Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Dish

MY MOM sent me this e-mail yesterday that I wanted to share with everyone because I think her observations are really fascinating. And I've been wanting to inject a little of her perspective into the blog.

So, without further ado, I introduce my Mom...


Throughout your whole house saga and particularly recently, I have been pretty much in my head about you and Bob selling everything and traveling lightly. It sounded romantic, adventurous and freeing. UNTIL...the white dish conversation. When you told me you couldn't even get $25.00 for the Crate&Barrel set of white dishes that we bought you for your 4th anniversary, everything became real for me. I started thinking about what will you do when you land somewhere??? What will you eat on and with what utensils??? You're giving your wonderful Crate&Barrel stainless to Tommy... such lovely "things" and now your casual ware will probably be Scott paper plates.

Getting rid of those white dishes really bothered me. Not because I gave them to you, but it was like no one wanted them even for 25 lousy dollars! Then I thought of registering for things when you got married...all the time and energy that went into those choices, and all the people who chose your dishes and stainless to give to you as just gone for a few bucks and someone else's whim at a garage sale on a Saturday afternoon.

But, my upset really got me thinking. When Tom and I returned home after living on board our boat for a year, I was amazed at all the "stuff" we had in our house. It made me nervous and agitated. After cooking out of one pot and one pan for one year and having the time of our lives, our excess at home made me feel somewhat guilty. But, that was two years ago and somehow I've gotten sucked back into my things.

Your white dishes made me count my own sets of dishes. And guess what I discovered?! We own 7 complete sets of dishes not counting our Christmas china. Seven! Isn't that insane? And how much could I sell them for? Well, apparently not even $25.00.



A couple of things....

1. We have decided to keep the Crate&Barrel everyday china that no one wanted even for $25. That's going in our tiny storage unit that our friend has rented on our behalf.

2. Mom and Tom's year on the boat has been in my thoughts often through this whole house - as Mom called it- Saga. They had all they needed in one boat. A tiny space. Two people and a dog. They made it work. My grandparents did the same thing. Every summer they lived on their sailboat on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Detroit. Mom's comparison of the two lives-- boat life and house life-- speaks to an interesting phenomena. We get attached to the things we have. But when we don't have them, it's often true that we don't miss them. Seven sets of dishes. I had 5 water pitchers that I sold at the sale. 5 water pitchers? Who needs 5 water pitchers?!

Thanks, Mom, for your e-mail and allowing me to share it!

Littof readers, what's your equivalent of Mom's 7 sets of dishes or my 5 water pitchers?


So, funny story... Usually Bob reads each post before I post it. Not this one. This one he read after I had already posted it. And this is the conversation that followed:

BOB: We decided to keep the dishes?! I don't remember deciding that.
ME: You don't?
BOB: No.
ME: I thought we did.
BOB: Uh, I don't think so.
ME: Oh. So you don't want to keep them?
BOB: (emphatic) No.
ME: Well, I guess we'll talk about it.

So the fate of the dishes remains undecided. I have a feeling that Bob will win this one, though. After all, the point is to let it all go. Dishes included. Sorry, Mom!


Julie said...

Vases! I cannot believe how many vases I own. And these days I prefer to be outside with the flowers rather than bringing them indoors. Tried to give away a bunch on freecycle and no one wanted them! Apparently all of us have way, way too much stuff!

Meghan said...

I have probably a dozen throw blankets, dating back to my middle school years, I can't bring myself to throw out or give away, because there's a story behind all of them. But come on! I'm 5'9" and they don't even keep me covered on the couch, unless I'm in the fetal position. I need to let go of them. Soon.

NoHoJax said...

Well, I bought one of those water pitchers, so now I have two.

I guess my pitcher/dish equivalent would be my collection of snow globes. I've just had them for so long they'd be hard to give up...I think I've always wanted to be the person who could live out of a small suitcase and not cling to material things, but I've realized I'm not that person. Though I am getting better about clutter.

Other than buying that water pitcher. ;)

Anonymous said...

There are MANY things I could mention here, but being from Texas, I have to mention my dad's gun collection. Really, how many guns do we actually need? Shotguns, rifles, many brands, I've forgotten all of them. We have 2 heavy-duty safes to store them in now...and don't get me started on his bow-hunting equipment.

Jennifer said...

At our wedding we got what I called "the ugly vase collection" (as well as some non ugly vases that we still have) but I remember finding out that one horrific judaica vase was $200 so I felt like I couldn't get rid of it. It took up space. We never used it. Finally sold it at a yard sale for a few bucks.

Mike has a box of albums that he hasn't opened in the entire time I've known him - we've been married 9 years. He doesn't own a turntable. And still we battle about getting rid of them. Probaby warped by now anyway!

There is something enviable about having to let go - lightening up physically and metaphysically - it's why those organizing shows are a hit, why people charge 100 an hour to help you throw out stuff. But they don't go back to those clean sweep houses and see what else these people have collected since, do they?

pam weinert said...

Okay, besides the 7 sets of dishes the other "collectible" is all the photo albums we have in our storage shed. These are pictures of distant relatives from long ago.Who are these people we're paying $100 a month to store in moldy old albums?They sit on top of the 10 boxes of Christmas decorations we don't need and don't use.Boy am I ever going to start throwing stuff out.

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Yay, Mom! Your first comment on Littof. Hooray.

So, Bob just had an idea regarding your photo albums. I understand why you guys would want to hold onto them, but at $100 that's a big cost. What you could do is pay someone to digitally archive the photographs... then you'd always have them digitally and they wouldn't age any more, either. The cost of paying someone to archive them digitally is probably way less than what you're paying to store them. Just a thought.

It's a process, isn't it? I'm in the middle of going through what's left in the house after the sale and deciding what to store, sell and give away. I have a feeling that when the house is completely empty and we have nothing but a couple of boxes and bags in the car, I am going to feel a huge sense of satisfaction.

Okay- thanks for the comments everyone! Back to sorting.

Kim Hooper said...

I love moms...

Another great post. I think we all get sucked into having too many things. We live in a society where supermarkets have 8 brands of spaghetti sauce. There is just so much excess. I have way too many kitchen utensils. I could stuff my condo with people from wall to wall and they could all have a fork. I don't know why. I also have all these random towels and sheet sets. I try to give stuff to Goodwill once or twice a year and every year I'm amazed at how much I have to give away. It's freeing.

Love in the Time of Foreclosure said...

Kim, your post just gave me an idea. I would LOVE to see a picture of what you describe--- your condo packed wall to wall with people each holding a fork. Do it. And take a picture. Then send it to me and I'll post it.

Mom, I'd love to see your 7 sets of dishes or your collection of Christmas tress. Photograph that. Send it to me and I'll post it.

Anyone else... your collection of vases. Your too many throw blankets... take a picture. Send it to me.


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