Posted on September 3, 2008 in Johnny Depp, The Home Front by Jay48 Comments »

SpareRoomSee the picture, ladies and gentlemen? That is the tidy corner of my spare room.

My name is Jay and I am a hoarder.

Yes, it’s sad but true. I’m what the MerryCans call a ‘pack rat’ and I keep stuff. All kinds of stuff.

We’ve lived in this house for fifteen years and it is stuffed with … stuff. Every room has clutter! Every cupboard and drawer is bulging! We have more storage space than the average small country, and it’s all full of stuff, and I hate it!

So, tell me – why? Why do I keep stuff that I know darned well I don’t want or need?

Well, for a start, um, someone else might find some of it useful some day (outgrown kids’ toys, superfluous kitchenware, curtains, bedlinens etc). Maybe. Especially the broken stuff. I mean, there are people out there just desperate for a Darth Vader with one leg missing, aren’t there?

Talking of which, I keep stuff because I’m sentimental. Outgrown kids’ clothes and toys and toddler drawings, ancient hippie jewellery from my youth, my wedding dress – which wasn’t even a proper wedding dress, being home-made by my neighbour from white cotton seersucker – hospital bracelets from when the kids were born, everything with any kind of fond association, which is …good grief, pretty much 90% of what I own.

To be fair, some of the stuff is still here because I collect it – pressed glass jugs, Depp memorabilia and magazines, movie posters, photographs, holiday souvenirs, greyhound collectibles, etc. That’s legitimate stuff, right?

Maybe another reason I keep stuff is because I think I might be able to sell it for cash in my old age. I know I’m pretty hopeful here, since the house isn’t full of antiques or original art or anything – it’s just random bits and pieces which don’t fit into my current collections, like, my old childhood stamp album for goodness’ sake!

Then there’s the stuff I keep because I have no idea what the fuck to do with it- stuff which I don’t want but isn’t worn out and no other bugger wants it, either. F’rinstance, an old Bronica with a ton of accessories, and a very bad portrait of OH’s brother. Yes, that’s the portrait in that photo up there, and he didn’t really look much like that.

I also keep stuff because I think I might want it at some point in the future – clothes that I’ve outgrown (in both directions), kitchenware, games, books … oh, I’ll just catalogue the house for you, shall I? Hang on, shouldn’t take more than a year or two. Shall I make you a cuppa?

Every so often, I have an attack of sanity and start sorting. Over the years, this has resulted in the relocation of an awful lot of stuff, but very little reduction in quantity. I’ll get started, all enthusiastic, and find that I can’t bear to throw the stuff out, so I make piles. There’s the pile which is intended for the charity shop, the one for long-term storage, the one to sell or put up on Freecycle, and the one to offer to the kids, friends, various relatives, or anyone stupid enough to take it from me and swear that they really, really want it.

And then I get interrupted or disheartened or tired and I stuff each pile in a separate box and, well, store it somewhere. Usually on top of something else. See that picture up there?

Sometimes I panic that the house will catch fire and all my stuff will go up in flames, and of course, part of me would be wringing my hands and freaking out at the loss of it all, but a tiny cowering-in-the-corner-with-a-box-over-its-head part of me would be secretly relieved, because all of this worrysome stuff would be gone.

I have four sewing machines, for fuck’s sake – two of them broken, and one so ancient that it has long outlived its usefulness … but … but …well, it’s pretty, and it reminds me of my childhood!

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi!

Today, I’m going to start de-cluttering. Again.

Wish me luck, fellow bloggers – and may the Force be with me.

It’s the stuff of nightmares, I tell you.

Posted on September 1, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything, The Home Front by Jay40 Comments »

SpiderGlassFor the last week or so, Other Half has had a visitor in his conservatory, a visitor he didn’t invite and didn’t want. In fact, a visitor which made him extremely nervous.

You see, a spider had taken up residence inside the end of one of the open metal tubes which fit at the top of the roof blinds to hold them rigid. And the roof blind in question was right up above his chair.

Every little while, this spider would come out of the tube and sit and stare down at him disconcertingly. Other times, it would scuttle back inside leaving two legs sticking out of the end, just to remind him it was still there! Occasionally, the legs would be withdrawn too, and OH would be sent into a tailspin of paranoia.

Where was the spider!!

Apparently, to an arachnophobe, there is only one thing worse than having a spider stare down at you from his position above your head, and that’s when it disappears altogether because you don’t know where it’s gone, and it could be anywhere!!

So when a spider comes into the house, I normally volunteer to collect it and throw it outside where it belongs because there is nothing funny about arachnophobia and I’m simply not scared of them. However, I have a dodgy neck and a rotator cuff injury, which makes doing things with my arms above my head rather difficult.

Yesterday OH was away for the afternoon, and Son No. 1 came round, so I enlisted the Tall One’s help in evicting the spider. We devised a Cunning Plan, which went like this -

1 – We would clear the space under the bottom end of the blind, and then open it. This would mean that the spider was no longer up at the apex of the conservatory roof, but merely at the top of the windows.

2 – I would prepare a spider shelter consisting of an open box containing screwed up newspaper to place on the windowsill, in case the spider went all kamikaze on us – the idea being that it would hide in the paper and not run away altogether.

3 – I would also have the traditional spider catching equipment – viz: one glass tumbler plus sheet of thick paper.

4 – Then (and this is the Cunning Part) the Tall One would gently poke a piece of curtain wire into the end of the metal tube and encourage the spider to come out of the opposite end so that I could make the capture.

Of course, the best laid plans gang oft astray, as they say north of the border. We took a video of the whole operation so that OH would know for sure the Spider Had Gone. It’s far too long for Photobucket and contains incriminating footage .. um … inchage. Whatever. So I made a slideshow, because I thought you might like to have a laugh at our expense.


Now, that should have been the end of the matter, shouldn’t it?

Sadly not.

The very next morning, Yellow Swordfish was sitting in his usual chair and looked up .. and there, to his horror, was a new spider! Clearly, seeing a vacancy, the damn thing had moved in!

I tell ya, arachnophobes attract them. It’s the only explanation.