Monday, August 25, 2008

Oh, THAT's Why My House is Full of Crap

I just cleaned off my counter and dining table. It took me all weekend to do it, and I'm not even done yet. Mostly it was organizing, filing, sorting, and throwing away. I have been bemoaning the massive amount of clutter around here lately, and frequently find myself at a loss as to how we could have entirely filled up our house with crap in the not-quite-five months we've lived here. We don't buy a lot of stuff anymore; I just can't figure out where all this JUNK comes from.

I think I have the answer. A HUGE box (seriously, I couldn't get my arms around it to carry it inside, I just had to sort of hoist a corner and drag) just arrived from my parents' house, containing:

- Various pieces to Piper's three baby gyms, but not one actual complete gym. One of the main supports to the gym she used most often when she was little is broken. Whoever packed the box was so busy trying to shove more crap in there, they failed to notice that they had snapped the foam pole in half.

- An assortment of heinous baby clothes I left at the house when we moved because they were either a)heinous or b) heinous and too small. All of them still have the tags on.

- A pink plastic My Little Pony tea set. EDIT: Oh, God, it makes noise. It even sings.

- An outfit which my mom made herself, consisting of a reversible pinafore, two pairs of matching bloomers, a tiny coordinating purse, and a matching hat with a gigantic bow. The whole ensemble is solid blue on one side and the other fabric is yellow with pastel lollipops. She has got to be kidding.

- A set of 4 pastel-plaid placemats. A set of 2 Christmas placemats. 4 mismatched cloth napkins (I mentioned a few weeks ago I was on the hunt for table linens).

- A kit for making this dress, in blue. It's pretty cute, actually, and totally a project I would've picked for myself. There's a note inside the bag that says it's my brother's b-day gift to me. Nice job, D!

- An assortment of tank tops for me, none of which I can wear. They're all either way too big or feature spaghetti-straps and shelf bras, which don't work at all with my current g-cup nursing boobs and tank-like nursing bra.

- A tote bag my mom brought back for me from the Globe Theater in London that has "blood-splatter" on it and says "OUT, OUT DAMNED SPOT!" It's a little scary-looking actually.

- Some old clothes of my sister's which I was going to keep but then returned to the give-away box befoe we moved, after remembering that I had 10 boxes of clothing in storage.

- A play tent from Ikea which I told my mom I was going to wait to buy until the Ikea opens here next spring because we don't have room for it right now and my stupid cats will just pee in it anyway.

- Two pairs of British-flag "women's boxer shorts" which I can only assume are meant for me.

- 4 pairs of Piper's shoes, all of which are outgrown and one of which I threw away at some point because the sizes were mismatched.

- A musical card for Piper, tucked inside which I found an old non-working cellphone and 8 expired/used-up card-shaped things: fake gift cards/fake credit-cards etc.

- Some actually fairly rockin' H&M clothes for Piper. My mom and sister must've gotten them when they were in Europe last month. European babies apparently don't need pink OR giant bows to signify their status to the world.

- A pair of shoes for me, from my sister. Cute black-and-white slip-on tennies, but I think they're a little big.

The last box like this my mom sent (last month) is still sitting in the computer room, mostly still packed. I don't know what to do with all this...STUFF. I've asked her to stop sending/bringing it. She just sends more. When my parents came to visit in June, they brought an entire CARLOAD of this sort of junk. The one thing they brought that I had asked for was Piper's other carseat, which, in the process of cramming into the over-stuffed car, they broke. Snapped the seat-belt clip on the right side clean off, so now we can only put it in the center or on the left. The broken cordless phone arrived safely, as did 6 of my baby tee-shirts in various stages of threadbare decay, a large pink stuffed elephant that records and plays back sound, 16 too-small outfits I had put in the give-away bin anyhow, 3 dozen plastic Easter-eggs with ancient candy inside, 3 more bath-toy sets (to add to the bathtub-full she already has), and several more frog-themed outfits Piper doesn't need.

I have asked, begged, and pleaded with them to STOP BRINGING JUNK to my house. We don't have a garage. The back bedroom is entirely given over to the cats. The computer room is stacked floor-to-ceiling with boxes of books and cd's we have no storage for. Every closet in the houe is bursting with crap. And still, the avalanche of junk continues.

At first, I was polite and merely eye-rolling about this; I figured my mom was just trying to help. But there is also a purposefulness at work here. My parents actually laugh when I ask them to stop bringing stuff. They laugh and they tell me, "oh, it happens. When you get a house, it just fills up!" or the laugh and say how pleased they are to be cleaning out their basement and dumping it off at my house. Erm, forgive me for saying so, but if you don't want that crap at your house, I don't want it at mine, either.

The kicker is that 95% or more of the stuff that my parents claim is mine or which I should be responsible for disposing off my MOM is responsible for. The tiny clothes she saved from my and my siblings' infancies, most of which are now too trashed, have been stored too long, or are too small to be of use to me. Broken toys. The JUNK which she whines that Piper likes to play with - old wallets, broken cordless phones, creaky plastic picture frames, crocheted fun-fur scarves nobody will ever wear, Christmas decorations, a string of beaded tree-garland I had to take away from the baby because it was shedding flecks of green (and probably lead-filled) paint all over her hands and in her mouth. The remains of all those sackfuls of baby clothes I asked her not to buy in the first place. Tiny shoes and bibs I told her not to buy because I'd never put them on the baby anyway. Dozens of stuffed animals and heaps of garish plastic toys the baby never even glanced at twice. Leaky dollar-store sippy-cups; child-size dishes emblazoned with cartoon characters I despise; hats that Piper refuses to wear; mittens that are impractical at best for such a little kid; knitting patterns for an assortment of strange and scary children's garments or toys.

PILES and PILES of this stuff. In my HOUSE. And they're coming to visit again next month.

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