2018-08-10 / Commentary

Trashy Treasures

I’m just saying...


Julia Rogers Hook Julia Rogers Hook We are living in utter chaos.

We decided to take on renovating our kitchen to make it bigger and more “party friendly” because at every get-together in our home everyone (as with most parties or dinners) gathers in the kitchen. We also have a formal dining room which we have never used except to put food on the table buffet style, so we figured the smart thing to do was to lose the dining room and enlarge the kitchen.

We thankfully have the best contractor ever and he has already done several projects for us so we know how impeccable his work is. He’s not just good with the actual labor and design, but he makes it as painless as possible by his attention to details and a time frame that speeds by. While this is a huge project with a lot of prep work, I knew it would go smoothly because of him.

What I didn’t realize was OUR part in this renovation. We had to clean out everything in both the dining room and the kitchen. EVERYTHING. Every. Single. Thing.

Pots and pans, dishes and silverware, food in the pantry, every cooking utensil we had, and everything that had formally dwelled in the kitchen.

And the same for the dining room. The buffet, the china cabinets, the desk…all of it had to be boxed up and stored in other places.

We’ve lived in this house for 15 years. In 15 years, you can accumulate A LOT of stuff!

For instance, there’s all those nooks and crannies where you stick something to “look at later” and then “later” never comes! Then there’s the paperwork for all your household records…there’s pots, there’s pans…there’s WEDDING GIFTS that were put in the back of a cabinet and forgotten.

There’s a decade and a half of STUFF that has been collected and saved…little mementos from weddings, births, and deaths, anniversaries and holidays…vacations and reunions…you name it, we had a memento of it. Every funeral, every play, every THING we’ve done in the past 15 years!

In the process, as you might guess, my husband Marty and I have not always agreed on what was to go where. We have the “save” stuff, the “donate” stuff and the “toss it” stuff. Over the weekend, there were “discussions” as to what went to which pile.

For instance… waaaay back in a forgotten cabinet, we found various kitchen tools and implements still wrapped in their original packaging we apparently put there 15 years ago when we moved in.

“Look Marty! It’s some kind of pan! This can go on the counter so we remember we have it!” I was excited.

“Julia that goes on the donate pile. We don’t need it.” He was becoming merciless in his contributions to the “give away” pile.

“But it’s BRAND NEW,” I argued.

“Yes it IS Julia! And do you know WHY it’s BRAND NEW? Because we’ve NEVER USED IT! for 15 years we got along without it so WHY would we keep it??

He had a point. I sadly relinquished my grip on the pan and let him put it in the donate pile.

As I was sulking, I spotted something shiny. I’m like a crow. Shiny things get my enthralled attention!

“Ooooh Maaaarrrty! Looook…” I cooed as I pulled out an ancient and yes, tacky seashell that was decorated with pearls and faux emeralds.

“What is THAT,” he replied, clearly not impressed.

“It’s the seashell my gramma and grandpa gave me when I was just a little girl…isn’t it beautiful?” I was caressing it and remembering.

It had no meaning to him whatsoever.

“Julia, do we seriously need an old seashell with all the crap on it coming off?”

“MARTY! This shell is full of memories! I can’t belieeeeve you’d call it crap!”

“Ok…ok! I’m sorry! Put it on the ‘keep’ pile. We’re going to have lots of storage with the new kitchen anyway.”

And so it went…I almost threw out what turned out to be some kind of his super-duper fishing equipment and I caught him tossing some of my playbills from NY Broadway shows!

What I thought was a pack of useless metal doohickeys turned out to be an important tool accessory.

He was trashing some old VHS tapes and I had to rescue several that had some early television broadcasts I had done.

Another pack of metal pieces turned out to be a wrench named Alan and some plastic measuring cups he thought came from the Dollar Store were a sentimental gift from an old friend of mine who has since passed away.

Through it all we kept our sense of humor and I guess it’s true…one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

But that tacky seashell from my grandparents is here to stay!

I’m just saying… jrhook@thecolumbiastar.com

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