn’t there somewhere else we can use it?” he pleaded. “What if we cut off the legs and…”
“No,” I said abruptly. “No carpentry.”
“Maybe someone in the family can use it,” he said optimistically. “Then we could at least have visitation rights.”
“Can’t think of anyone,” I replied.
“How about Aunt Sally?” he queried.
“That’s not practical. She moved to Alaska.”
After working our way through immediate family members, first cousins, and second cousins once removed, I finally got him to agree.
I tripped and nearly fell over his favorite old wingtips (age unknown) as I rushed to the phone to call Goodwill. I needed to get there before he could figure out a way to turn that piece into a planter.
Susan Goldfein holds a doctorate in Communication Disorders from Teachers
College, Columbia University, and enjoyed a successful career as a clinician,
teacher, and consultant. For more essays filled with wit, wisdom and irony,
visit Susan’s blog, www.susansunfilteredwit.com. Her book, “How Old Am I in
Dog Years?” may be purchased on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com