photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Stuff of Our Lives

We're packrats.

All of us are packrats. If we bring something into our house, it's found a home forever. Doesn't have to be useful, or valuable, or even recognizable- once over the threshold, it's a permanent fixture.

Alot of our friends are also packrats- the ones we feel most comfortable with. We do have friends who seem to "travel lightly" through life- who can actually say "If I'm not going to use this again, or if I don't know what the heck it is, or if I haven't laid hands or eyes on it for a year, out it goes".

Those people kind of creep me out a little bit.

Now, I'm not talking the stuff of Cops- piles of trash and garbage climbing the walls, oozing out from under the beds, and evolving or mutating its way out of the fridge. I try to keep all that stuff under control (although there are two or three closets in this house I won't open).

No, our stuff is mostly books, magazines and memorabilia. Photographs, negatives, prints and enlargements stack up the years and vacations, births and birthdays before I went (mostly) digital.

Books. Don't speak to me of Books. Every one of us is a sucker for a good book. I know there's a world of information on the interwebs, including books available to read, but there's something about holding a real book, feeling its heft, turning the pages- reading is (or should be) a tactile event as well as a visual one. Given a choice of destination for an afternoon, all of us will choose Bookstore over mall, or sporting event, or watering hole/eatery. The only thing that rates higher than a bookstore is a park during pretty weather.

So we have books. Thousands of 'em. They've long outgrown our many bookshelves and stack on every horizontal surface in every room and stalagmite up around those surfaces- satellite islands of books surrounding the mainland shelves, dressers and tables.

Any inch not occupied by photographs or books contains memorabilia- the stuff our moms called knick knacks. Not purchased from the furniture store, or Pier One- the knick knacks of our life were hand-picked by my favorite designers- my children and friends. From a tin rooster to a family of resin giraffes to a carved and painted gourd each piece reminds me of the giver and it gives me happiness to dust them, to handle them, to be able to touch something linking me to a loved one no matter how far the distance or time between us may be.

Now, all this stuff would not be a problem except...

...we're fixin' to move. We need to market the house.

If you have ever seen five minutes of the Home and Garden Channel, you know that a house must be more than clean, more than located in a good neighborhood, and more than priced fairly.

It must be "staged".

Staging a house means, in a nutshell, that all personal items must be removed, and all rooms painted a neutral color. Perhaps now is a good time to mention that our rooms are lavender, red, peach, blue, yellow, pink, green, and even a plaid- not a neutral in sight.

Are we starting to see the problem?

I guess I shouldn't worry.

No one in their right mind will make it past the drooly giant dog on the front mat, the turkey on the porch railing, the goats in the yard, the chickens in the tree and the ducks everywhere else.

*We're doomed.*

"Wanted- funny farm desires new caretakers- must love old houses, big trees, small livestock and have excellent sense of humor and imagination."

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