Crazy as a Loom

Sunday, December 12, 2010


My favorite time of day. Noone else is up but me, unless you count Eddie, and he is busy grooming himself, which totally drives me wild.
It is gray and gloomy out the window,there is a fine sleet like snow falling, the roads are covered. Ah, winter.
But I guess from all reports, the midwest has gotten blitzed, and I should not complain.
So I won't.

I have just noticed this huge nest in the the tree right across the road. Wondering what the heck?
From december

I am in a strange, recurrent mood, one that totally annoys my DH. I want to move the furniture around, throw things out, knock down a wall, or two. I want organization, simplicity, lack of clutter, clean lines everywhere. I don't know if I am having a 'minimalist' attack, or what. But I am appalled by the 'stuff' that we have and don't use, or don't need, or worse, have even forgotten about.
I have two things I like to stash: books, and yarn/thread. I have a couple of places in the house where those are kept. That's it. I don't like the conglomeration of papers and clothes and shoes, JUNK, that abounds.
Drawers, closets full. And the stuff in them doesn't get used, in fact, I doubt that if anyone actually knows what is in them all.
We have a couple of walls covered with framed photos. OK. But then the hearth is buried with MORE framed photos. I took a bunch of them OUT of the frames, and put the photos in a photo book, and I am not done yet.
My brain says ENOUGH.
I can't even think about the attic. Pictures and videos of DH's late mother and father. BOXES of them. Enough hunting paraphernalia and clothes to outfit a small HORDE of men on a hunting expedition. Clothes. Racks and racks of clothes.

It brings me back to my Dad's place. My dad, the junkman.
He used to make money, all my life, he made money. That was his forte.
And growing up very poor, making money made him feel better, safe. As I am sure it did many of his generation.
He spent many, many hours on the road, buying 'stuff', filling the 'building'
with goodies. But as he got older, and more eccentric, and his health failed, both physically and mentally, he just collected, and forgot to sell. And by that time, some of the stuff he brought home, was nothing anyone with any sense would buy. So he filled every corner.
For the last several years of his life, his house was a hoarders dream, or nightmare.
My mother had moved to live with me, sick of the craziness. She and I would go there, to check on him: was he taking his meds (count the pills), was he eating (check the fridge and dates of food), was he interested (yet) in having us clean the place out? didn't he want to be NORMAL? whatever that meant.
No, not yet, he would say.
He had a path, a straight line of vision, from his chair to his TV, so he could see Jerry Springer clearly.
There was just enough space on the table for a plate, and maybe a glass.
You could get to the toilet, and the bed.
Every time I went there, I began to panic. The longer I was there, the worse it would get. There was no talking to him. The filth and the clutter crawled into my brain, leaving no room for any reason. I paced. Went outside, came back in. Tried to get him to look at me, tried to get him to see what I saw.
Not happening.
When we left, I always felt like bawling. He was unmoved.
It took days for me to get it out of my head.
And yes, the limb didn't fall from the tree. I have looms. I have yarn. I have fabric, thousands of pounds of it. Looper looms, loopers. Weaving stuff.
The difference is that every once in a while, I have to take stock, I have to get it all in order. I have to KNOW what I have, and answer the question: will you use it, EVER?
I occasionally give stuff away, take stuff to the transfer station, sell stuff.
Just to prove to myself that I really can.
NOTHING, I mean NOTHING feels better to me, more consoling to me, than walking into my studio all neat, and orderly, and without stacks, piles, or unknowns.
I simply cannot take it.
My kids have always joked that while I was not the best housekeeper ever, our table and kitchen counter were always CLEAN. Always.
To me, if the counter and table are clean, I am OK. There is order. There is reason.

Maybe that explains why walking into my own house at the end of a long day, to see the kitchen counter KNEE DEEP in crap, makes me feel unhinged.
There are times, when I could seriously clean sweep everything on it into a garbage bag, and take it OUT.
I do not joke here.
There is something deep and painful lurking here.
I guess I will go frost my mother's birthday cake, and leave it lurking.
Ya think?


maggie said...

Ah yes, I know what you mean about knowing what we have in our stash, and the need to take stock. I sold my kilns and all ceramic stuff earlier in the year; made some space and then filled it up with fleeces ! and a spinning wheel and and and ! Nature abhors a vacuum. My thoughts also have been wandering back over time. Maybe it's the time of year where we remember those who have gone from our lives; and our urge to clean out and take stock is in readiness for winter solstice ? Just a thought x

Anonymous said...

As we get older I believe that it's important we take stock of what we have. I certainly would not want to leave a huge mess to be cleaned up and gotten rid of by my children.

As long as you are keeping yourself in check and have family to make you aware that you have too much stuff you will be okay. I've watched that Hoarders tv show a couple of times and it's frightening how they live. So unhealthy.


Valerie said...

Blame it on the solstice....the battle between the old and the new...and the battle between the dark and the light.

This time of year I find myself digging into closets and cupboards and hauling stuff to the Salvation Army and the Lighthouse Mission. I would rather do that than decorate for Christmas.

'Course then Mom was a bit of a hoarder too. So maybe it is reactionary rebellion to upbringing

Darlene said...

One good thing about moving every few years is that you get rid of stuff! My hubby is a packrat and tends to pile stuff up, which makes me crazy after a while. But he's learned to clean up when I tell him I'm going to do it if he won't, cuz he's found out how ruthless I can be!

Of course, I sold all my weaving stuff earlier this year because I hadn't used it since we moved up here two years ago. You guessed it, right now I'm up to two looms again, a rigid heddle, and an old Union. Now there's a LeClerc rug loom on craiglist that they want to trade for. Let's see, I have a clothes dryer, a food dehydrator, a juicer, knitting needles, polymer clay stuff...Does it count if you TRADE stuff instead?

Anonymous said...

Oooh you must have been looking in my window! I just "downsized" my townhouse so we could fit our children into it when they come for the holiday. I tossed books and CDs and it felt so good to not have CLUTTER anymore. I downsize regularly so I won't feel the need to move from one house to another. In 31 years of marriage we have moved 20 times and I don't want to drag this junk with me one more time.

Country Girl said...

I cannot stand the clutter. And I didn't know that about your father. How sad.
I want to get rid of stuff, too. What does it all mean, anyway? All the Christmas stuff . . . it's just too much.

Sharon said...

Conditioning. We can't really ever escape the conditioning from our past, but we can recondition our own paths - almost impossible but not impossible.

Tina J said...

As my interests ebb and flow, I have to pay attention to that voice that says "You never know, you just might need that someday!" When I hear that voice it is time to pass on what I am not using to someone who will use it and or needs it! I will always be able to get something if it is a true need.

Cait Throop said...

Oh I know how you feel!!!! I dream of having a dumpster and cleaning EVERYTHING out--except my looms and yarn, of course!...My husband loves his stuff too much and I love empty space! sigh...

Susan said...

I'm with you on this one! I'm continually tidying, and reducing in our home. I swear the stuff breeds in the night!

I still recall vividly the mess after my mother passed away suddenly. She was (as I like to call her) an indoor bag lady. Buy some knitting yarn, pattern and a bag on the floor, sewing materials with thread, zipper and pattern? In a bag on the floor. Now multiply this by dozens and dozens of bags and you had my mother's house.

It took three adult children 2 solid months to sort it all through and get my father into a 2 bedroom apartment.

I have been going through my own dressers, cupboards and closets on a regular basis ever since.

I have a stash for my weaving and spinning and even that is organised.
Enjoy the little ones... I'm gonna have to rent some grandkids as there are none on the horizon!

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Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts