Clear out.

I am having a clear out.

I had a scan last week to determine whether my post-surgery problems are being caused by multiple hernias or the massive return of the adhesions.  The surgeon is hoping for adhesions which have to be postponed as long as possible until nothing works and desperation sets in.  I am hoping for hernias which can be mended soon but will leave me like a one woman landfill site with metal in my arm, plastic in my eyes and mesh in my stomach. All that’s missing is a seagull on my head.

So I am doing waiting for results, a miserable activity.  To distract myself I am having a clear out and hefting heavy boxes full of paper and card, absolutely the ideal activity for the herniated, in support of which I found 1980s shapewear at the back of a drawer, which, happily had not been chucked in a wardrobe clear out.  With my elastic knickers preventing my guts falling through holes I heft with a will.

Why did I buy all this junk?  More specifically, why did I buy all this junk and then complain I have no money?

Shopping telly.  Simultaneously utterly evil and lovely.  Lovely because, in theory you can send it back if you don’t like it.  This is a good thing.  I remember the bad old days of having to face down the evil bag working on the customer returns counter of the department store.  Frequently late middle aged with an iron grey, metal tight perm, a bifurcated moustache, and the rectitude that comes with having donated forty years of your life to rising from junior sales assistant to manageress of the returns department.

The most recent was encountered in a well-known high street store, from which I had purchased clothing for my then house-bound mother to try, on the understanding that it could be returned.  On the returns counter was you-know-who.  Such a fine specimen of the breed that she won effortlessly.

‘This garment has been worn!’

‘My mother tried it on, yes.’

‘And wore it.  There is fluff on the hem.  Look!’

‘I am sorry.’

‘We cannot accept garments that have been worn.’

‘I had to take it home for her to try on.  The other lady…………….’

You can imagine the full half hour.  In the end I dumped both garments in the charity box.  I only went back shopping to our local branch years later for SMIL.

Television shopping came as such a relief, I spend under the mistaken belief that I will remember to send it back, after I have worn it, used it and do not like it.  I recently bought a pair of PIR lights.  They were demonstrated inside wardrobes.  I wanted one for the porch, next to the keyhole on the front door and one for my bathroom.  My bathroom light is twinned with the fan.  At night the fan, next to the OH’s bedroom, is very evident.  So temporary blinding by the sensitive PIR light solves the problem, in theory.  In practice the light goes on for a few seconds then off.  Then on again when you move and then off.  Then on if you walk down the corridor.  It does it all day too, so it needs recharging every few days.  So I now have it permanently off.  We like the light in the porch, I hate the light in my bathroom, part of a two-part set.  The real dilemma is whether to keep the long cardboard box it came in, so it can be sent back, or chuck it into the recycling, because it is clogging up the garage along with numerous other cardboard boxes.

I do use cardboard boxes.  I send stuff to family members and am completely allergic to buying a new one for the purpose.  So I keep the boxes stuff arrives in.

As I do this frequently, you would imagine I would always have a box of the right size for the contents I intend to put in it, wouldn’t you?

Imagine away.  I also know that the suitably sized contents will appear five seconds after I have ripped a box to pieces and stuck it in the recycling.

Of course I am running a lockdown library which involves books from many houses locally being stored in the garage until they are sufficiently quarantined to be put out.  So space is at a premium.

I thought I might tidy my craft room (laugh now) by taking the metal chest of many drawers bought in a 2nd hand office sale years ago, out of the garage and putting it in the craft room to replace the really rubbish plastic chest of drawers that currently houses paints, dyes, moulds, and assorted junk.

In two days of hefting I basically relocated the plastic drawers to the garage and the metal drawers upstairs, managing only to jettison dust and some drawer labels.  Now, when I want some silk paint I’ll have to go downstairs to the garage.  Handy.

I always thought by remaining firmly in the 1960s as far as technology was concerned I’d avoid contributing to appliance landfill.  Then I bought CD’s to print out images to cut out with dies.  The manufacturers moved smoothly on to memory sticks and so did my computer, leaving me with large numbers of CDs I’d saved to enjoy later.  My cousin gave me CDs with family photos on them.  I squint along the grooves, if I’m feeling nostalgic.

In theory shopping telly with its wonderful returns policy circumvented the necessity of knowing thyself.  The anticipated joy of never having to wear clothing that was fine in the changing room but too tight, too scratchy, too riding up every time you breathed, too shrinking in the wash and just no good, in real life, was very beguiling.  I remember some dreadful clothing I was bought as a child.  I had a brown houndstooth check suit with a short sleeved top and a skirt that were edged with a brown trim made of razor blades.  I had red weals round my neck, arms and knees after half an hour.  I had to wear it until I grew out of it.  I grew slowly and still do.  Maybe that’s why I have lumpy knees now.  It’s an allergic reaction.

My basic problem is keeping stuff, in every way.  Clothing arrives, I like it so I do not wear it because it is new.  Crafting supplies arrive.  I like them but I have to wash the kitchen floor before I will allow myself to play with the stuff, then I need to wash the old clothes, then vacuum, then I am too tired to do anything, then it is bedtime.

There’s probably a syndrome for it.  One day I will buy something, use it instantly and enjoy it and then throw the leftovers away. Then I wouldn’t have to have clear-outs.

Dream on.

On the other hand I am currently wearing a jumper I bought in a sale three years ago, for the first time, it is extremely orange, very warm, and the taint of spending money on clothes just for myself appears to have evaporated in the wardrobe.


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