The Differences

As we pack up our house, we sometimes find ourselves sitting criss-cross apple sauce (it is no longer called Indian style) on the basement floor and visiting the memories that spark us as we uncover our forgotten treasures.

Jeff: Wait a second. Isn’t that the swimsuit Meredith wore when she took baby swim lessons?

Me: It is. Check it out. This is the wool jacket I wore to that idiot girl’s farewell happy hour. Do you remember her?

Jeff: I do. Do you use these Pyrex lids?

Me: No. Donate them. I remember you actually LIKED the idiot girl, but I saw her as someone who probably had bugs swarming around her privates. Also, she pronounced your one-syllable name as two syllables, and I’ll never forgive her for that.

Jeff: Okay. Here’s a bag of make-up that looks really old. And sticky.

Me: Old and sticky like that vermin habitat of an idiot girl! Toss it. I hold in my hand three letters from friends. Two of the friends have passed away, and the other drove a really bright purple truck and adopted a great dog named Patty Fla-Fla. What does it MEAN?!

Jeff: Do we need all of these plastic glitter pumpkins?

Me: Can they be recycled? LONDON AIMEE MANN CONCERT TICKETS FROM 2002! We ate curry that night and I drank my first and final Red Bull!

We found many things in the basement, but these are noteworthy: Two of my favorite cardigans from the early 90s (I’m keeping them, even though I haven’t worn them in over 11 years.), a bunch of dried up baby bottle nipples (My kids never drank from bottles. Little weirdos. Why do I have so many nipples? Heh.), 84,922 strands of Christmas lights that no longer work (The Christmas spirit makes me feel hopeful. Perhaps someday I’ll plug them in and they’ll work. Like Carol Brady when she was able to sing on Christmas morning after not being able to use her voice for DAYS!), cold medicine that expired in 1998 (We moved here in 2003. That cold medicine should never have entered this house. Also, sometime I’ll tell you the story about how I met a potential meth addict last night.), and Meredith’s basket of soap and candles that she carried when she was two (She enjoyed sharing smells with us. Tone soap was her favorite.).


We did not find any money. And that’s a bummer, because buying a house is EXPENSIVE, Dave Ramsey. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

11 thoughts on “The Differences”

  1. Isn’t amazing what turns up? On the topic of expired medicine – I am constantly throwing out expired medicine. If you asked me, I’d say I am throwing out more medicine than I actually buy. I begin to wonder if I bought them already expired without looking. On the other hand – I also think to myself “Well, I guess I should be glad we haven’t needed much of this medicine – people must be mostly healthy – hurray!” Same thing with vitamins – except I think I buy those with good intentions and then forget to take them, and it doesn’t take long of forgetting to take something that came in a 500 pill bottle before you are really behind on the whole expiration date thing….
    Now I am tempted to sniff a bar of Tone soap next time I’m in the store, just to see what she liked. Does it still smell the same or is it “new and improved” (and maybe not as nice smelling)?

  2. We are living very similar lives except my basement crap is mostly Star Wars and other SciFy toys. There’s also six boxes of unopened mail that will remain unopened. We moved those boxes here from OK. We moved garbage.

    I think Meredith may be my spirit animal.

  3. Oh, tell us the story of the soap basket. And leave nothing out.

    Also, you HAVE to take the soap basket with you. Forever.

    Tone soap…Mmm. Smells great. The girl’s got taste.

  4. The walk down nostalgia lane is the one happy byproduct of going through your crap. I wish you luck in your house selling/buying adventures!

  5. OMG I totally remember you writing about Meredith’s soap collection!!!! So awesome that you stumbled upon the basket, I love little surprises and nostalgia like that.

  6. This is why I can never move from this house. We’ve been here 35+ years and every time we try to clean out a closet or the garage or any other thing we get hung up on the reminiscing and ultimately one of us decides this thing is just too sentimental to throw out or donate so it gets packed away again.

    We have no problem chucking the very old medicines and such, but every single thing that one of the kids made or that we gave each other always ends up in the “keep” pile, so we keep moving things around but never getting to the point where we could actually go someplace else.

    However, having those memories and sitting down every few years to recall them is good for the soul, so we keep doing that.

  7. We had to donate so many of our things (to our kids yard sale) after my mom sold her house and we had used her garage for storage. It’s bitter sweet to look through memories. My my kids school also calls sitting like that Criss Cross Apple Sauce. Heh.

  8. And, yet again, Grammy’s comment could well have been my own.

    35+ years? Check! Urge to purge? Oh, yes indeed! No way do I want to eventually leave our kids with the task of dealing with these closets. But the minute I do manage to get some space liberated in one of them, it mysteriously gets filled up again. As for the garage? At this point it might be a lost cause. Catch-all laundry room? God help you — just burn it! As for retaining the memories…at this very moment I am looking at something about which my 40-year old kid recently expressed incredulity. “Mom, I can’t believe you still even *have* that, let alone use it!” “Well, of course I do, Son — you made it for me!”

    Clean closets? Dime-a-dozen in all those glossy magazine spreads. But the memories? I guess they just don’t seem to photograph quite as well.

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