Can\’t wait to see all my wonderful, useless stuff again

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Enterprise columnist

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Today is Homecoming Eve, and just like when I was 5 on Christmas Eve, I\’m unable to focus on anything other than what\’s happening tomorrow morning at sunrise: I get to go home!

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Even Santa himself didn\’t have me this excited. There\’s a common thread, too: stuff. At Christmas, you get brand-new stuff. Moving back home tomorrow, I get my good, old raggedy used stuff.

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Oh, how I miss my crusty potholders and frayed bathmats and my favorite cracked plastic fishy drinking glass that The Cutest Man In The World pressured me to throw away, so I did, until his back was turned and then I snagged it out of the garbage and hid it in the back of the cabinet. And I drink from it when he\’s not home. And I like it. (Please don\’t tell him.)

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Truly, I\’m wiggly with anticipation at seeing an avalanche of crap that most die-hard yard-salers would pass up. It\’s useless crap, but it\’s my useless crap, and I\’ve missed it mightily!

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I can\’t wait to pull on my fuzzy leopard pajama pants and my threadbare gray Jenner sweatshirt and ratty pink slipper-socks, and curl up on my cat-hair-infused rumpled old couch and sip lavender tea from my cracked Raphael angels coffee mug.

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Yes, I\’m just slightly homesick. Can you tell?

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This nearly 10 weeks of post-flood homelessness was a psychological endurance test. Two months of gritting my teeth, nodding and smiling when I feel like shrieking, digging my fingernails into the arms of my chair and waiting for it to end — pretty much like what I do to endure flying, just for much, much, longer, and without all the preflight weeping and whimpering.

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On that note, ironically, I\’ll be flying soon, and possibly the only good thing to come out of having my life in complete upheaval is that I didn\’t have the bandwidth for my traditional nervous breakdown before flying. However, all is not lost. Surely there\’ll be ample time for a concentrated meltdown on the way to the airport. There always is.

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With the renovation company expected tomorrow at sunrise, I\’m imagining a flurry of reverse activity like the flurry of getting every single thing out of our house in one day.

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However, taking it out isn\’t the same as putting it back. Taking it out meant take everything out. Nothing to think about. Everything goes. Putting it back is another issue entirely. Because while I love my old raggedy stuff, even I acknowledge that much of it should have been thrown or given away years ago but I was either too lazy or too neurotic to do so.

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Falling in the “too lazy” category are half-pairs of socks that I kept hoping I\’d find a match for (I have two bags of these) and fraying towels that are still useful but too embarrassing to let anyone see, and several junk drawers full of stretched-out hair ties, keys to unknown locks, expired pizza coupons and dog kibble samples for the dog I don\’t own.

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All that needs to be intercepted and redirected toward the Dumpster. But based on the detailed numbered and coded list the renovation company kept, I suspect they\’re planning to put every single thing exactly where it was. Oh joy. My, empty ink pens and glow-in-the-dark key chains and collection of used cocktail umbrellas, how I\’ve missed you.

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Then there\’s the “too neurotic” category, which is much more troublesome. I know, logically, I should get rid of these things. But I just can\’t, because I have irrational emotional attachments to them. Like all the infant clothes from both my babies, who are now 27 and 22. Both have informed me unequivocally that they have zero interest in having children themselves.

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So, I have a double whammy here. Getting rid of the baby clothes means wrenching myself free of my ridiculously nostalgic memories of my little ones that I\’ve transferred to the clothing, and trying to convince myself that getting rid of the clothes does not equate getting rid of the memories. In addition, I fantasized about passing the clothes on to my grandchildren — you know, the ones I apparently will never have — so I\’m also letting go of my own imaginary grandchildren along with them.

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Ouch.

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At least there\’s an emotional buffer — TCMITW\’s three grandchildren, upon whom I\’ll train my spoiling instincts and lavish with gifts just like my own grandmother did.

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I\’d start with several crates of decades-old clothing, complete with strained carrot (and worse) stains, but I\’m lucid enough to recognize that possibly my stepdaughters might not appreciate this too terribly much and at the moment, they seem to like me so maybe I shouldn\’t push my luck.

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As pack-in day approached, I pondered all this the other night, lying on the brand new living room carpet of an essentially brand new home — just me and the cats, noticing how calm a house seems when it\’s completely clean and empty. The energy is so clear and pristine. It almost seemed a shame to foul it up with stuff. Just then, I heard that familiar “Hyuck hyuck hyuck…hyyeeeaachhhh!”

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I lept to intercept it. Too late. Milo had horked a hairball all over the new carpet (which I\’d had the foresight to make sure was the same color as cat barf to mask all the inevitable brownish spots). In that instant, the house went from “new” to “used.” The pristine spell was broken in one steamy tuna-scented roll of gray hair.

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I was over it.

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Bring on the stuff.

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— Follow Debra DeAngelo on Twitter. Links are posted at and http://www.edebra.com http://www.wintersexpress.com. Find Debra\’s columns online at http://www.wintersexpress.com, http://www.edebra.com and http://www.ipinion.me

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