He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

August 9, 2007

Cleaning house, if I can stop crying long enough

Yesterday, when I wasn't sleeping I was mostly sitting on the couch knitting a tiny sweater for my dog and watching a Clean House marathon on the Style network. On days when I feel good and have time for stuff like housework, I enjoy Clean House (or Clean Sweep on TLC) for the motivating effect these shows tend to have on me. Yesterday, though, I wasn't moving from that couch unless I had to, unless it was to go get in bed for a change of cushy scenery, so it mainly served as background accompaniment to the knitting.

But then they showed one episode that caught my attention and just absolutely KILLED me. They were at the home of a widow and her kids, helping them clear out/let go of clutter that belonged to their husband/father, who had died tragically three years previously. It went from sad to worse when the mom broke down and started crying and Niecy Nash started comforting her as they bonded over the tragic death of Niecy's brother. And as if that wasn't enough, the eldest son was in the military, stationed temporarily in Germany while waiting to be shipped to Iraq. I managed to mostly maintain a stoic face with an occasional teary-eyed flareup that could easily be blamed on allergies, until one of the designers came across the young daughter, wearing one of her dad's shirts because she didn't want them to throw it away, and sobbing because she missed her dad, and she was afraid her brother would never come back from Iraq, and it was all too much for her, and apparently it was too much for me, too, because this is where I put down the knitting and started sobbing.

Clean House! You're supposed to be my funny go-to when I need cleaning motivation! You're supposed to make me feel better about myself because at least my house doesn't look that bad, and okay, sometimes it does, but at least I can usually manage to fix it without requiring the intervention of a reality show. You're supposed to inspire me to get off my butt and get rid of my useless crap! You're not Extreme Home Makeover! You're not supposed to leave me a sobbing, snot-soaked, damp-shirted mess! I mean, God bless you for helping that woman and her family, but stop it! Give me back my feel-good cheesy-comedy-laced cleaning inspiration, wherein the most upsetting thing is the drastic changes in Niecy's hairstyles from one segment to the next! How am I supposed to clean anything if I'm too busy being all touched and turning into a big snotty blob of emotional goo?

Seriously, though: if those folks can bear to part with their dad's stuff, then surely I can stand to give up the bulk of my fangirl collections. We're talking about paraphernalia and artifacts (action figures, Happy Meal (or equivalent) toys, outdated calendars which nevertheless contain much eye candy, books, posters, candy containers and tins, etc.) from Buffy, Star Wars and Batman. Possibly also Phantom of the Opera, but I haven't decided whether I'm prepared to go there yet, 'cause there's some nice stuff in that collection. As for the rest, though, I think the time has come to let go. I'll keep a few choice items, things that I went to a lot of trouble to get in the first place, or that have autographs on them, or have a more special place than the rest in my heart. Some of the stuff actually has bad memories and sadness attached, and I'm sure it can be nothing but healthy to purge those. At any rate, what I can't successfully eBay, I think I'll just offer up here over the next bunch of weeks as contest prizes.

So, if any of that stuff interests you, watch this space for your chance to get some of it. And none of it will come with tragically sad stories that make you abandon your knitting and cry.

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