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This is a work in progress, just like me. Please feel free to add your thoughts on my posts. Have a blessed day.

May 25, 2015

Opposites Attract

Many marriages truly do reflect the saying "opposites attract."

The extroverted party animal is attracted to the introverted book club member.  The class clown falls in love with the debate team leader.  The spender merges bank accounts with the saver.  The hoarder shares a home, and more importantly a basement, with the purger.

I have been married to my husband, Gary for over 25 years now.  As I look at the examples above I realize we fit many of them.  'The spender joined together with the saver' definitely fits us.  I, being the smart woman I am, will not be detailing any specifics on that comparison at this time.  I can almost hear my fellow shopaholics saying, "wise decision sister."

What I am willing to explore with you are the dynamics of the management of our "stuff." In this example, I am the purger and Gary is the hoarder. Now to be fair, Gary isn't really a hoarder, but he doesn't draw a hard line during closet and basement cleaning like I do.  Someone has to make the tough decisions in every household. 

Gary holds the belief that we will sometime in the future find a use for the things that are wasting away in our garage, basement and closets. This belief is not dampened in any way by the fact that many of these items have not been used for 20 plus years.  In the rare event that we do have a North Carolina 'Snowpocalypse,' I'll be thankful for the snowblower that's been collecting dust in our garage. Otherwise, I guess I will label him an optimist.

Sometimes to offset this optimistic tendency I do something a wife should never do- purge in secret. Purging in secret is always risky, but less so if you have a husband who doesn't miss anything or notice the changes you make around the house. For instance, if you rearrange the living room and paint the kitchen while your husband is out of town, and upon his return only  receive the response, "Did you miss me? What did you do while I was away?" I say purge away to your heart's content.  Gary does not fall into this category; he has an excellent memory. So much so, that I rely on him to remember things for me.  This saves me a lot of brain energy, of which I seem to need more and more as the years go by.  Case in point, my questioning to Gary as we peruse the menus at a restaurant we frequent,  "Do I like the veggie burger here? Have I tried their house dressing?" Most of the time he knows the answer. 

I apologize for the digression, but this example illustrates a very important point. A wife should never purge in secret when up against a memory such as this! In this situation it is inevitable; you are going to get caught and it is not going to be pretty.

Recently I cleaned out one of our attic closets where we store our luggage. I was very careful and only discarded items I was positive would not be useful to us.  I erred on the side of conservative purging with the thought that suitcases would come in handy for our upcoming move. All of these facts escaped me a few days ago, however, when Gary couldn't find one of his suitcases and asked me where it was. "Gulp." As I begin to get a nauseous feeling in my stomach, I try to remember if I threw said suitcase out. As you may have guessed, if I can't remember the important things, like whether or not I enjoy the veggie burger at our local burger joint, I have no clue as to whether or not I have thrown this suitcase out!  As I try to appear calm and not let on that I am starting to break a sweat, Gary mentions my recent closet cleaning. I am fairly confident he doesn't intend to hint at any possible blame, but the sheer fact that he remembers this event makes me more nervous than ever.  "Is it hot in here? Why do I feel the need to purge and why can't I remember what I get rid of?!"

Thankfully, I am put out of my misery fairly quickly when Gary remembers that the suitcase is in his office in Buffalo.  

I cannot tell you how many times this scenario has played out in our marriage. Early on when my purging was less controlled, the ramifications were often different. Gary would realize that a treasured possession was no longer occupying space in our basement, and I would have to try to justify why we didn't need it. "Baseball cards-really, Gary? We don't even have a boy to pass them on to." "Trophies? It's not like we are ever going to display them."  Now, before all my sports loving readers abandon me, the above examples are not at all based on reality. If you came to our home this evening, you would find plenty of trophies and baseball cards that I would gladly get rid of, but have not done so because they are important to my husband.  However, through the years my purging has caused some loud voices to be heard in our home, followed by extended periods of quietness. 

I do not have many words of wisdom for those readers who identify as purgers like me, except this: be very discerning, and keep a list!

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