Dear J-

One of the things you forget is the unwillingness to be (continuing to) work after a certain hour of the night: rush home, get the kids off to bed, and all that’s left is to sit back and relax, maybe. There’s something to be said for having some time to yourself but we’ve got a lot of packing ahead of us and we’ll see how smart I was in saving all that material — packing boxes and paper. There’s a lot less stuff this time even though I’ve done my best to accumulate more junk; none of it really matters I suppose. The real question is why: why now, why not before, why bother with all of this stuff that just ends up in piles, unopened and unused?

There are Clutterers Anonymous meetings in the area which I might end up attending if these urges feel less than benign: I’m not sure why or how it gets started other than to say there is some sort of unholy compulsion that drives me towards having so much stuff, virtual or otherwise. There’s albums and books left unread and unheard in my digital life; there’s pictures I don’t bother to get off cameras I don’t use; the number and type of watches I have stagger belief (although it’s more of a mood thing, isn’t it?) and the amount of video game junk that remains in storage is going to fill up a good portion of the house until I can get it donated to someone else.

What I should do is learn the lesson of the books we bought for Christmas: The Three Robbers (Ungerer) and Journey (Becker). In the first, hardened criminals take in orphaned and unwanted children with all the money they’ve collected and never spent over the years. In the second, a girl who’d been neglected by her family (“want to play?” — too busy, too busy, too busy) finds a magical red crayon and … okay, I’m not sure where that was going, except to say that if you want the kids to find something fun away from you that’s all they’ll find fun after a while.



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