Friday, August 14, 2009

Fools Under Lotsa Loot

TLC is doing a new show about "hoarders". My fear is that my family will Tivo it...and then tie me to a chair to make me watch it. (after they move the magazines, books and newspapers off the chair). Americans are on our way to yet-another-support-group. Instead of AA, or Overeaters Anonymous, it'll be called "FULL". That stands for 'Fools Under Lotsa Loot". We'll have to attend meetings. We'll stand up and admit, "My house is full. My sewing room is full. My basement is full. I have too much stuff."

Every Saturday -- I spend the day with my friend Bert. We kick around, go to auctions, do some garage-saling, maybe stop at a church rummage sale or a Goodwill store. We love our Saturdays. The problem, of course -- is that we both have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. Although Bert is more discerning than me -- my biggest problem is that I absolutely must buy the thing (whatever it is) if I think it's cheaper than it should be.

On a recent Saturday (remember -- it's AUGUST), I met Bert for breakfast -- we did some "junkin" -- and I put the new "treasure" in the back seat of my Taurus, on top of the old "treasure" (the trunk has been full for 2 years). I have puzzles, games, clothes, probably 40 books or books on tape, a riding toy, a car seat (laying sideways), a $1 lampshade, and a huge pregnancy pillow (only $5). Trust me -- it's PILED HIGH...

I also have four bags of groceries sitting on the passenger seat...along with more books, several totebags from the classes I've been taking...and, oh, yeah -- there were also two big bags full of end-of-the-summer-beach-towel-bargains I bought at Dillard's.

Driving through the small town of LeClaire, Iowa -- I got pulled over by a policeman. I wasn't too worried, because I knew I was not speeding...

Officer: Your tags are expired,Mrs. Farro.

Me: (inside my head, screaming a curse word) Sorry, Officer.

Him: They were due way back in March...

Me: (screaming double curse words in my head) So sorry, officer...
Him: Your tags are so far out of date, I have the right to have your vehicle towed...

Me: (thinking -- that'll cost $200) Sorry, officer...

Him: And this insurance card you've given me is from 2008. If you do not have a current card, I could write you another ticket for $375.

At this point -- I was completely stricken. He could order that my car be towed -- and then give me a $375 ticket on TOP of the $100 "expired-tags-ticket" I already had in my hand. I swallowed hard....wondering if tears might help. (I'm pretty sure that only works for blondes) As I was trying to work up a sob or two...

He said: "But, you look like a nice lady -- and, obviously, you're in the middle of a move -- and I'm sure you have a lot on your mind..."

The next few moments are a blur. Forget crying! It was all I could do to stifle the hysterical laughter rising up inside me...

As he gave me back my license (thankfully, IT was current) -- I said, "thank-you, officer. If I'd been towed, I never would have heard the end of it. But I'm pretty sure I can keep this ticket a secret..."

He smiled, and wished me luck...(with the "move", I'm sure...)

I'M GONNA CLEAN MY CAR. But -- to commemorate the moment -- and as a first step in my recovery process -- I took a picture of the back seat of my car.

Yes, my name is Rita. And I have way too much stuff...


  1. Were your parents children during the Great Depression? Mine were (in Iowa, too!) Even when they grew up, went to college, and became middle-incomers, they always saved, and were FRUGAL. But I've become a hoarder -- fabric, yarn, papers, and books, books, and books. I need to quit buying ANYTHING and stay home and sew, quilt, knit, and READ!!

    Ann in Tacoma, Washington

  2. I loved the story. It hit a little too close to home though. My family plans to be out of the country when I decide to move. I justify my hoarding ways by thinking about the money I am saving by buying stuff cheap. I'll need it someday, right?

  3. I HAVE to keep everything in my car - I carry a very small purse ; )

  4. Rita, My car is often in a similar condition to yours, though at the moment it is pretty good, as we had someone riding in the back seat and I HAD to clean it out! LOL At least for me, it's not just a car, It's a purse on wheels!! ;-D

  5. GO GIRLS!! THANKS for your understanding. of all the things I've done in my life, posting that picture of my real car was really painful. Today, I have to CLEAN MY CAR because next week I have to take 3 women to Chicago!! Ugh...maybe I'll post a picture of THAT, eh? thanks, rita

  6. My friend sent me a copy of this blog entry, and I sent her this reply, then realized I should probably share it with you. I refuse to take this new put down laying down - you think a clean car has some merit in the universe that a car full of super stuff doesn't have? Hummph!

    "So, I have decided this “hoarder” thing is because the anal retentives out there think someone is having a lot of fun and they aren’t, but they haven’t got the imagination to figure out what the fun is. So, just to be sure, they have to condemn the whole process. Feeling virtuous, in some circles, beats having fun. And nothing is worse than not having a clue what the fun is that someone else is having! I am trying to figure out if I have enough nerve to say that to the therapist I’m seeing – she told me she can’t hire someone to clean her house because even when her partner cleans she has to follow him/her around and redo the work. There is no way in hell that woman would get that a car full of keen junk is a good thing. She probably actually gets rid of clothes she hasn't worn in a year! I still have maternity clothes from 35 years ago - who knows when they'll come in handy?

    Oh, and I found something that broke my resolve about not buying more stuff for a while – in the St. Vincent DePaul I found a vintage metal fire extinquisher! It’s about 3 feet high and it’s truly wonderful." and so on.

    Rita, I figure there're only so many things we get to change about ourselves in this life time, and accumulating great stuff is way down on my list. Better I work on learning to forgive those who trespass against me - that's tough enough!