I normally don't post about other people. I stick to insulting myself and poking fun of my kids and the occasional money victory and failures. I have been chewing on this for a while and I decided to put it out there. Take from it what you will. You can brush it off as someone with a disorder, someone that is a fool, or a lost soul. I have been around alcohols, drug addicts and people with eating disorders. Dysfunction is dysfunction. It is upsetting, horrifying, sad, and frustration. But for some reason this one is still bothering me. Maybe it is because I have never been confronted by this addiction. Perhaps I am numb to the others because of over-exposure. Or maybe it is the mind-set of the Americans that more is better, collect and consume. Maybe that is why this is bothering me so much. I feel as if we have been taught to have a disorder, an addiction.
Dennis and I go garage saling whenever we can. It is cheap entertainment and it is always nice to get a bargain. He looks for brass that he can buy and turn a profit on. I look for........whatever. Mostly, I just enjoy my time with my husband. But I don't mind scoring an awesome deal either.
We were out and about on a Saturday which is unusual for us. Dennis works half days on Fridays and we normally try to go when he gets home. But we were busy on a Friday and we decided to steal a couple of hours for ourselves and go "hunt" for treasures.
Every area around us is a high traffic area so finding garage sales is as easy as pulling out of the neighborhood. Signs are everywhere-all the time. We choose a main road and follow one of the many signs. Easy peasy.
This time we ended up in a very, very high end neighborhood. The house was stunning and it was probably the nicest home I have ever been in. The detail, the brick work just everything about it was visually pleasing. It wasn't a mansion but it was close. The landscaping was perfect. Well, you get the picture. The extremely wealthy and privileged live in homes and neighborhoods like the one we were in.
Nothing out of the ordinary struck me as we walked up the driveway. Nothing was organized, piles of things everywhere that you had to wade through to find a treasure. Some people are organized and some aren't with their garage sales. No biggie.
I found a decoration for the yard but nothing there was anything that we needed. The owner of the house came up and started talking to us. He was friendly and engaging. He told us how they were moving and pointed to the for sale sign and said that they had to get rid of quite a bit. I noticed the haphazard boxes and mess in the garage behind him. But that was bound to happen when having a garage sale and moving.
He told us to go in the garage, through the laundry room, down the stairs, to the landing where the playroom was, down another set of stairs and into the basement(I'm not kidding we almost needed a map, the place was so large) and there was more that was for sale.
My grandmother was the cleanest person that I have ever known. Nothing was ever out of place. EVER. She taught me to scrub with the best of them. Her favorite saying was, "There is no such thing as clean." Meaning that you could scrub something all day and it wouldn't be good enough. Nothing was ever clean enough. Ok, she might have had a disorder or she loved a clean house. I think that I have found balance. My house is very clean by most people's standards but we also use and enjoy our house. That was something that she didn't do. Nothing was touched in her house but she was old school clean, I'm new school clean. I love her, miss her and I'm grateful for the wonderful lessons she gave. So whenever something is dirty in my house or out of place I say, "My Grammy senses are tingling." Sort of like, Spider-man but with disinfectant and a dust rag.
My Grammy senses hit a new level when we stepped in the laundry room. Stuff was piled shoulder high everywhere. Backpacks, shoes, boxes and who knows what else were sliding down. There was a path to walk through. It was suffocating. There was crown molding on the ceiling, and the most expensive washing machine and dryer in the laundry room.
We walked past the toy room. The toys were ankle high with none of the floor showing. None. But it wasn't really a toy room, it was a gorgeous sun room with windows and box seating lining the room. It was stunning and trashed.
The basement was easily the size of two of the levels of our tri-level. It might have been the size of our entire house but it was hard to guess just because of the sheer mess of it. There were boxes and boxes of brand new items piled everywhere. Shelves and shelves of items everywhere. Everything with the tags and stickers on them. Not one thing that I saw had a clearance sticker on it. Everything was purchased new.
There were a few people in the basement with us. They were cleaning as they looked. They piled stuff into containers and boxes. Perhaps because it was upsetting to see so much stuff being treated poorly or because they were afraid of being trapped.
I ended up buy 40+ Christmas/Birthday bags, some Halloween toys for our trick or treaters, and the garden decoration. Nothing was dirty in the house, it was just piles and piles of stuff. We were there on the last day of the sale so I'm sure that there were plenty of people there making a mess. But after seeing the rooms that were blocked off, it seemed that the basement was in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the house. They lived like that. Mountains and mountains of brand new items everywhere. Their children lived in high priced avalanches of goods. Everything was the best of the best.
Even being there on the last day of the sale, I would guess that if they had back the money they had spent on what was left, we could have lived for a year off of it. I can't even image what they had on the first day of the sale.
I looked out the back window of the basement and saw the nicest grill I have ever seen. It looked like something from a movie star's home. If we sold all of our cars, we still wouldn't have enough money to buy it.
They had all the toys. They had everything that everyone aspires to. They were living the American dream or had lived the dream. Were they selling the house because of a job lose? I have no idea.
We are poor in every sense compared to them. Everything we own would be considered "trash" compared to what they have. And yet, we treat out "trash" better than their new, expensive things. I am so grateful for the little that we have. Do I look down on them? No. I wanted to cry for them. I wanted to help them. I wanted to teach them to save money, to organize, to appreciate what you have.
In the end, it is an addiction plain and simple but it struck me to the core. How could material things that we struggle so hard for mean so little to someone else? I'm not saying that I want piles and piles of things or even to waste money. But how can there be such a difference between people monetarily and morally? The gap in possessions and thinking was immense.
What does this mean for me or for you? Probably nothing. And yet, I'm still not sure why I can't get it out of my head. What I do know is I'm thankful for so much. A clean house, a balanced checkbook and a clear mind is what matters to me. I'm thankful for the little that I have and I'm thankful for being able to call you my friend.