Sometimes you get a smack in the rear from life. The trigger can be most anything. In my case, I have inherited my mother's "flatsurfacitis" gene. People with this affliction are subject to suddenly finding there is no room to eat on the table, piled as it is with assorted stacks of "very important papers." All flat surfaces are fair game, be it a table, kitchen counter or dresser.
These papers range in size from torn corners of napkins to post-it-notes to full size sheets of binder paper and anything in between. The stacks may also include books or magazines not put away, (after all, I don't want to forget to actually read them). This "must have" information runs the gamut from phone numbers to old bills and recipes. We flatsurfacitis sufferers don't want to lose any of it, so it's been carefully saved.
Eventually, the piles may migrate to other surfaces. The ironing board is a favorite. Portable as it is, the unsightly mess can simply be shuffled about to various out-of-the-way spots around the house. (But at least the table is now clear.) After all, who irons anymore anyway? "Ironing" is an obscene word in my house.
Company's coming? Put it in the bedroom. Need to change the bedding and vacuum the carpet? No problem. Stick the thing into the office. Ooops--that was a mistake--need to use the office. Oh, well, put it in the guest room; no one ever comes to visit overnight anyway. Uh-oh--can't sleep? Disturbing hubby? Need the guest room!
Oh, great! The thing is wedged against the door, and I can barely squeeze inside. How on earth did that happen? Make note to self: must dig in (tomorrow!) and start sorting out this crud. And so tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...and many tomorrows later, I've arrived at to-day--as in to-do to-day! No more putting it off. Something must be done, for I can barely squeeze into the "guest" room; it's become more storage locker than anything else.
Mind you, I don't hoard all manner of junk until my whole house is full. I'm not one of those people who collect so much crap that they can barely navigate through tiny pathways between all their "collections." Not by a long shot. I have books, family memorabilia from the current generation, and heirlooms. Oh, and my important papers.
I don't shop at flea markets, raid dumpsters or go midnight shopping on trash day. It's just that it's a bit too much to fit into what might be considered proper storage and display areas. I'm a family history buff, so many of my important papers are tidbits waiting to be entered into my genealogy program, or scrap-booked.
Some of my 'stuff' is clothing that is, what's the new catch-phrase? "Gently worn." I'm quite sure it will fit again--one of these days. So there it sits. Ah, here's another pair of pants--full of paint stains. Well, I'm sure one day there will be another painting project, and I wouldn't want to ruin another pair of pants, so I'd better save these. My original old Nintendo game is in there. One of these days...real soon...(as soon as I can figure out all the cables and what goes where)...I'm going to hook it up to the TV next to hubby's X-Box, so I can play my old games I enjoyed.
No matter. While sorting, I eventually get sidetracked. I come by that honestly, as well. After all, I grew up in a household facetiously nicknamed "Sidetrack Manor." But I digress. Today's smack in the rear came in the form of an old ledger accounting book that fell from a closet shelf and conked me on the noggin. It was one of the many such books my mother used over the years to keep track of household finances.
Hubby and I sat down to read it. Wow. This was one I had saved for just such comparisons. The rest, I tossed when we sold Mom's house. The book covers the period from 2 years before I was born; 1946, through 1954 when I was 6 years old. Comparing what things cost back then to what we pay now was nothing short of shocking. Keep in mind that our current home is only slightly larger in square footage than the house where I grew up. Our house is fully insulated with a new, efficient furnace. I grew up in a house with a humongous and not-so-efficient furnace and the building was totally uninsulated.
Here's a sampling of monthly costs:
|Item or Service||1946||2011|
|Gas and Electric||$3.35||$250.00|
|Mortgage Payment (2011 adjusted to actual amount)||$34.14||$2,200.00|
This bit of sticker shock made me feel old, for it reminded me that I can recall bread being sold for twenty-five-cents a loaf, and a quart of milk the same. A nickel candy bar was actually a nickel, and a dime bought a week's supply of bubble gum. (Oh--just remembered--I am old!)
It also reminded me of why I save such antiques: it is possible fodder for an angry letter to The Powers That Be . I'll write that letter...someday.