Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Island of Lost Toys

*Warning, this post doesn't really have a point...*

I can very vividly remember my mother telling me to clean my room often when I was younger.  She would tell me it's that time of the week, and then she would leave my room and go back to whatever else she had to do around the house.  As soon as her back was turned I would start cleaning (I was the perfect child).  She would call down the hall probably an hour later asking if I was done and I would reply that my room was spotless.  It was great.  Never any problems.

And then I would hear these words; "If I check under your bed is it going to be just as clean?"

Uh, why don't you give me a little longer there mother dearest....  I totally forgot to check under my bed.

Then she would come back and I would be SO proud that my room was clean.  And as a bonus to being clean, it was organized!  I put high value on being organized, even then, so I always felt an extra amount of accomplishment because everything was in its place.  So I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when my beautiful, clean, ORGANIZED room received a barely passing grade in the eyes of my lovely mother.

How on earth had she found fault in all the hard work I'd done?!

Turns out,  my organization skills fall into the category of "stacking" rather than the traditional "finding a place for everything".  And even more shocking than that, according to anyone other than myself, stacking is not actually a legitimate form of organizing.  Somehow I was floored by this revelation, and subsequent accusation, every single time it happened.  I just could not accept that my way wasn't actually good enough for my mother the tyrant*.

Fast forward to now and surprise surprise I'm still a stacker.  I've gotten much better at organizing, and may have even come around to the idea that stacking isn't actually cleaning.  But old habits die hard.  I was thinking about this habit of mine the other day when I was contemplating the location of my ipod (it had been a while since I'd played angry birds).  Shockingly, I tend to lose things.  Not important things, just small ticket items like keys, passports, ipods, car registration....  Ugh I hate that word: 'lose'.... because I have trouble accepting that I've actually lost them.  I found them ALL sooner or later, it just takes me a while sometimes.  Whenever I share my woes about misplacing objects with my mother she invariably goes back to the issue that I am a "stacker" and not a "putter awayer".  I 'organize' things in such a way that I don't have a prayer of finding anything until I go through them again to actually put them away.

Ah the bitter sting of self-realization.  After the initial defensiveness and my overwhelming desire to say "Nuh UH!", comes the let down and soul crushing acceptance that, yes, I lose things.

This self analysis was brought on yesterday when I was cleaning my house (actual cleaning) and came across possibly my favorite pieces of paper in the world.  Before I moved to Michigan my fam had a little pow wow where we all wrote 5 things we loved about each member of the family.  So I have five pieces of paper telling me specific things my family loves about me.  I have read them more times than I can count over the past two years and I am so grateful to have them.  Now, they were never lost.  I promise.  I knew where they were the entire time.  BUT, they were stacked in a very weird location.  And as I came across them yesterday I had the thought, "these would serve me better if they weren't stacked right here, I should put them somewhere else."

And it was then that it lightening hit me and I realized my mother had been right all along.  Dang, I hate when that happens.

*My mother was never a tyrant.  I may have called her that once or twice when I was young and naive but I will forever be grateful for the skills she drilled into me when I was younger.  Even if they include my own faults.


Elizabeth Downie said...

I've never heard the term stacker used that way, but it makes sense. I typically put things I don't want to lose in "a safe place," which means "a place I will never think of when I need to find it again."

Abbey said...

Dude. You're missing a key piece of the story as far as cleaning your room when you were little goes. You were a SHOVERINTHECLOSETER. Remember how you had the huge monster closet? SHOVERINTHECLOSETER. And yes, your one fault in life is that you lose things!! And you passed that trait on to Kyndal, thaaaaaanks. ;) x a million. Love you dearest sister.

Stephanie Curtis said...

So I love this story and I totally relate. I am horrible with papers I can't figure out what to do with them.

On a different note my mother always claimed that I was really bad at finding things. I could miss it if it was right in front of me.

Story time: One time we were leaving on vacation and I couldn't find something that I needed. My brother went in and found it right away. He came out and told me I wasn't a good looker. He was then horrified and clarified that I wasn't a good look for-er. So there it is plain and simple I am not a good looker.