Stop Cluttering My Mind

Shannon Kernaghan Clutter-400 Stop Cluttering My Mind Belongings Challenge Culture Friendship Humor Lifestyle Relationship

There’s a lot of chatter about clutter. The subject is explored on talk shows and dissected in “how-to avoid it” articles.

When I spent the day helping a friend unpack at her new home, she told me she needs to hold a yard sale.

“Now? Why didn’t you do that BEFORE you moved instead of dragging everything to your new place?”

Too busy, she said.

I know what she means because I’m the antithesis of a clutter expert. The only advice I’ll give is to NOT take my advice.

When my husband and I decided to leave the west coast, we purchased boxes, spent days wrapping and packing, and hired movers to put everything in storage for two years.

Throughout those two years, we paid storage fees and insurance. When it was time to settle in Alberta, we once again paid movers to reconnect us with our belongings. After days spent unpacking, I was awash in a sea of cardboard – cutting, folding and hauling the works to the recycling depot.

Then what did we do? We gave away a third of those belongings!

“I don’t need this,” my husband said again and again, tossing the ski poles, thermos and tent-in-a-truck contraption into the give-away pile.

“Honey, why didn’t we do this BEFORE we moved?”

Too busy, he said.

But then he went overboard. Forget clutter cleaning – he was on a minimalist mission and started to purge. If there were two of anything, one had to go.

“Um, those are book ends . . . we do SO need both!” I whined and grabbed one from the pile.

Worse, when he realized we had two blenders, he gave away the cool-looking silver one and kept the stained harvest gold relic that neither of us remembered buying.

On countless occasions I heard myself shriek: “You’re giving away your fishing rods and all your gear? Everything’s like new! And your binoculars? Again, like new!”

“I have another pair I like better,” he argued. “And I’ll probably never use any of the gear.”

“You might.”

“Nah. Out it goes.”

I’d created a clutter-free monster! (I should have unpacked on my own and put him on cardboard duties.)

He does deserve credit for his philanthropy in finding new homes for his belongings because some items went to appreciative new neighbors and others headed to charity.

But then he’d toss out an expensive or useful object and I’d squeal in a high-pitched voice: “With what we’ve wasted on moving and storage for two years, we could have spent a month in Hawaii!”

If I had to leave for any length of time during the culling process, I’d point out my precious gewgaws and give him loving instructions: “Touch any of this pile, and you die. Got it?”

If I were a dog, I’d have territorially peed around my pile.

Once everything was tidy and in its place, and once the fresh sheets were on the assembled bed . . . I still wanted most of that stuff back. Being a minimalist wasn’t high on my list of aspirations.

Wait. I’m no better than the rest with their talk shows and how-to articles. It’s not enough that you might be dealing with your own clutter, but now I’ve made you hear my own rant in the process.

Mea culpa, and happy uncluttering. But don’t touch my stuff!

Find Shannon’s books on  AmazonShannon Kernaghan Street-Billboard-600-4book Stop Cluttering My Mind Belongings Challenge Culture Friendship Humor Lifestyle Relationship

Audio story music
“Repeater”
by ELPHNT

High Sticking with Goldfinger 

Shannon Kernaghan Goldfinger-400 High Sticking with Goldfinger  Challenge Dating Deception Humor Sex

In my early twenties I accepted a date with a man I met in a night club. He owned a major business and I recognized his face from news articles and TV profiles. Although I wasn’t attracted to him, my girlfriend convinced me I’d have fun, that I should “go for it!”

Date night didn’t begin well. He phoned ten minutes before his scheduled arrival to say he was running late and I’d better take a cab to the hockey game.

While seated at the stadium he ignored me but enjoyed the game, leaping and roaring with delight or disgust, punching the air.

I sure didn’t remember as much gold when I met him several nights earlier. For hockey night, “Goldfinger” wore a lot of jewelry. Even the sheen of his hair and skin seemed unnaturally bronzed.

When the game ended, we headed to the parking lot. A group of people had gathered around his expensive foreign car. As we approached, he leaned over and whispered, “They’re not looking at you, they’re looking at my car, Sheri.”  Rude! And Sheri is not my name. Tack these onto the list of bad date indicators.

My middle name was hopeful . . . make that stupid. I should have listened to my intuition, not my girlfriend. Questions: 1) why didn’t I escape to the row of idling cabs outside the arena and 2) why did I agree to stop at his office when he offered to show me “something special”? Sheri’s decision-making skills were sorely lacking that night.

“Take a seat,” he said, pointing to a couch. He went to a wall unit and pulled out a key ring from his pocket. Then he removed his shiny gold baubles – the bracelets, watch, necklace and two jumbo rings he had to lick before they’d budge. He placed them inside a drawer and locked it.

“I’m not going to steal anything,” I called out. He mumbled about them getting in the way. “In the way of what?” I asked. No answer.

With my coat still buttoned, I watched him disappear behind a door. Suddenly his office lobby transformed – the bright lights dimmed and a gas fireplace ignited with a pop. Next, the couch vibrated. I jumped up. It quickly expanded to a semi-circular bed.

My fight-or-flight instinct kicked in and I started to breathe heavily. Got to get out. The moment I fast-walked to the door and hauled on the handle – locked! – another door opened, releasing the smell of damp cedar. There stood Goldfinger in a short brown robe.

“Here,” and he tossed a matching robe at me. “Get comfortable.”

I let the robe fall to my feet. “I want to go, you said we weren’t staying!”

He stretched across his couch-cum-bed.

“Come on Sheri, let’s relax in the sauna.”

My back hugged the door. “No, I want to go. Now!” I pulled out my cell phone and quickly punched the number for a cab. I didn’t have Goldfinger’s address but knew the company name and added, “Please hurry!”

He remained on the bed and thumbed through his phone, probably looking for a replacement to slip on his guest robe. Sheri was a disappointing dud.

Finally, he threw the ring of keys at me. With shaking hands, I tried several before the cylinder clicked.

Glorious freedom! I left the key ring dangling in the lock and fast-walked to the road. I’d never felt so relieved to be done with a date.

As for that “something special” Goldfinger promised to show me, I assumed it was a memento from his trip to Africa, not what was under his short robe. I wonder if it was covered in gold?

Find Shannon’s books on Amazon

Shannon Kernaghan books-row-display-800 High Sticking with Goldfinger  Challenge Dating Deception Humor Sex

Audio story music track
“Fortaleza”
by Topher mohr and Alex Elena