Household Tips #5 – The War Gene – it’s a thing

Why is it that the second most expensive item I own sits in the driveway next to the first? If I could put the car in the house I’d do some weather damage limitation and combine the value. But I can’t get the car up four steps. Or through the door. It’s a thing cars won’t do.

So it sits out there wondering why I don’t value it enough to give it shelter. I let the dog and the cat in. The weans all have a place to rest their wearies. But, poor car, despite faithful service and being one of my best friends – we go everywhere together – languishes in the great outdoors like an abandoned pet. I talk to him. Usually, it’s, ‘Don’t you dare make that noise!’ and ‘ Come on, boy, you can make it.’ Kinda the conversation I have with my husband from time to time. And I let hubs in the house.

The reason I am a wanton mistress to Ford is because my garage is full of stuff. Stuff it should not be full of. Some of that stuff doesn’t even belong to me or anyone else who now lives here.

There are china dolls with creepy faces.

china dolls

No way are they getting back inside. Eldest daughter left them here when she moved out. Along with a collection of other dolls from far flung parts. It was a thing she did at one point. Years ago. So why are they still there?

That’s down to a thing I do. I’m sure I inherited what I like to call ‘the war gene’. My parents were both ten when WWll began. They lived through the bombs and evacuation, the rationing and the make do and mend years.  Couldn’t get bananas till the banana boats made their way back up The Clyde. Powdered eggs. Wtf! 

So they were raised to cut cuffs, turn collars and stitch repairs. Make your own. Reuse buttons and bits and bobs. Value everything. Waste nothing.

I’ve got that gene.

I recycle everything I can. Want to weep when I visit the recycling plant and see all the TV’s and fridges that have been discarded. I want to find out if they died or if they just became obsolete to a better model. They never answer when I ask.

Part of recycling involves not throwing things away if I think a) I might use that later b) that’s a bloody shame, what a waste c) that’s too good to get rid of d) that stuff’s not mine e) I’m so ashamed, I’ve hardly used that.

When my mum died my siblings and I had quite a time of what to keep and what not to keep. She had the war gene. Everything seemed to have sentimental value or intrinsic value. After attempting to go through them I stored them in the cellar. I now have a cellar with books and papers belonging to my mum and not the heart to go through them again. Still. Six years come St. Andrew’s Day.

Add into the mix two other kids who have flown the coop, left gear, come home again, left more gear. And, in the case of one, is still here because a) she really can’t afford it while at college b) thinks she can but is actually quite enjoying having all facilities for her and her cat c) can’t quite make up her mind. It’s a Mary thing.

The other one is definitely out but is currently in a furnished flat so we’ve got his shit too, including a) a microwave b) bits of furniture c) umpteen boxes d) fishing rods and equipment because he doesn’t want to get rid of them but isn’t fishing for fish at the moment. Bigger fish to fry. That’s a Joe thing.

other folks' stuff 3

Further to the mix, add my husband’s tools/gardening equipment/wood that he can’t bring himself to part with because a) he might use it b) he’s a dab hand at making and repairing c) it’s all perfectly good wood d) it’s my bolthole and I keep what I want here. Wood. It’s a Frank thing.

wood and scooter

And, that’s a scooter hanging from the rafters. Because, maximise space. Clever, eh?

Into the cauldron, add all my paper work from schools (because, yeah, I’ll use that again), years of writing, household crapamailia that has to be kept in case one day I need to prove that, ‘I did so bloody pay that!’, books of mine, more books of mine, a wide variety of craft materials that I’ll definitely get back to using when I have time and little trinkets bought/made by offspring. Why is keeping that tat a thing?

University/college stuff that my kids want to hold onto but don’t want messing up their flats.

A pram. Yup. Beautiful pram that was Anna’s, in the cellar, waiting. I’m not having any more! But, seems a shame to get rid when I have daughters at that sort of age. I know!

Guitars that have been replaced with better models but I feel sorry for.

guitars 4

Poor buggers. They need to go. Nothing can save them now. Wonder if guitar heaven is a thing. They did nought wrong.

Um, what else?

Chairs – because we need extra ones for occasions. But not all the time. Why buy more every time? Common sense thing.

Bikes. Fair enough, they get used.

Clothes. Fecking clothes. Do you have any idea how much room (not to mention washing) clothes for a big household take up? Fortunately, hubs used those tools and wood and screws and savvy to build custom-made wardrobes in every bedroom. Begs the question why one or two of my crew still hang their clothes on the floor. That’s a thing I hate.

I’m also really good at recycling clothes and fill up bags on a regular basis. Put them in the garage till I’m ready to take them for recycling. Then my eldest daughter brings more in that she’s getting shot of, we all have a rummage and snaffle the ones we like. And I send the rest away. To the garage. Pending. It’s an Anne-Marie thing.

With determination, black bin bags and a hardened heart I’m back to asking, ‘Does this give me joy?’ If it doesn’t, it’s going. Apart obviously from the crap I have to keep for the purposes of a) I’ll definitely, maybe use that at some point, b) that’s not mine to decide on, c) aww! my mum/dad/weans/memories.

I don’t see the car having a place to shelter any time soon. What am I, Superwoman? But, I might manage to shift things around a bit, make a few phone calls threatening decapitation of creepy china dolls and I’m definitely throwing out all my school crap. That’s what the internet is for.

Well, that and telling you all about how I propose to spend my Saturday – opting to streamline my life. Again.

It’s a thing I do. From time to time. Genes, got a lot to answer for. Been proven. Real thing.

Another thing. Procratination. Not started yet. Thought I’d blog about it first. It’s a WordPress thing.

And the sun’s shining. Ford is calling to me – take me some place, far from this driveway. Leave all this behind. They do so talk!

aa_1982_pontiac_firebird_trans_am_knight_rider

Aye, ah wish. I’d make houseroom. Not the Hoff, bleugh! Here Kitty, Kitty.  Weird thing, saying that. I’m not even a cat lover. More genetically programmed for dogs.

Planned Obsolescence

It started with a ball point,

A little plastic pen.

Forget replacement cartridge.

Buy new, begin again.

 

Before too long, repairing

Became something of a myth.

Discard the old, spend afresh.

Commerce’s great self gift.

 

Advancements in technology

Had ideas about forever

But panic is a fearsome foe.

Reduce their spending? Never!

 

‘We’ll have to get a grip on this

Before the market fails.

Put a halt on progress, chaps, or

We’ll be going off the rails.’

 

‘How about some plotting then?

Some bugs to keep them keen?

Repairs cost more than buying new?

Nudge, wink. Know what I mean?’

 

‘You’re joking, man, they’re not that daft.

Unless of course we’re wary.

This could save our arses, guys.

Penury is scary.’

 

‘How about we use components

That fail in maybe five years?

That would keep them buying.’

‘Sure, we’ve found the answer. Cheers!’

 

‘Now profit margin’s down a bit.

Some work is needing done

On putting up the ante, folks.

This could be such fun!’

 

‘Keep in reserve the best of stuff

And filter through the trash,

Give them a taste of what’s to come.

Same stuff, we’ll just rehash.’

 

‘We’re owed some homage for our work,

Humility, some obeisance.

We’ll get our kicks, lads, never fear

By planning obsolescence.’

 

It never ends. Manipulation.

Market forces, it seems,

Determine days from when a pen was filled

For inscribing future dreams.