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“Dear ‘Packrat Jr.’”… oh, I know you didn’t.

Issue Date: Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2006

The move? Honestly? It really wasn’t that big of a deal. I fretted and sweated for over a month… and packed and packed and sweated some more for days and days before the actual move. My sleep? Was interrupted by bad dreams that I was the supposed girlfriend of Biz Markie. He didn’t do anything… at all. He would just sit there and breathe with his mouth open. Also that Puff Daddy/Puffy/P. Diddy/Diddy found some pants in my suitcase that weren’t mine (total Hammer pants) and told me that he was going to tell my mom. It was a nightmare.

But the move went pretty smoothly. I hired ABC Relocation Systems and Tammie and her crew did an amazing job. She and one of her crew packed me (mostly the kitchen and breakable stuff) while three others moved out the big furniture and the stuff that was already in boxes (everything else). They brought a huge truck, filled it up and even went back to the old house to get a second load. The guys put my bed back together, hooked up the washer and dryer and all of the things that really don’t seem like a big deal but after a full day of moving really make a difference.

I boarded the cat and had him bathed/groomed. The lady at the Cat Connection place said that Max did fine with his bath and when I picked him up Saturday afternoon he smelled so good. He was a little pissed and was shedding like a dried out Christmas tree, but he warmed up to the new house pretty quickly.

I have this thing. When something huge happens like: a baby is born, someone goes into the hospital, I have to make dinner reservations for 600 people or whatever you consider large… I am so cool, calm and collected. When something small happens like: a movie rental is late, or… (well, let’s just leave it at that. It works with the analogy.) I completely lose my shit.

“Rent? What rent? Oh, rent is due? Ok. Oh, we don’t have money? It’ll be fine. I’ll donate plasma or whatever.”* ::shrug::

“OH MY GOOD N’ PLENTY LORD… You can NOT be serious. You ARE!? We have had that library book since WHEN!?!??!?!?!” (Commence with gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing.)

*Please note: This has never happened since I have been married to Mister. Before that? Heh. Well, let’s just say I had my priorities a bit skewed. “I’ll buy tonight!” “Sue, the bill is for five people.” “S’ok, ya’ll can spot me next time.”

So, yeah, my sense of propriety is a bit jacked when it comes to my reactions sometimes. I always freak completely when I move. I am so attached to things that don’t mean a shit to anyone else.

I went to the old house one evening while Mister was working late and I cleaned out the space under my bathroom sinks and the drawers.

Ya’ll? I threw away Clairol hair curlers (rollers, whatever) that I have had since the sixth or seventh grade. They were those brown ones with the three different sized rollers and the little dot on the top that would turn from red to black when the curlers were ready.

Let’s pick this apart for a minute shall we?

I will be thirty-four in about two weeks. What age are you in the seventh grade? Thirteen? Yeah, thirteen. So, those curlers, with their lightly (“brown suede”) flocked surfaces had about twenty-some-odd years of dead hair built up on them. That is fucking foul. Yes, yes… I would de-hair them when I used them, the curlers mainly, but those metal rods that did the heating… not so much. By the time you got around to letting them heat up, separating your hair into pieces to be rolled onto a hot ass wax filled curlers (that burned the shit out of your ears) and then went and did your make up and got dressed so the curlers could cool down… an hour (::cough:: TWO) or more had passed. The last thing I wanted to do was to burn my fingers on those metal rods just to get a few stray pieces of hair out from between them. So, it built up. Gross.

I threw away a billion tee-tiny little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mouthwash… tiny little sewing kits, shower caps and the like from hotels across the nation. I travel so much and for some reason I always take the toiletries. I think it started when I was younger. My daddy was a travelin man and my mother fixed this little lined basket with all of the shampoos, conditioners, little tiny things of floss, mouthwash and sewing kits. She would put it in the bathroom when we had guests staying at the house in case they wanted their “own” toiletries. Sure, it was a nice gesture, but hi, I am a DINK (dual income no kids). You’d think we could afford some damn shampoo.

Goodness gracious. Do NOT get me started on the eleventy normal sized (and some Jumbo from Sam’s) shampoo and conditioner bottles that each still had a dollop of product inside. “But I’m going to combine all of them and use what is left!” Shut up Scarlett, you do not need to make a freaking dress out of the curtains. Go to Wal*Mart for Martha Stewart’s sake.

I threw away bags and bags inside of bags. What the hell is the deal with me and bags? I found several silver Saks bags with other bags inside them. Each one would have a whole little armada of travel necessities. It was like I would pack one, take it with me on the trip, come home and put it under the sink without unpacking it. The next trip? I’d pack another one and do the same damn thing.

I opened my make up drawer with hesitation. Inside I have an organizer, just like one of those fancy things you can purchase from the Container Store to keep your entire make up collection or utensils handy and organized. Um, yeah. Not so much. Let’s just say that I packed what I wanted and threw away over thirteen lipsticks, glosses and liners… six tubes of mascara, an old ass powder brush, foundation (three bottles) for a shade of tan I will never be again, blush, several containers of face powder, liquid eyeliner that I can not get even for the life of me, green eye shadow (GREEN!... as in a shade of green not found in nature), three things of perfume and innumerable liners, sticks and liquids of this of that product.

What the hell is wrong with me?

My mother… MY MOTHER who has saved twenty years of Southern Living magazine and makes my dad pack and move that shit… is calling me a pack rat. In an email from last Thursday, her salutation was as such; “Dear ‘Packrat Jr.’”… oh, I know you didn’t.

Several moves ago… when I moved in with Mister was a comedy of errors… and rich fodder for Mister to make fun of me for years to come. His favorite? “Baby?” He says with much trepidation. “Uhhhhmmmm, do you need seven phone books?” I replied, “What?” “These seven phone books in your pantry.” “Seven phone books… in my… pantry?” “MmmmHmmm, do you get calls from people on Who Wants to be a Millionaire needing a lifeline? ‘Susan, this is Earl, do you know the phone number to the Ace Hardware on 14th Street in Plano… from 1976?’” Heh.

I don’t know why I save all the stuff I do.

Here’s a secret. In the trunk of the hoopty are enough books for boredom material and to make a fire if necessary, empty bottles of water (so that I can melt snow for drinking water if I am ever stuck in a snow bank… duh.), a jacket, packaged crackers and tissue for if I ever need to potty in the woods (because… I am a bear).

I think it may be the whole poverty thing from Nacogdoches.

Speaking of…

Monday I took off of work. I wanted to relax after the weekend move and my sinuses were stuffed up and running at the same time. Neat trick huh? I was planning on leisurely unpacking a box or two while sitting on my new furniture, maybe taking a nap… drinking plenty of liquids and generally just recuperating. Mister decided to stay home to so my plans of a leisurely day went straight out the window.

We hung a television with a wall mount/bracket thing. We hung pictures. We adjusted the height of the fan in the living room. We unpacked boxes. You name it… we were workin it and by 6:30 pm I was worn out.

My phone rang and the following took place:

Ring Ring…
(The phone actually said “UKNOWN CALLER” because whoever it was called with a blocked phone number.)

Self: Susan speaking.
Unknown Caller: Is this Susan?
Self: (thinking ‘Yes, dumbass, I just said ‘Susan speaking.’) Yes, it is, may I help you?
Unknown Caller: Do you know who this is?
Self: No, I don’t.
Unknown Caller: You really have no idea who this is?
Self: (starting to get annoyed) No.

By this time Mister has his eyebrow cocked so far up his forehead it was sitting on top of his skull.

Unknown Caller: This is your ex-husband.
Self: Oh,… Hi, [real name].

(Pointed look at Mister at this revelation.)

X: How are you?
Self: Fine… and you?

(Look at Mister and mouth, ‘What the fuck?’)

X: Well, I was just in town and I wanted to just call and see how you are.
Self: Doing well… What are you doing in town?
X: I’m here for a homicide convention.
Self: Sounds… fun?
X: Not really… how have you been doing?
Self: Fine, my husband and I just bought a home, it is my first home ever and I am very excited.
X: Really, where are you living?
Self: Plano.
X: Which part?
Self: The North part.

(Look at Mister with an “I am very uncomfortable with this” look.)

X: Well, I am staying over here at [hotel] right off of [street and highway] and I just wanted to call and see if I could take you and your husband to dinner one night this week.
Self: Dinner?

(Mister looks over with a “please do not invite him here for the love of Pete Rose” look.)

X: Yeah, just to catch up.
Self: …
X: So, how are your momma and daddy?
Self: They are doing well.

And the rest of the conversation was him asking how my parents are, my sister and her family, what I was doing for a living (Answer: Same thing that I have been doing for the past five some odd years.), if my daddy was still fishing and blah blah blah.

X: So, here is my number, and check with your husband to see if he is free and let me know if you would like to go to dinner this week.
Self: O…K?
X: Bye, now.
Self: Bye.

(Debra Jean is so going to kick my ass for not calling her immediately.)
(My sister is still cackling that I had no clue who he was and didn’t recognize his voice.)

So, I got off the phone and realized that I probably came off sounding totally like a rude ass because I was so thrown off by the call. I retold Mister about the side of the conversation he didn’t hear and then we went back to unpacking or whatever. About twenty minutes later we went outside to smoke (I know.) and Mister said to me, “So… do you want to have dinner with X?” And my answer, “Oh, shit… I had already forgotten all about that.” Then after about 45 seconds of ponder time was, “You know, not to be a bitch or anything, but you? Are mine. And I do not want to share you with my ex-husband.” Mister said that whatever I wanted to do he would stand behind me.

I thought about it a little more and concluded, “Here’s the deal. X is really a nice guy, a likeable guy. He wants everyone to like him… and I… I really don’t want you to like my ex-husband.”

So Tuesday afternoon I called Sil (my g/f in Chicago who was THERE for the whole first marriage debacle) and told her about the phone call. She listened and “Holy SHIT!”-ed and “OH My GOD!”-ed in all the right places and then she gave me a gift. I was feeling all sorts of pressure for calling X back to tell him “No.” on the dinner thing, but not wanting to get that phone call from his present wife when she sees his phone bill all, “Why are you talking to my husband, bitch!? I saw that he called you and YOU CALLED HIM BACK!” and I’d be all, “Look, lady….” And it got ugly… in my head, and I have grown out of that drama. So Sil gave me the gift of, “You do not owe him anything. You do not have to share your life with him anymore. You are under no obligation to have dinner with him or even call him back. Sue, you don’t have to call him back At… All.”

I knew that ya’ll. I knew that. But it was so nice to hear someone say it out loud. Mister is mine. I will not share this wonderful gift that I have been given with someone like X.

And this afternoon after I filled J.Wo (of the Houston Wo’s) in on the situation she sent me this awesome email (copied and pasted for your enjoyment and for my account):

I agree and approve of your decision, Sil's advice, et al.

Good for you!!! You don't owe [X] anything!!! You do owe it to yourself to nourish the relationships that matter to you... with [Mister], your family, and your friends who are will do whatever they can to help you be the best Sue you can be (Go Army:). [X] doesn't fall into any of those categories.

[Mister] may like his personality, but [Mister] is smart enough to differentiate between the surface [X] and the crap you put up with!!!

Love you, You ROCK

Of course she used their correct names and all of that. I love my friends.

And, I love you too.


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To understand this dear reward (above) at all, you must hie thee on and read gatsby’s grape ape entry and my comments.

And because of said comments he sent me my very own dream turtle in an email titled wee gift with these words attached, “my purple monkey is booked solid so i ordered you a tangerine turtle. hope he proves helpful.”

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