If I lived a catalogue life

As the Vix Household gene pool has a lot of OCD: Hoarder Division chromosomes swimming around in it, we like to scare ourselves straight every so often.

After spending a chunk of the holiday weekend watching 4 hours of hardcore decluttering shows in a near-row, I’ve decided scared-straight-once-removed is a far superior way to experience homes that have too much crap in them. Turns out it’s just as motivating to sit on my butt ogling piled-up boxes, papers, and unspeakable junk as it is to visit an OH MY GOD GET ME GASOLINE AND MATCHES abode!

And it’s so much less stressful.

The downside of acquiring such externally-driven motivation is that one has to act quickly before it flees. While Mr Vix returned to his basement clear-out project, I decided to plow through all my “I’ll recycle this after I read/cook/re-enact it” towers and to take on my overflowing, horridly dusty bedroom bookshelf.

[Because really, the odds that a future houseguest couldn’t get along without a borrowed copy of Scruples 2 are pretty slim.]

It’s all very freeing, once one gets over the guilt of thinking:

If I were a better person, I’d save all these things which could help me be a better person.”

Unfortunately, some dreams die harder than others. Granted every single book is now dust-free and uncrowded…

Mr Vix's childhood sock monkey + non-compulsively-collected pottery top a random variety of tomes

but I’ve been meaning to do something arty with my accessories forever, and I’m no closer to a solution than before. In fact, I’m probably farther away given that I no longer have this tearsheet to shame—er INSPIRE—me into changing the status quo:

Coming to terms with the fact that my accessories and I aren't "goin' there"

A “quo” which involves eco-friendly but pedestrian boxes.

Semi-accepting that the non-crown jewels are staying here

If only disposing of a sliver of paper didn’t trigger an endlessly-looping set of rhetorical questions:

If I lived a catalogue life, would a sock monkey guard my jewels?

If I lived a catalogue life, would Mr Vix have an addiction to tools?

Guess it’s good to know that for every self-defeating crazy I escort out of my life, there’s an equal and opposite crazy ready to take its place. Normally I’d be at least somewhat tempted to have a good wail about that—but with ole Sock Monkey’s newly glittering eyes just DARING me to fall apart, I’m determined to hold steady. Too bad I didn’t unearth my stiff upper lip from beneath a mound of past-their-sell-date magazines….

Perhaps I'll reframe this as "my little corner of delight" vs my accessory-station failure

I may as well outsource

Late last week I was all psyched to settle in and produce more content so that there would be more of me to judge or love unconditionally, whichever. I figured a little more on style, a soupçon on midlife crises, and a smidge on my strategies for world peace would provide the proverbial something for everyone.

But then my 4,200-in-computer-years setup, the one with lots of cough bootleg cough ancient and expensive-to-replace design software, decided to go all Desktop in a Coma on me. I briefly wondered if I should see this as a non-spam message from the universe [SHUT IT PLS THX] before determining of course I should see it that way.

Intergalactic communication aside, I do in fact need a computer to work and do whatever the online equivalent of hobnobbing about potential work may be (ok yes “e-networking”…my bleeding eyeballs and I aren’t total Luddites). So one might think I was a little unsettled by hitting the power button over and over and OVER to no avail.

But as someone who lives and dies by all those great articles about backing things up methodically (storing alphabetically by subject matter) and how to prioritize and maintain emergency slush funds


Right: despite being a Gemini I can’t get any aspect of my personalities to act in ways even remotely in-case-of-Armaggedon-y. However, I am not entirely unprepared for this crisis, having read—and if crumbling memory serves written—many Before Your Unsettling Doctor Visit brochures. I figure radiologist, computer surgeon, same difference, right? So enter Mr Vix, stage left, to serve as my Designated Listener. And my Chief Chloroformer.

Much talk of what technical disasters they might find when they open her up ensued; risks were detailed; a tummy tuck and brain augmentation offered. Unfortunately turning my G4 into a cougar would, in addition to robbing her of her old-school charm, render me unable to do what I need to do with her.

[And now that I’ve gone down the anthropomorphic road that last sentence reads really pervy but given what people ACTUALLY do with their computers I’m not going to sweat it.]

So now, since this is not an episode of ER, I wait for FREAKING EVER to find out if her circuits have enough juice in her to keep slowly whirring or if she goes off to be cannibalized and turned into some earth-saving or -destroying thing by the BabyGenius with whom I was interfacing.

And instead of renting a computer for the next two weeks of limbo and thus pissing away $200, I decided it made intellectual and logistical sense to throw a laptop on my credit card and go all CABLE FREE ME for the first time ever.

As my comfort zone is broke but debt-free, I admit I had to think about whether I could rationalize my (tax-deductible!) purchase. Luckily I’m a champion rationalizer, so I was doing pretty well with my decision until I sashayed by Mr Vix,  balancing my new computer on the tip of one finger, and he implied I was a spendthrift.

Since I didn’t blow him off like any sane-but-loving partner would, I guess I do feel a bit guilty about getting a new computer when technically my old one MAY still work. But that emotion is like, such a downer? And unproductive since hell no I’m not repentant. I’m thinking it makes perfect guns-vs-butter sense to pay someone to feel guilty for me. Maybe I’ll try to remember where I stuck my neatly-labelled Use in Case of Enabling Emergency envelope and see if there’s anything left in it…or better yet, maybe I’ll try to find someone who’ll take plastic.

Oh Honestly

For whatever reason I struggle with not starting off every entry with “So….” I guess too many bad jokes about a rabbi, a priest, and blind squirrel rattle around in my head.

“Frankly” tempts me way too often as well, but comes with the added bonus of making me feel like a liar thanks to decades spent watching trashy TV shows in which the completely adulterous/embezzling/serial-killing character reassures a spouse/board member/officer of the law that honest, he or she is innocent.

I mean, here I sit, trying to be HONEST, and yet if I use poor frankly, honest’s cousin, I risk head shakes and doubt. And FRANKLY that ticks me off because while it may be unimaginative to prefix the obvious—“I think X”—I feel my opinions gain a little looking-down-my-pince-nez gravitas when I use the term.

Apparently I have this hypersensitivity to implied guilt? That makes me break into a cold sweat when I see a police car or contemplate using “frankly” when I am telling the truth?

I’m sure it has nothing to do with my Catholic upbringing, though, which required me to say, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed” as part of Mass, even when I thought I might well be worthy since I hadn’t DONE or THOUGHT any of the seemingly endless wrongs. According to Father Pat I was mistaken about that, of course:

How do you know when you are worthy to receive the Eucharist? Strictly speaking, no one is ever worthy. Jesus’ healing makes us less unworthy.”

Naturally in my head I both edited the proclamation to “only say the word and I shall be heeled” and flashed on Billy Joel belting out that he’d “rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.” You could put my past, current, and future resistance down to a generally ornery disposition (my take) and/or “that Protestant blood running through your veins” (the opinion of certain people with whom I share DNA).

Self-imposed idiotic guilt aside, my love for frankly holds true. It’s forever pure.

You can have “honestly,” though. It’s a word made up of frustration, anger, shame, and insecurity; if you sent me back in time to use it in spelling-test sentence I’d have Aladdin’s riches before me: “honestly I don’t know where you get that from—that never happened;” “honestly I don’t know what I’m going to do with you all;” “honestly I don’t know where I went wrong;” “honestly what are people going to think?!”

Yeah, I go all Scarlett O’Hara kneeling in the dirt when it comes to using “honestly.” But I sure catch myself narrowing my eyes and thinking it way, way too often for comfort.