If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Sunday, August 15

Not at All What I Intended

I have been on a bit of a ... cleaning/organization binge lately. I hate to call it that, I cringe at the thought of "organization". I guess it is really more of an extreme closet purge. I lost some weight recently and I have decided that I am not going to gain it back. So, for the second time in my adult life, I emptied my closet of everything that was too big and sold most of it in a yard sale last Saturday. The rest is boxed up for Goodwill or some other charity. While our house is blessed with ample closet space, I have to confess that most of them are packed to the rafters with our "stuff". Hubs and I have a walk-in closet in our bedroom and currently my half, for the first time in our 16 year marriage, looks positively skeletal. The racks hold more empty hangers than actual clothes and the shelves on top, previously stacked with piles of sweaters, sweatpants, and other items of clothing are sparsely populated now with only what fits. (I did keep all my XL sweatshirts because hey, who doesn't like the feeling of a giant sweatshirt.) Now that our closet is easier to "walk in" to, I am feeling the urge to purge elsewhere. And boy do I need to!

I have, on occasion, watched the show "Hoarders" on A&E and shudder at the thought that there is any possibility of me ending up like that. I would hope my husband wouldn't let it get so far as those cases, but I guess anything can happen when it is a disease, right? I guess it is this kind of thinking that fuels my occasional burst of closet cleaning, attic reduction, and garage organization. I know people can't help themselves, and I truly feel so bad for them having to live that way. But I also do not think I would want to live the other way, with OCD or something like that, as evidenced on the show "Obsessed" which strangely enough is also on A&E. I saw one episode recently where a guy had an obsession with El Caminos and was convinced if he saw one something bad would happen. He had to "wash" the El Camino luck off him. He was also convinced that 2 of his brothers were bad luck and hadn't seen them in years. I thought, gee what if his brother drove up IN AN EL CAMINO! Wow, that would be good television, freak him the f*ck out! Part of his "immersion" therapy was, eventually, driving in an El Camino to his brother's house for a visit. My correct diagnosis led me to believe that I should be a psychologist or perhaps I just
understand so well because I have my own "issues".

Every night before bed, I have to physically check each door in the house to make sure it is locked. Hubby can't do it and just tell me they are locked. I mean, he can but it won't set my mind at ease. Nope, I must check them myself. The thought that I didn't check has actually woken me up out of a sound sleep and caused me to trek through the house checking every door. But I don't think I have OCD....it is just caution, right? ( I know my friend Patrick can make interesting comments/diagnosis here, as he is studying psychology. or possibly my former wonderful therapist who says she is checking in on my blog regularly.)

But anyway, I was cleaning out a closet earlier in the week and I came across a card that has been going back and forth between my brother and myself for a couple of years now. A lot of readers have asked me about my brother, and he is a whole 'nother issue all together. But, suffice it to say we are very different people and have taken different paths in life. We don't talk a lot and have never been close like most brothers and sisters are. At least the ones I know. But we get along mostly, except when it comes to things like food, guns and hunting, religion, glenn beck (he doesn't deserve caps in my opinion), racial issues, education, gay marriage and church. So maybe the fact that I avoid ALL these topics, lest we end up in an epic adult screaming match such as the one about racism and religion that ruined my last birthday, accounts for why we don't talk. What is left to talk about, really?

Anyway, despite all our differences I have to say that my brother is still my brother, conservative redneck that he is, and he is without a doubt one of the most hilarious people I know. And utterly tortured, but that is another story. He had a lot of issues growing up, not the least of which was having a sister who had a high IQ, made good grades, went to college and was involved in school and church activities (not to mention how cute, likeable and modest she was). Because of that and a lot of other personal issues (that I feel the parents left unresolved) he ended up dropping out of high school his junior year. So when my parents called me in Feb. 2009 to tell me he had completed his GED at the age of 38 I was so proud of him. I wanted to acknowledge it, so I sent him the card below knowing he wouldn't appreciate something serious and sappy.

and the inside said this:

So it is cut off for a reason, but I wrote "Great Job, Steve! Congrats on the diploma M&M". Like I said, this was in February, and I kind of forgot about sending it because I was busy being wrapped up with my own life (as usual) and working to finish up a graphic design degree at the age of 41. 

So later that spring, when my graduation day rolled around, Mom and Dad came up for a visit. The day the left I received an envelope in the mail with my dad's business logo on it. I thought it peculiar that they mailed me something when they had been with me for 5 days. How did it even get mailed? When I turned the envelope over, written on the back was "pardon the borrowed envelope" so I ripped it open not knowing what would be inside. But what I found was this:

What the heck, someone sent me the same card I sent him? How wierd is that? I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on until I opened the card and found the following changes made inside.
So when I saw this I have to say I laughed uncontrollably! 
Time went by and October rolled around. My birthday. I was spending it in KY with family and on the day of my birthday this card was sitting on the breakfast table in front of my plate:

(It was my 42nd birthday)

This was the most my brother and I had communicated in all our adult years. I don't recall that he ever once sent me a birthday card prior to this. My husband had secured a job which would bring us back to our hometown and I had visions of becoming friends with my brother, having him over for dinner, going places together, and having a real relationship. Which makes it all the more painful to think how that very afternoon we ended up trapped in my dad's car, screaming at each other over a hate filled remark he made and how I do not think you can be a christian while harboring so much hate and resentment for other people. How that just doesn't work for me. That day, on my 42nd birthday, he and and my parents told me flat out that I am going to hell because, although I feel that people in this country should all be treated equally, and though I volunteer my time for different causes, and I help my friends out not only emotionally but financially and everything else,  I won't attend a church in which the preacher keeps his gun collection showcased in his living room. I won't attend a church in which they can judge me or anyone else. And I won't attend a church where members can think of fellow humans with such vehement hate in their hearts.

So I guess underneath it all, this is why I hang on to things like these. Life was so much easier when I just let them think I was who they wanted me to be. Life is complicated, religion is complicated, beliefs and lies and truths are complicated. Memories are simple. Rocking chairs in which I read when I was little are simple, china cabinets from hubby's gran-gran's house are simple, pins worn by my grandma are simple. The memories captured in pictures, the cards sent for many birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries with supportive sentiments are simple and cherished memories. The parts of life to which we cling. Waking up from a bad dream and being held by your mother, getting hugs from a brother or sister when you are homesick at camp, or phone calls and visits when someone you love is teetering on the brink of death. Some days these memories can make up for all the realities. So some days, I could easily imagine why people have to hoard. And I continue to unapologetically hoard all these memories.

This isn't remotely what I intended to post today, but I am finding out that what comes out when writing isn't always what you intended. My life...

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