The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

To purge or to keep...

So, partly because I am nesting and partly as the result of the flooded garage motivating me to clean it out, the garage is finally getting cleaned out. Plus, I have discovered something about people and junk... if you post it, they will come. I posted "free stuff" on craigslist and freecycle, and told the neighborhood kids, and seriously, it was almost all gone within hours. There are only a couple of items out there still.

When you are trampling through junk you haven't used in years to save things from wet boxes, it suddenly becomes much easier to feel the intense desire to part with some of this stuff.It is also more in my nature to not want to pack stuff away... unlike Marc.Marc is not as simplistic as I am. He'd rather find creative ways to save EVERYTHING, even if it hasn't been touched in years and years and years.

Of course, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree because both of these are totally reflections of how we were raised. When I was young, my mom frequently told me to fill bags with the toys I didn't play with any more... which were then donated to some less fortunate family or young single mom that my mom would find, or they would go to charity. I also remember having garage sales almost annually. It was a regular occurence. If it wasn't being used, it was being sold. That was just the way of life. It kept things simpler. Once I got old enough to pick my own stuff for the garage sales and my mom let me keep the money for these things, I LOVED garage sales, because it usually meant that I got something new out of it. Good deal, right?

Marc's family, on the other hand, I think had a different mentality. Although I did not know Marc growing up, I do know this... When I was pregnant with Vinny, my mother-in-law whipped out Marc's crib AND bassinet. I am so not even kidding. Marc was 27 when Vinny was born. That is a freaking long time to save something like that. Turns out that safety regulations on cribs change rather frequently (tell me about it... I had to get rid of Vinny's crib because, in the 4 years since he was born, the powers that be have determined that drop sides are "death traps" or whatever), and Marc's crib was far from up to safety regulations, and also missing some of the hardware, although amazingly, 90% of it was there. But ya know what... the bassinet was totally functional, and we totally ended up using it when we were visiting them. Here are some pictures of baby Vinny napping in Marc's bassinet:
Totally a trip, right?

Then, as the years progressed, the bassinet went back in the garage (I am sure it will be coming out again soon for Tiana) and new stuff came out... Marc's hot wheels, hundreds of them, and the garage and everything, among other toys. Vinny LOVES playing with them, and it really is a trip that they were daddy's. Pretty much, if they had it at one time, they probably still have it. That's the Mohr way. But, as you can see, there are certain really neat benefits to that.

So... this is probably why Marc looked like he was going to cry yesterday when he realized that his surfboard (which he has NEVER once actually surfed on) was gone and his fish tank was on the front lawn. I had good logic here though. See... Marc says he wants to surf some day. I totally do too. In fact, I have fond memories of the 2 of us back in 2001 attempting to learn how to surf together at Solimar. However... I know that one does not learn how to surf on a short board (which was what the one I got rid of was); you learn how to surf on a long board. So, if we ever actually learned to surf, we'd need long boards. If we actually then learned how to surf and wanted to try a short board, we probably would want one that didn't have dented fins and a duct taped leash, right? So... I felt rather justified in getting rid of the surfboard.

The other reason that I have become so intent on purging the garage is because I know that we differ from Marc's parents in one crucial element- an amazing ability to organize. In summer of 2006, it took Bill (my FIL) less than 20 minutes to extract the crib from the far reaches of their very organized garage. When I started outgrowing my regular clothes this spring, it took us 30 minutes to find my maternity clothes, and I still couldn't find the bag that had my favorite items in it (I had put those aside so I'd be sure I'd have them when I got pregnant again... ironic, huh?). I was thrilled to finally find that bag yesterday... after only 3 months of searching. Yeah... See, Marc's parents garage is like a miracle of modern organizational science. If Bill hadn't gotten a Masters degree in administration, he could have gotten one in library science. That is how organized their garage is. The rafters have things suspended from them, the walls have layers of shelves... even the area above the extra refrigerator and freezer (which is also categorized I am sure. my MIL probably knows exactly where the leftovers from last month's casserole are) is remarkably full of stuff, but in a completely organized way. Now the real miracle... you are probably picturing one of those garages that looks like a storage unit, right? Something like this... (random stock photo- not our garage)
But they can actually still park two cars in there! I am so not even kidding...

Marc and I, however, have had a garage since we moved into a condo in 2007.  We have NEVER parked our cars in it. If we could somehow manage to keep everything, be able to find it all instantly, and actually be able to park our cars in it, I would be totally okay with keeping everything. But that type of intense organization just does not come naturally to us, and frankly, we do not have the time or energy to become that way... and it wouldn't last anyway; it is just not in our nature.

So... I save the important things... I still have Vinny's crib mattress, bumbo, high chair, baby bath, playpen (although it is junky and I want a new one), all his best  baby toys, and 4 years worth of clothes, bibs, receiving blankets, etc. A lot of this will get reused with Tiana, but then it will go on to a good cause, whatever it may be at that time. And we still save the really sentimental stuff too.... both Marc and I have photos and programs and mementos from our extracurricular high school activities. I have boxes of scrapbooks that I started compiling when I was like 11 years old. I have a poetry project I made in 10th grade (in which I, humorously enough, told my teacher I didn't believe that poems had "a meaning," hahahahaha). Marc has baseball cards from the 80s. We have all our yearbooks. I have my class pictures from elementary school. We worked hard to save this stuff from the flood and have now repacked it away for further reminiscing at a later date.

But today... my goal is to park in the garage. We are so, so, so very close for the first time in years. In fact, I am so sure that it will happen, I think I am even going to try to order a garage door opener for my car.

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