Monday, November 06, 2006


A recent weekend began with an ambivalent experience. It’s about that windup alarm clock I use, despite the fact it has failed to perform its duty on other occasions. Though no harm was done at those times, I persist in using the old clock. That Saturday morning was different. I awoke much earlier than the needed wake-up time. I should just have gotten up then, but I didn't, instead falling back asleep. Unfortunately, later, the old windup alarm clock did not go off. When I reawakened, I realized I had twenty minutes to get where I needed to be. All I had to do was my personal care, dress, make at least a forty minutes drive. I'm pretty good with math, so it didn't take me too long to figure out that if the start time for the seminar I had planned to attend was in twenty minutes, then add time for my personal care plus dressing time and driving time and I just, possibly, might exceed that limit. I hadn't pre-registered, so I stood to lose no money. I did the next best logical thing to do, which was that I decided to just roll over in bed and go back to sleep.

Later, after finally arising, I started thinking about the need to let go of that old windup alarm and use any one of several digital type devices in my bedroom and around the house with wake-up alarms, all just waiting for adoption. Maybe it's just me, but despite my welcome and enthusiastic interest in new technology, especially electronic gadgets, I find myself clinging to some practically antiquated items. I wonder why I haven't long since replaced their usage with the new stuff, or disposed of them. Not only does that apply to various technological items, but in other areas, too.

I've got a couple of old, but not old enough to be valued as antiques, radios with dials. Dials are not too common in this age of push buttons -- you know, those little round knobs you grasp in your fingers and can actually slowly turn from one frequency to another in order to fine tune the radio station you’re trying to bring in at just the right spot through all that static? They’re in nice-looking wood cabinets, but they just don’t work quite right anymore as the sound either blares or fades from hearing, unless you want to permanently press your ear against the speaker. Obviously, that's much too dangerous for your hearing, should the sound suddenly blare. I keep remembering how good the sound quality was, and I am sure somebody, somewhere, would know how to tweak them back to prime operating state, so why part with them?

I remember my uncle had a little room at the back of their house where he delighted in tinkering with radios that everyone in his neighborhood and surrounding areas brought to him to fix, as news of his technological prowess spread. Why, on a special radio he had, he used to even tune into radio stations in countries outside of the U.S. If he were still living, he would have my radios humming perfectly for me in no time, I'm sure. On second thought, maybe not, 'cause radios then had tubes inside them, and my Sony radios probably have transistors. What happened to transistors? Now we have digital. What's next?

Now I know I have some kitchen small appliances with which I need to part, but I just can't quite bring myself to do so. Back in the day -- right after I married -- I became aware my husband had been used to a lot of good ‘ol southern cookin’ which included a lot of deep fried foods. I always longed for one of those stand alone units you could use independent of your stove's burners. Just plug that fryer right into the wall socket, and you're in business. But they weren’t cheap, at least relative to the limited budget we had as newlyweds. Well, at some point, in later years, I finally was able to get one. It may have been at a garage sale, but I can’t remember now since it was quite some time ago.

Unfortunately, by that time several things had occurred. My children had long since
grown and left home. Also, many years earlier I had adopted what later came to be accepted good health practices of avoiding deep fried foods. So, what was I thinking when I bought this cooker? Yet, I look at it and think how much I had wanted one, then finally got it, cheap, but never used it, so now, I'm going to discard this long-desired item? Should I want one in the future, I'd never be able to justify in my mind buying a new one for likely one time use. Why on earth don't I just get rid of this cooker?

I also have knick knack items, in all sorts of shapes, sizes, composition, many of which belonged to my mother, which I brought en masse into my home after she died. I have no place for them. I have no use for them. I have her good dishes that I've never ever used. They’re nice but not collector items. I even have a few vases with artificial, and one of dried flowers, she had. Let's just say the flowers are not exactly looking in their prime. They aren't displayed in such a manner that others would pay them much mind, but if they did notice them, they would likely think other than good thoughts about my taste. But, I see them as I type this, am reminded of her, and so I keep them around.

At times I've thought, I'd just like to lift the roof off this house, pick up the house, and turn it upside down, dumping all the contents in a pile, then set the house back down and simply start over putting only the barest minimum in each room. I am not sure what I would do with the pile outside, because there might be something there I’d want to keep.


  1. I feel your pain.
    I not only have my own accretions, but now what's left of my mother's that my sisters didn't want as well.

  2. I hear you Joared...boy, do I hear you. I've thought the same thing. I'm in dire need of a colossal garage sale....but, like you, I often have trouble parting with things. Just having "things" for the sake of having them makes less and less sense to me as I've gotten older. I NEVER use it all, and I find I'm getting more and more frustrated thinking about it. Little by little I've been trying to remedy this frustration. I've got a long way to go.

  3. I've been in my current apartment for over 11 years now, and the things I need to get rid of, just to make room for the things I need to keep, defy numbering. Oh, for energy, a dump truck, and a loss of nostalgia! If I could only look at things from a practical stand, I could pare this lot down.

  4. You sound like me (and my mom). I have had 3-4 garage sales since my mom died; trying to get rid of her things that I had no interest in or use for. Trouble is, whatever didn't sell always came right back into the house. So if you find a way to dump it all and start over, make sure you have a firm person to take it all away from that outside pile - otherwise - you might do what I did....LOL

  5. When my mother died, cousins and grandkids got/took/were given all of the "for show" stuff that was left (after the moving sale that Mom had held just a year, previously). In fact, when Mom died I ridded my house of things that I had kept for 40 years because she wanted me to have them! The things I have that were Dad's or Mom's are things that I use. I wear an old corduroy vest of my dad's (wore it, yesterday--was complimented on it). I use Mom's face powder, the 5 times each year when I need to gussy up. One of their old flannel sheets is on my bed (not to mention the quilts in the closets). Well-worn handtools and garden tools fit my hands. (And my late mother-in-law's scissors, used frequently, are within easy reach from my reading chair.) Embroidered and appliqued teatowels are used in our kitchen. A fleece, zip-up hooded sweatshirt of my brother's (he's, thankfully, still living) has made me feel warm, snuggly, and safe each time I've worn it since he gave it to me--off of his back--twenty-some years ago. Grandmother's chairs. It would be difficult to part with these treasures; but, fortunately, I don't need to. Not as long as they serve useful functions.
    Cop Car

  6. I commented and digressed ;) at Blogging in Paris. I like this post.
    Keep blogging, Joared!

  7. About 15 years ago we had a bad fire in our house which was started by a lightening strike in the garage storage room where the circuit breakers were.

    Everything in the house had to go due to fire and smoke damage. Some of it went to storage to be de-smoked and refinished . The rest sat in a warehouse until we were almost ready to move back in after rebuilding.

    We went to the warehouse and it was difficult going way, way back down through all the memories and possessions. After a good cry, I started tossing and relentlessly ridding myself of "stuff" I would never use again and no longer wanted. A therapeutic experience

    Then about 5 years later we sold our house and moved. Another parring down experience. And 5 years after that we moved to a smaller townhouse and we gave a lot of furniture, dishes,paintings etc to our two local children.

    So I am on the road to de clutter recovery but still could start again and at least organize and give away and throw away more stuff.

    It never ends.

  8. Thanks for all the thoughts expressed here. Nice to know I'm not the only one accumulating. Think I'll have to write a piece on this.