Sunday, June 06, 2010

My name is Karen, and I'm addicted to .....

Cardboard boxes.

There, I said it.

When I was about 23, I bought my first house. It was the cutest little 2 bedroom, 1 bath Minneapolis bungalow. I was only the third owner. The second owner had added on in the back so it had a big kitchen and a wonderful back hall / pantry area. The attic was delightfully romantic, and the yard just big enough to make me feel like a land owner.

It also had a special room in the basement, filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves on all walls. No doubt it was originally meant to hold all the canned goods the owner was expected to put up each fall, but to me, it meant one thing and one thing only.

It was a box room.

An entire storage room where I could keep all my boxes. You just never know when you are going to need one and to not have the exact size and design needed - well, I can't even imagine what might happen in this world.
This addiction grew as I aged. Even with moves (you have to save boxes to move with, you know) and marriage to a non-believer, I still managed to keep my boxes. Oh, I learned to be very clever at hiding them and justifying them and convincing myself I had to have them.

Yesterday, I decided to clean my garage. I have attempted this before, most recently when I needed to get Hillman's van into the garage for the winter. Most of the stuff in the garage has been there - untouched - since I moved into this place 3 years ago following my divorce. But in amongst the unpacked boxes of kitchen utensils and memorabilia were boxes filled with other boxes. Shoe boxes. Boxes with hinged lids. Boxes with built-in handles. Shiny boxes. Sturdy boxes. Boxes ranging from small jewelry sizes to wardrobe boxes for moving.

Brian bravely ventured out into the garage with me, and in a moment of great strength, I quickly pulled about 30 empty boxes off the shelves and from their hiding places and pushed them towards him, begging him to act quickly, while I had the ability to allow it, and gave him a box cutter.

Then I took the dogs for a walk, as I just couldn't bear to watch, and I knew if I stayed in the house I would find reasons - compelling, logical, important reasons - to keep at least a dozen of those boxes. Brian was swift and true and when I got back, the boxes were condensed into small rectangles of flat cardboard.
Today, I have mixed feelings. I am proud of myself for taking the first step, but I am also mourning, and I am thinking of at least 17 ways I really could have USED those boxes which, alas, are no more.

I am also eternally grateful to have Brian in my life - a man who looks quizzically at me but doesn't comment, listens to my tortured theatrics, and then acts - without questioning or laughing at me, and finally hugs me and congratulates me when it's done.

And FWIW ... this truly is NOT exaggerated hyperbole. This is my life.

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