Wednesday, August 29, 2012

But It’s Mine!

We have a variety of interesting views about possessions in our home. For years and years now, if a toaster or electric skillet wears out, I am gifted a new one for Mother’s Day, my birthday, or Christmas. Not Steve, not the kids. Me.
If one of the kids were to have gotten their school supplies for their birthday (all three of them have birthdays around the first day of school), they would have been in tears. Their gift lists never include toothpaste, Kleenex for their room, or wax for their braces. They always wanted toys, games and the like.
My hubby doesn’t wear sweaters. Ever. Never the less, he seems to get one every year. I urge him to return it and get something he wants. He won’t. He insists that it’s rude to return a gift. I try to explain that the reason that there is a ‘return receipt’ taped to the bottom of the gift box is for that exact reason. It’s like talking into to the wind. Pointless. There are piles of gorgeous, brand new sweaters on the top shelf of someone’s closet that date back twenty years.
Steve’s largest possessions rust in peace amid the tall grasses and overgrown brush around his shop. I had an area behind his shop bulldozed and cleared so he could put his ‘treasures’ out of sight and away from the house. Looking out, I see four tarp-covered hulks from my office window.
I look over the list of Possible Aspie Traits.
Hmmm. ‘Inappropriate attachments to objects’. Sounds about right.
The other day I asked Steve about his mound of notes on the vanity countertop near his sink.
“Do you need all of these notes?” I ask. “And if you do, do they all need to be here? May I move your ‘reserve’ of 27 new toothbrushes into the cupboard so you could keep your notes in this drawer? I’d certainly hate for them to get water splashed on them,” I continue, tongue-in-cheek.
Sweetie thought about it for a few minutes as I folded towels. His face was screwed up into a grimace of fierce concentration. He then began to meticulously pick up each and every scrap of paper, every folded sticky note (he folds them in half so they ‘don’t get stuck on anything’), and each little notebook page filled top to bottom and front to back with names, numbers, and random bits of info.
After pondering them individually for several minutes, he begins making various piles on the counter. I’ve finished the towels and put them away. I run back downstairs and start another load of wash. Grabbing a couple of handfuls of hanging clothes, I come back up and put them away in our closets.
Steve is still stooped over reading and sorting. I sit on the edge of my tub to watch.
After a while, he straightens up. “What do I do now,” he quizzes.
“Well, you have seven piles. Which pile is the discard pile?”
“Ummm, some of each,” responds the Hubster.
“Didn’t you sort them into ‘keep’ and ‘toss’ piles?” I ask.
“No, I sorted them by year,” growls Steve. He is extremely sensitive to any perceived criticism.
I look at the seven piles. I look at the clock. He’s been sorting for over an hour. I didn’t have the heart to ask him to do more.
I tell him that I think we can put them into the drawer now. We do, and the piles fit just fine as they are. Steve emits a huge sigh of relief. The thought of having to throw something away is horribly unsettling to him. Task done, he wanders off.
Slowly closing the drawer, I can’t help but laugh.

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