We’ve established that I’m a “Gilmore Girls” fan. There’s a great scene in one of the later seasons, where Lorelai is about to open her Inn, and she’s feeling overwhelmed. She’s commiserating with Luke, the diner owner and the guy you want Lorelai to wake up and end up with, over their respective levels of busy. At one point, one of them says “Oh, you were in the city? I needed someone to pick up x…” and the other person responds with “Hey! Don’t put stuff from your to-do list on my to-do list!” This is my life.
I cook dinner for my mom on Mondays. It’s no big deal— I like to cook, and I try to make her a meal that I can send her home with leftovers. That, plus the roughly twice a week that we go out gets her at least four and up to six meals that she doesn’t have to cook. It’s a courtesy, because my other siblings have let her live with them, and I encouraged her to live near me, but under her own roof. She brings me back the washed leftover containers when I see her. Yesterday, she brings me back a container I don’t recognize. I try (knowing it won’t work) to give her back the foreign container (something she bought lunchmeat in, washed out, and is trying to give to me.)
I said “this isn’t mine.”
She said “Oh, well, I thought you might be able to use it.”
“Nope, I have no place to put it. Just bought some new containers. Got no room.”
Still she refuses to take it back. She feels like it’s a perfectly good container, and doesn’t want to throw it out. I’m not sure whether she consciously wants me to throw it out, so she doesn’t have to, because she feels guilty about wasting it, or if that’s a subconscious thing. Regardless, I have to be very careful. She’s a net exporter of stuff like this.
One week, I picked her up, and she handed me a bag full of plastic bags.
“What is this?”
“For the dog.”
“They have bag stations throughout my community— I don’t pay for bags (except through my HOA dues). I also don’t lack for bags. Please don’t save bags for me.”
“For the cats, then.”
She’s far from the only person in my life who does this. But I am, after all, her daughter. I’m saving corks, because someone I used to know was collecting them for a project. I am no longer in touch with her, and I believe she finished the project several years ago. I don’t want to do the project, myself. I’ve publicly offered them on Facebook twice for any crafty friend who’s doing a similar project, and have to be careful about how much more frequently I do it, before I look like a freak. But I can’t quite make myself throw them away. (Fair warning, if I start to offer prizes for something on the blog, you might just end up with a box of corks.) I have a bag of clothes that cannot be repaired, with the idea that I’ll turn it into rags… but I probably just should have thrown it out. When I got the dog, I told people I was going to make him interactive toys off Pinterest. Which I totally did, a couple of times. But now, I have a ton of toilet paper rolls and empty coffee cans and am tired of trying to always feed him through interactive toys. I can’t watch “Hoarders” because it terrifies me, and I know that there but for the grace go I.
I deliberately bought a small place with limited storage, to combat this heritage. But it’s a losing battle. If you need some corks, empty toilet paper rolls, or an empty lunchmeat container, I’m so your girl.