Saturday, September 19, 2015

I Want a Divorce!

There, I said it, I want a divorce!

I'm done, simply done.

It is just beyond mending, fixing, repairing.

We have to start over.

The other day, a couple things happened that made me take a good hard look around my surroundings.

It is no secret to my readers that I live in a wooded area in an old (by today's standards) townhouse that has had structural challenges. This 1900 square foot dwelling with the awesome view, 2.5 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, and a loft-like main living area, has issues.

The main one being the old pipes.

The bathroom sinks leak. And the maintenance crew is not always the most thorough, they may look at one thing but not take a wholistic look at the whole problem, kind of how issues of race, gender, equity, and inclusion are looked at in our country.

I pay too much to not have my needs met, so I keep calling, kind of like a spouse trying to save a marriage.

The other day, I woke up to "rain." It was not, it was water cascading like a tropical fall, creating interesting artwork on my downstairs hall ceiling, and leaving my bathroom floor like the swimming pool my daughters' didn't get to visit all summer.

Well, I decided that was it.

A few emails, calls, and demands later, they have come out to "snake" the drains, the maintenance supervisor looked at the incomplete work of his crew and has scheduled a drywaller and new floor and the girls are getting a new shower/tub surround. All well and good, right after I did a great paint job in my hallway and kitchen, I was not relishing the thought of walking away from my hard work, and really of packing up this place.

Which brings me to the divorce.

We have stuff, lots of it.

Been with this man twenty-years. We've raised three men to adult hood and have the last two, our girls, still navigating through life...and treasures. Lots and lots of treasures that are currently on "vacation" in my basement.

Let me explain.

We merged two households, but back then, we had 3500 square feet with a basement the size of the main living area, I had space for stuff.

My old house was able to supply my then researcher/professor husband with a space for all his stuff, including a desk and a sofa. He had a full walk-in-closet for his dissertation research and all his music. I also had a basement music room for him, complete with a loveseat, end tables, music, and bookshelves.

The boys and then, the baby girls, all had space (and, decidedly less stuff).

The girls brought more stuff than I ever had with just the boys and I.

The ribbons, hair bows, little dresses, dolls, stuffed animals, and creative play.

We still had room, you know, those enormous shelves from the home goods store were lining my garage to hold doll houses and little bikes, big toys. I had an entire fraternity wall for my husband and space for the boys. My double and a-half garage was well utilized and we could still park two cars - back then, my Cavalier and his Mercedez, then the Big Green Bus we called the Chevy Venture.

Fast forward some moves, life changes, sons in the world, and a smaller dwelling in a community where my 3500 sq. ft. house wiht the jacuzzi in the lower level master suite with the walk-in-closet that we could have put a crib in, well, a place like that would have been $750,000 or more.

So, we are in a townhouse that mimics the open floorplan of our house. We have great lighting and while my basement is much smaller, I managed to line a wall with those home store shelves to keep my girls' stuff.

Memories and treasures, I guess that is that it is.

My  youngest son is a senior in college now and his bedroom closet has clothes and his action figures, a wall of boxes waiting to go to storage, high school memories I'm not ready to throw out.

The husband has t-shirts from every last race, university, fraternity event, family reunion, whatever. I mean, the man could open a store. He has them in his closet and in the garage and in baskets in the laundry room.

That is until the other day, after the waterfall and one basket caught all the water.

I rewashed all the shirts and folded them up. Then I took a look around.

Lining the wall with storage bins of yarn and Legos, pens, pencils, and an entire floor-to-ceiling stack of bins housing dolls and stuffed annimals, I just looked.

Then I did the unthinkable, I opened the garage door.

Now, we have only parked in our long one-car garage once, that first week, years ago, when we moved in.

The garage now has an entertainment center, two dining tables, a desk, four bikes, shoe storage, a bed frame, and lots and lots of music, shoes, t-shirts, and books of my husband's.  It is like that storage facility that we have rented that has furniture we were going to give the boys.

So, I did what any self-respecting work-at-home mother would do, I went shopping.

IKEA is not here yet, it is supposed to come in a couple months and while I do not plan to camp out, I am thinking I may be able to do some bookshelf redos.

No, I'm not innocent in the accumulation of things.

I have books,lots of them, a bookstore worth.

I have scrapbooking things that I keep telling myself I will have time to create. Pens, markers, paint, journals, lots of them, and every picture all five of my kids ever painted.

So I trotted off to the local Target, skipping the  home store because I couldn't fit another shelf in the basement.

Well, to my amazement and probably my husband's chagrin, Target is now becoming a homestore.

Think IKEA meets a wanna-be Crate & Barrell meets The Container Store.

It has a whole new layout with design ideas featured and of course, stuff for stuff.

I walked the aisles, barely coffee in my system, and started dreaming of my townhouse redo, that is, after they finish install the drywall and painting, after, after, after.

Well, I was in the storage aisle and deciding what would work in the kitchen for the girls' snack drawers. We have the downfall of not a huge pantry, I am completely missing my old kitchen with enough storage for a mini-market.

It was then, filling my cart with storage bins for my husband's t-shirts, hey, have to start somewhere, that I thought, this is ridiculous.

I was buying stuff for stuff.

When I left the store, my cart full of clear bins so I can see the contents, my day planned out to fold and store his shirts, in categories, a moment of accomplishment awaiting my day, that it dawned on me.

I want a divorce.

It has to end.

We can not go on like this.

The stuff and I have to part.

Even if that is starting with one set of university shirts at a time.
We live in the woods filled with green and life. - Tayé Foster Bradshaw

Perhaps, like the anticipated new bathroom floors and new walls, a divorce from some of the stuff that fills our space will give us a chance to see new.

And then live.



Like we hope would happen after a year of advocating for black lives to matter.

Just to exist and not let the stuff around us control us.

Who wants to get a divorce with me?


  1. I've been hearing about _The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering_ by Marie Kondo. I'm saving it for a New Year book, but just reading about it was enough to get me started. She advocates going through things by category instead of space. That is, don't tackle the bedroom as a project, tackle the clothes as a project. Her other big thing is to keep only things that bring me joy. So, I tackled purses / bags / totes the other day and took 2/3 of them to Goodwill. I had no idea that I owned so many until I threw them all down on the biggest floor space I could find.

    1. That is a great idea, to tackle it by categories.Life is certainly too short to be shopping for stuff for stuff or spending time dusting stuff! Thanks for the book suggestion.


Thoughtful dialogue is appreciated.