The proof is in the closet

In 2000, I thought I’d conquered my genetic predisposition to being a pack rat when, before trekking off to British Columbia on a new life adventure, I sold three-quarters of everything I owned and all of Pete’s stuff in a gargantuan sale.
He’d gone ahead of me to break trail in the mountains and left the house sale and garage sale in my hands. He still grumbles about his decision to give me dominion over his stockpile, especially when he’s looking for something he thought he still owned.
Trust me, he had way too much stuff. So did I. So much so that when the garage sale was over, I’d made nearly $1,000.
I remind Pete of that when he gets snitty about his lack of “stuff” and the fact that if it wasn’t for his material sacrifices six years ago, I would never have been able to join him in the wild country.
Depending on what he’s looking for, that consolation meets with a variation of responses.
Nonetheless, the last garage sale was a cleansing like no other and the concept of “less is more” sank in like quicksand. Just getting ready for such an event was enough to make me swear I’d never pack rat that much junk in my life again.
Then I checked inventory last weekend. Funny how time wounds old promises.
When I opened the hall closet preparing to cram what “little I had” into boxes for our imminent move to the farm, it was blatantly obvious I remain cousin to the squirrel.
I’m not sure what causes this stuffing phenomenon, but I think it happens at night when no one is looking. In the closet—which I presume is meant for coats—is jammed wore-out shoes, used books, my tool box filled with Pete’s cast-offs, two large boxes of seashells, and one of those old power line insulators.
And pourquoi, pour l’amour de Pete, have I hung on to a box of school papers from the late 1970s?
I failed math class more than once, but I can add. Since high school, that particular box of homework has move with me 15 times.
What action role do verb charts from my Grade 10 French class have to play this far down the road? The same goes for an old English thesis paper I found in there—handwritten, double-spaced, on unlined white paper.
Pure punishment.
My teacher in Grade 13 had made me re-write the darn thing twice, as my initial attempts were pathetic stabs at proving my point (yet, I did go on to be the only one in my college class exempt from taking English).
And come to think of it, I’ve mastered the nagging art of proving my point, right, Pete?
Meanwhile, there’s the rocks—going on boulders—hogging the landscape of the closet shelf. I even found a box of rocks still unopened from the move back to Ontario five years ago—still clearly labelled in black marker with “Yes, there’s rocks in here” for the strapping soul who had to pick it up and put it on the van.
But the funny thing is that I can find a reason for keeping everything in that closet, including the school papers. At the very least, they’ll made good fire starter for the dry-stone fire pit Pete’s going to make for me at the farm one day.
But we’ll still have a garage sale for all his re-accumulated inventory in the shed. Besides, in the olden days, stone fire pits were made by hand, save a good hammer and chisel, and it seems to me I’ve got both in my tool box.
Problem solved.

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