Monday, January 19, 2015

Sock It To Me

All of my mommy-to-be reading material has cautioned that in the few weeks before the baby is born, I’ll start to nest. According to numerous books and blogs, this means I’ll want to clean my house, get organized and generally prepare the premises for the onslaught of chaos.

Turns out, I nest hard. In the last few weeks, I’ve:

  • Washed every drape, blanket, pillow, non-nailed down item I could find. Also washed every baby-related outfit and piece of bedding in super expensive baby-safe detergent. Folded and hung everything. Realized my unborn child owns more clothes than I do.
  • Organized all the drawers of my desk and re-filed all important paperwork in an easy-to-access system, just in case I should ever need to retrieve, say, my 2004 tax documents, in a pinch. 
  • Designed and constructed a family photo wall in my upstairs hallway. Hung up the photo collages and message boards that have sat waiting on my office floor since we moved in almost two years ago.  
  • Procured a new rug for the dining room, new drapes for the bedroom and countless items for the nursery (Pregnant women shouldn’t be allowed to enter the baby section of any store without a Shopaholics Anonymous sponsor).
  • Scrubbed the grout in my kitchen and bathroom to a white that rivals any toothpaste commercial smile. 
For one brief shining second, all this work created the illusion that the LaBar household was as prepared as possible for its new resident.

It took all of two minutes before my mind started to wander, and when it stopped, it was smack dab in the middle of the basement bedroom.

This particular room, set off from the Man Cave by its own door, has become our home’s own Bermuda Triangle. When we moved, any box that wasn’t labeled with an exact destination ended up there. Half the room was inhabited by containers stuffed with old newspaper clippings from my early reporting days, memorabilia from both my and JT’s high school and college years, assorted sundry from the places we’d both lived prior and just general random whatnot. The other half was used as a makeshift studio for JT, who hung a green screen in front of the mess and would film short segments for his web broadcasts. He had quickly found better spots to do this after a few weeks, so now all that remained was a ton of lighting equipment, all those boxes, a web of extension cords and a bunch of dust. The place also had become a mausoleum for spiders, and their tiny corpses rested in every nook and cranny.

So basically, my hell on earth.

For the longest time, I pretended like it wasn’t there. It was as if closing the door to that room made it stop existing. It was like Monica’s closet in “Friends.” No one but JT and I knew truth.


Somehow, this justified leaving it untouched, growing more neglected and horrible by the day, until the moment my pregnancy hormones decided this madness must stop.

On the day after Christmas, which we had both taken off to relax and veg at home, I informed JT that we’d be tackling the beast.

“Now?” he asked, from our cozy spot stretched out on the couch, where we’d intended to spend the rest of the day.

“Yes. Now. Today. This minute,” I said before I lost my nerve. “It should only take about two hours. I know we can do this. Let’s go!”

Six hours, four garbage bags, one enormous pile of future garage sale merch, and countless moments of “What the hell is this?” later, we were done.

It was brutal. My Type A “OMFG Get Rid Of It All” personality made me want to just throw everything into one big pile and light it on fire, while JT’s “What If We Need It One Day?!” approach made him agonize over every old bill from utility services we don’t even have any more, each press pass from long-over events, and every scrap of paper bearing some long-forgotten reminder from six years ago.

Yet somehow, we made it through without adding to the room’s body count. I showed him how to separate things into three piles - toss, sell or save - then how to organize all the things he planned to keep as either keepsakes or actual usable items. We made a decent team, and things went pretty smoothly, until I came across one particular box.

This box, which bore no label, had been tucked away in a corner of a closet. When I lifted it, I found it to be weightier than I’d expected. I plopped it down in the middle of the room, and without consulting JT, tore it open.

Much like one of those toy cans that shoot out fake snakes on unsuspecting victims, the overstuffed box spewed forth its contents the instant its lid was removed. A sea of black splayed out onto the floor, while my perplexed eyes tried to identify the source.

Socks. So many socks.

An entire box of socks.

Not even folded or paired up in any way. And by the smell of them, not all clean either. It was just so….so….so very like JT to have something so random.

I lost it.

Here was this box, just chilling in our basement all this time, when I’d bought JT socks at least twice in the time since we’d moved, as had many relatives for various holidays and birthdays. Something about this struck me as so oddly hilarious, I started laughing one of those silent, it’s-so-funny-I-can’t-breathe laughs, then exploded into giggles for a solid five minutes.

When I finally got it together, JT eyed me like the batty loon I am.

“Finished?” he asked.

“Yes, I believe so,” I said, wiping a tear from my eye. “What would you like to do with this?” I pointed to the pile.

“Throw them away,” he said.

This made me laugh even harder.

Just so we’re clear, the decision whether or not to keep a Comcast bill from 2011 is worthy of great debate, but a box of socks? Pitch that shit.

God, I love him.

So, the socks ended up in the garbage, for reasons I’m still not entirely sure of, other than the suspicion that JT feared I would lose my mind every time I saw them from that point forward.

He would have been right.

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