Hoarding, part 2

BUT… Isn’t there always a but?

Do hoarders ever confess to being hoarders?  I feel like the whole maybe five times that I have watched the show, the people in question always have some excuse.  “Well, that’s perfectly good!  I wouldn’t want to waste it.”  “I meant to fix that a couple of years ago.”  “I know where everything is.”

And, holy shit, I say allllllll of that stuff.


When I pull out a beat up old paperback I say, “Well, it doesn’t smell.  I’ve never heard of it.  I bet it’s really good.  I’ll totally read it someday.”

When someone points out that I have boxes of books around I say, “I’m going to get bookshelves someday.”

Of course, I know where everything is, mostly.  I mean, my boxes are labelled and numbered.  The papers in my book jar use the numerical system for locating the book.  (Currently it’s box 1-7 with Stephen King in his own box and no numbers for the books on the shelves.)

Maybe… Maybe I really do have a problem.


Books, Hoarding, Libraries, and Bookshelves

For a number of years now, I have shared my office with the library book sale books.  Only the best books are stored there and they are put out for sale on a shelve in the main entrance.  Two to four times a year there is a big book sale where all of the “less popular” books go.  Hardcovers are $1 and soft covers are 50 cents.  I usually spend about $5-$10 at the book sales but… well… I get to see the books as they come in and, as you may have noticed, I have an incredible impulse to take books home with me.  To make matters worse, the group that hosts the sale is pretty cool with me helping myself to a book or two a week as a kind of storage fee.  If I have cash, I pay and if I only have a fiver, I take my paperback and happily go on my way.  Usually if I have cash I pay double the cost, in hopes that it evens out in the end.

I’ve scored a number of great books this way.  Recently I bought Hubby a special illustrated edition of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.  Last year I bought a complete set of the Game of Thrones books for him at $2.  When college students get rid of their classics they bought for lit classes, I can scoop up things I might be missing.  This is where I acquired most of my poetry and short story collections, battered old books that fall apart when I try to read them.

The truth is that I grew up in a house that didn’t have many books.  My mother is the type who buys a book and then hands it off or just gets rid of it.  My father doesn’t read.  My brother didn’t start reading until he had moved out.  I was the only one with any books and I loved them.  I loved them even when I was not so great at reading them.  I wanted a shelf full and soon I wanted two shelves full.  By the time I moved out the first time, I purchased three short bookshelves, three shelves each, and loaded them.  I still had books boxed away in my office closet.  I moved back home and continued collecting.  Now, in my own home, my collection is such that it overflows.  I have the same three shelves and 7 boxes worth still in the office closet.  I have a shelf full in my guest room.  I have a shelf of cookbooks in the hallway.  Hubby has a few boxes of his own.

I always wanted my own personal library and only recently, with the popularity of a certain show, have I been accused of hoarding.  Luckily this has been a rarity.  Most of the people who know and love me just smile and shake their heads and know that I am genuinely in love with books and like to be around them.

For many years now I have had plans to purchase bigger and better bookshelves.  The ones I want run $80 and there is no reason that I haven’t done it yet except that there always seems to be so much else to buy.  A few months ago I unloaded my boxes and sorted my books and attempted to store them in a more logical manner and seeing all of those books out in the daylight made me happy.  I literally sat on my office floor and smiled.  I got to thinking that maybe another good solution would be a bookshelf in every room.  Poetry in the bedroom.  Antique books in the living room.  All I know is that I want the out in the world.

I am not a hoarder.  I do not have to make paths through my book c0llection.  I just see some value in an old fashioned library.

It’s Tally Tuesday!

Checked Out

  1. Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone
  2. Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia
  3. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  4. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Edrich
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth



  1. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx


Sorry for the late Tally day.  I spent my weekend in Ohio with the Bestie and her family.  I took three books with me in hopes that I would make it through at least one and a half between the car ride and the quiet time we always seem to work in but no dice.  For the first time ever I drove most of the way down and at least half of the way up.  It wasn’t so bad.  We had some Stephen King on audio and mostly I got in trouble for paying more attention to the story than to the Ohio highway system which is pretty effed up compared to the Michigan highway system.  Hubby is trying to finish the Dark Tower books but I finished them last year or the year before.  Now it’s like visiting old friends.

If you recall, I am now allowed to order books and I am sad to say that there are probably 8 more on order for me that haven’t come in yet.  Sigh.  It’s been hard to fit in reading time around here.  Hubby got me addicted to Dr. House and now it seems to find its way on the television most nights.  One night last week I made up a comfy spot on my bed for reading only to be guilted into watching a couple of hours of TV.  Luckily, Bestie’s boy was playing one of Hubby’s favorite video games when we were down there and I think he might slip over to the dark side of hours of gaming.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer here in Michigan.  It is usually the first parade and cook out day of these fair weather months and this is when I start longing for things to be simple.  I want to get lost in a book, either out under the trees or in under the fans.  Two years ago we had what I recall as the hottest summer ever and the AC didn’t work so we would come home from work and set up in the front yard.  I’d lay out my Mustang blanket and lay down under the shady maple and spend a hot hour reading in the shade.  At the time I was reading a YA novel with beautiful descriptions of summer and it felt like I was swept away by the book.  That is the kind of experience that I am longing for.

Narrating My Life

In the past couple of weeks I’ve taken to narrating my life.  I started it because I was bored and feeling kind of icky and figured it would be good writing practice.  Today I will share the current narration with you.

She was prone to homesickness.  Sometimes it would hit her seemingly out of nowhere.  What was she homesick for?  She was homesick for her childhood, the dusty years of her youth.  It might be a song that set her off or an advertisement for a soap opera.  Whatever it was she found herself longing for those faux wood paneled years, those days in the dark living room, those drives through the country with her mother, those hours spent wandering her yard on her own.  She had the sense that there was something passing about those times, that they would never be that way again.  Indeed, her own children would have bright childhoods, childhoods of the future, while hers seemed to belong solidly in the past.

That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx

This was one of those books that I just had to meander through.  Take my time.  Enjoy the scenery.  I wanted to sit down and really read it, devour page after page after page, but I found myself using it as a refuge instead.  After a long day at work I thought, “It’s okay.  I’ll be in Texas before long.”  When it rained and was cold I thought, “That’s cool.  Guess I’ll visit Texas.”  That may be the major draw of this book for me.  The setting was so wonderfully developed that I felt I was there.  Bob was just blank enough that I could see myself in his place, sitting on the bunkhouse porch with a book.

This is the story of Bob Dollar, a not-so-bad guy in his mid 20’s, trying to find his way in the world.  he has taken a job with Global Pork Rind and his first assignment is to locate land to purchase in the Texas panhandle.  His boss, Mr. Cluke, warns him that people in the panhandle won’t take kindly to someone working for the pork industry, instructs him to buy a pair of cowboy boots and lie about his business, and sends him on his way.  Bob ends up in the town of Wooleybucket, renting a bunkhouse from LaVon Fronk and helping out Cy at the Old Dog, which serves only lunch.  He chooses to say he is looking for property for luxury homes, a bad lie, and sets about the task of learning about Wooleybucket.

What we have in Bob is a character ready to be seduced by something.  His parents abandoned him when he was little on the front step of his uncle’s store.  In fact Uncle Tam seems to be the only person who he is really close to.  What happens in Wooleybucket is that he begins to actually care about people.  He starts to see himself as responsible for others.  He doesn’t want LaVon’s escaped tarantula to get hurt.  He doesn’t want an old rancher to suffer from the poor air emanating from a nearby hog farm.  He picks up a hitchhiker and goes above and beyond to make sure the old man gets where he needs to go.  Near the end of the book he asks Uncle Tam about his (boy?)friend Brom and Uncle Tam says, “You know, that’s the first time you ever asked about him.”  What’s best is that you can see it happening and the whole time you are rooting for Bob to see it as well.

It’s nice to think about what may have happened after this book ends.  I like that it was left open enough for me to think about it.

I really enjoyed this book, enough that I went and bought Proulx’s Shipping News.

Painting Dreamscapes

Wow.  I owe you guys a couple of entries and some explanations.  Somehow I have managed to fall super especially far behind this week and that’s no good because I am off to Ohio for the weekend directly after work on Friday.  What happened?  What happened indeed.  Plus, I think I may have been super way evasive about some stuff.

If you recall, I read a great book on happiness not too long ago and it encouraged me to write a wish list and develop goals and seize the day in general.  Well, it has long been a dream of mine to buy a big old house and fix it up and make it my 0wn but still be steeped in history.  Hubby has argued previously that we live in Michigan and nothing is really that historic.  He’s argued that he doesn’t want a big house and that he wants a new house, not a crappy old one.    But in my recent misery, he assured me that I could have what I wanted, that we could make it work whatever it was and that was exactly what I needed to hear.

I set myself to the task of living the life I want and doing it right now.

I pushed myself to make work more exciting.  I pushed myself to take time for the things I want.  Reading, writing, playing the banjo.  I started thinking about my dreams, what I really want and who I really want to be, regardless of what other people think I should and shouldn’t be doing.

Well, back in the fall Hubby and I looked at a house about 10 miles north of where we currently live.  And, dear readers, it was exciting and beautiful and completely and utterly fucked.  Upon glancing around the internet this weekend, I found that the price had dropped to $15,000.  Seriously.  Less than my car.  Now, I should explain, this house is 5000 square feet, Victorian, three stories, 10 bedrooms.  It could be awesome.  It was a hospital and a convent.  It’s had a really hard life, though.  It needs a lot.

The happiest I have been lately has been when I was thinking about the house, what we would do to it, how great it could be.  Even Hubby started talking about it as “our house” and talking about things we could do if we got it.  We went to look at it again last night and… it’s not right.  It’s not the house.  I felt, at first, embarrassed by this revelation.  I was so very excited to take on this dream of mine.  But, lo, it is not to be at this time.  I was so adamant about wanting it.  But the truth is that I have to allow myself space in this new life that I am building.  I have to accept that things may change, that I may not actually want the things that I think I want and that it is still okay to go off on my romantic tangents.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up, just that I am moving on.

Tally Monday- May 19, 2014

Checked Out

  1. Renovating Old Houses


  1. My Sister from the Black Lagoon by Laurie Fox
  2. Shipping News by Annie Proulx


  1. Contemporary American Poetry selected by Donald Hall
  2. In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill




I did not get a lot done this last week and I’ll tell you why.  I started reading That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx and have since been floating on a wave of Texas, a country that seems slower than Michigan, and looking up books that take place in Texas or rural settings in general and basically deciding that I may be in love with Texas.  This happens to me once in a while.  Last summer was Italy, when I listened to all of Frances Mayes’s Tuscany books and followed them up with Eat, Prey, Love.  The truth is that I tend to seek out novels that take place in small towns and rural communities.  That’s the world I know and love and I am constantly looking for someone else that feels the same way I do.

You may notice that a book has been checked out.  I am proud to announce that my one month without ordering any books is OVER!  This morning I ordered 12 to make up for lost time.  I returned Petals in the Wind today, unread.  I was rotating way too many books.  Things are out of control, nearing on chaos.

I keep having this deep longing to lay out in a field and read for hours which is kind of funny because I would find that incredibly uncomfortable and pretty impossible.  If I sit still for too long, I fall asleep.  I keep thinking, “This summer I am going to read sooooo much.”  But I know that’s not true.  There are camping trips and parties and vacations and it’s busy season at work.  Plus, I am considering embarking on a time and money consuming adventure.  (Bet you can’t guess based purely on this post!)  Basically, there’s no use in waiting.   I have to do some extra reading now.