Saturday, August 25, 2007

cleaning my closet

Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet.

This was the first time I have attempted such a feat in over ... let's see, we moved in to this house in 1997 and this was the first time I've really cleaned it out since then.

I once read that if you don't use something for three years, you should discard it. Applying that principle yesterday, I had piles upon piles of clothes that I pulled out for Goodwill.

I had a few more piles of clothes that I thought about donating to Goodwill, but then decided to keep, because they looked so good on me when I was able to fit in them 10 years ago, and eventually, I will be back to a weight where I can wear them.

I'm really not a pack rat since I don't have enough space in our small house to neatly store mementos away and I cannot tolerate clutter. Still, there were several things I found in my closet that I had a hard time discarding.

I found the handwritten instructions from our doctor outlining the medication and surgical timing for our third IVF cycle. I don't recall tucking those instructions in to a shoe box, but there they were. Since the third IVF cycle was our charm - I decided to snap off a picture of this handwritten note, for posterity, before I chucked the note in the trash.

I found my Nikon camera. This was a Christmas gift that Charlie gave to me in 1996. For the past three and a half years, it has been on the top shelf of my closet, buried under miscellaneous hats. When I took it out of it's dusty case, and found three rolls of undeveloped film (containing who knows what) and a couple extra rolls of 35 mm film, I was immediately thankful for digital photographic technology.

At the moment, I have 7772 digital pictures on our computer. I also have three shoe boxes full of pictures that have yet to be sorted or placed in photo albums. That doesn't even include the 500+ photographs that I need to go through and organize from our wedding day 13 years ago.

That's right. I still haven't put together our wedding album.

It's on my To-Do list ... along with potty training the triplets, getting a quote from a diaper service (just in case I still have four children in diapers at Christmas), completing our wills and losing enough weight so I can fit in to clothes from 10 years ago.

I'm guessing that I take on average, ten photos a day. It gives me an anxiety attack thinking of how overwhelmed with pictures I would be if I didn't have a digital camera. I have no doubt that we'd be spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment every month on purchasing film and having it developed.

I'd be totally overwhelmed with pictures that are in no particular order and stuffed in to various boxes, with negatives in an entirely different location. Of course I would try to keep all these pictures in order and matched with their negatives, but like oil and water, eventually they would separate.

Then, I'd be holding on to thousands of negatives, wrapped up with a rubber band, that I doubt I'd ever use ... but wouldn't want to throw away, because negatives are one of those things you're never supposed to discard. Like owners manuals. We still have the owners manuals for everything we've ever purchased ... ranging from our VCR (that still flashes 12:00) to our stapler.

Suffice to say, without our digital camera, we'd be missing a lot of photo opportunities because I wouldn't want to waste film. I mean seriously, would I take a picture of Sharpie scribbles on our dining room table* or poop floating in a pool? Or for that matter, a handwritten note regarding my medication protocol for our third round of IVF??

It's quite unlikely.

Although if I didn't have a blog - I probably wouldn't have been taking those pictures, anyway.

During my cleaning spree, I found my dental retainer from when my braces were removed 22 years ago. I soaked it in Listerine for half an hour and when I tried it on, was surprised that it didn't fit me as comfortably as it once did. In fact, I almost broke two of my teeth trying to get it on. I haven't worn this retainer in 21 years, but there was an invisible and impenetrable force preventing me from throwing it in the trash.

Dr. Lewis would be proud.

When I came across the myriad of scented body lotions that I've received over the past 10 years as part of perfume gift boxes, I hesitated. The bottles are so pretty, I suspect they must have been expensive. Even though I haven't yet depressed a single drop of scented body lotion on my body in 10 years, maybe tomorrow I'll be feeling in a dress-up mood, so I decided to hang on to these.

I also decided to hang on to all of my maternity clothes for the same reason I opted to forgo a tubal ligation and scoffed when my doctor proposed a 10 or 5-year IUD, during my appointment last week. There may come a day when my clothes from 10-years ago fit me once again, my teeth are perfectly aligned, our wedding album is complete, we have a functional darkroom, and I smell like a rose.

And just maybe, I might need the spare pregnancy test from the 2-pack that Charlie purchased last October. Because I've decided to hang on to that, too.

*I should have mentioned in my post on Thursday that once I saw Elizabeth & Carolyn's handiwork on our dining room table, I immediately started yelling "WHERE IS THE MAGIC ERASER?! I NEED MY MAGIC ERASER!!!!" Although the Magic Eraser has worked magic on removing Sharpie from our spanish tile floors, when I tried using it to remove the marks from our dining room table, it scuffed the finish. I haven't yet tried hairspray - I'll do that, today. But if that doesn't work, I'm thinking that the Sharpie looks better than scuff marks. So, for the time being (translation: until our children have outgrown this destructive phase or move out of the house - which ever comes first), I've opted to leave it alone. The scribbles in two separate locations, does indeed add a certain degree of character to our cherry table, which was a gift my mother bought Charlie and I when we moved in to our home.


  1. Hi Jenna-
    Keeping clothes from 10yrs ago = packrat in my books!
    Would you ever consider posting a photo from your wedding day?
    Rebecca D

  2. Um..for the table..have a pad made and keep a table cloth on it? Just saying!

    HUGS..great post today!

  3. I can't believe the magic eraser didn't work. Only thing I can think of now is a damp cloth with baking soda. Damn those Sharpies. We had the same problem with dry erase marker this summer. THought 2 seven-year-olds could be trusted but no.

  4. hey, great idea to take photos of something you want to remember but don't necessarily want to keep tucked away somewhere where you won't ever see it.

    i have a matchbook from the restaurant that I took my first injectable shot over dinner. the round that ended up helping us get pregnant with our triplets. i think i'll include it in my blog when i ever get around to my pregnancy/birth story.

    i mentioned your blog yesterday, not sure on blog etiquette but assuming that since we are all speaking openly to whoever stumbles by I didn't think you would mind. please let me know if you do though.


  5. Rebecca: There's a wedding picture posted at this link:

  6. I was not expecting to feel so sad when I started reading about you cleaning your closet. Just seeing the hand written note from your RE brings up so much emotion. We are currently in a 2ww from a FET. Uggg...

    As always, your blog keeps a smile on my face (even if I do feel sad once in a while).

    Not that you were asking, but I say pitch the retainer and the home pregnancy test.


  7. And now (after being outed as someone who hasn't read the whole blog yet) I've just gone and read your wedding ring lost and found story.
    Love it Charlie! This sounds like a guy that may accidentally leave a pen around for toddlers to "play" with.
    I hope you've forgiven him Jenna.
    Rebecca D
    (PS- love your wedding outfit)

  8. I was able to get permanent marker off of something once using first hairspray, then rubbing alcohol. And as long as you don't end up like that Dugger family with a billion children, I think holding on to the pregnancy test and maternity clothes is great!

  9. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog! You are so funny and I can realte to all purging worries. It is hard to throw those memories away. I still have my stupid gall stones. Ok now I've shared too much! Anyway, I enjoy hearing about your adorable family and it always brightens my day=)


  10. We are sooo alike sometimes. My retainer is 28 years old, my good Nikon is over 20 years old and I still have all the notes from the IVF that worked. And boxes and boxes of negatives from who knows what.

  11. great post! cool camera. are you going to sell it on ebay? :)

  12. When you're all done, will you come clean out my closets? I think mine have been cleaned more recently than that, but still I'll take you up on it. I could always use help with a good closet cleaning? Oh, you have 4 kids that keep you busy? You don't want to clean my house too? Oh. Well, it was worth asking. :D

  13. I can't believe you still have the extra pregnancy test!!! I can't believe you didn't pee on it JUST TO MAKE SURE!!! When I got pregnant with Austin, I peed on like 5 or 6. I just couldn't believe it. I thought there was some sort of malfunction.

    I just finally sent off my size 2 clothes to Goodwill. I'm sure there were hundreds and hundreds of rail thin women in need of jeans that the waist goes right below the boobs.

  14. I read somewhere that if you take a dry erase marker and mark over a Sharpie marker, then try to erase it, it works. Haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot?

  15. OK.... A couple of months ago I was taking a shower. My 18 month old was in the room with me. All cabinets are childproofed and there is a lock on the toilet. There are two sets of doors leading into this bathroom. I discovered just after I got the shampoo in my hair that I had neglected to lock one set of the doors. I frantically rinsed the shampoo out of my hair and got out of the shower to chase after my son. Unfortunately I heard repeated flushing sounds on my way. He got into the OTHER bathroom. The one that is not childproofed because there is a knob lock on the door to the entire room and he is not allowed in there. The door that I ONLY left open to air out because it is also the laundry room, we were expecting company later, and I had done laundry so it was muggy. The door that I ONLY left open knowing that my son was "safely locked" into the other bathroom with me.

    When I entered the room he was pulling some magazines out of the toilet and adding them to the sopping wet pile of other things that apparently did not flush down the toilet when he pushed the handle. He had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen and was busy throwing everything on the counters or in the cabinets that he could lay his hands on down into the toilet and depressing the lever as fast as he possibly could. If it didn't flush, he took it out and put it on the floor.

    After removing him from the situation and cleaning him up I did a mental inventory of the bathroom. All in all, I was pretty sure I was only missing one of the bolt covers from the bottom of the toilet and an outlet plug. But our toilet would only work if you flushed it empty. You could "pee" in it, but if you left anything else, or threw toilet paper in, it would start to back up. We tried fixing it many different ways, but for weeks you could only use that toilet for "no. 1" My husband finally removed the toilet and tried getting whatever it was out from the back. No luck. We finally called a plumber. He rotated the toilet in midair one time and out came the offending object. It was a PREGNANCY TEST! See, at this time I was pregnant with MY Henry, born a 6/25/07. With my first child, I peed on all the sticks that came in the package just for fun. With Henry, I kept the extra one in the drawer for future use. My son unwrapped it and flushed it.

    Keeping that pregnancy test cost me $100 and the full use of my toilet for a month. I should have gone with my gut and peed on it for fun. My advice is to pitch the extra test.

    The real question is, during the time we were only using the toilet for "no. 1," was it registering "pregnant" over and over again?