Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tazi's Corner #51 - Adventures In Downsizing

Dear Readers:

This week my Mommie officially finished all of her degree coursework (Commencement may have been in May, but she is an August graduate). On her first day off without schoolwork in close to two years she decided to clean the house, something that has been neglected in her quest for academic excellence.

Now, when Mommie cleans she does not just dust and straighten; she empties drawers, sorts through shelves, and usually ends up with large piles of stuff to donate or discard. I usually stay out of her way when she does this because I do not care to end up in either of those piles (remember, I am a rescue pet) but on this particular day I could not because she was “cleaning” her office, which is where my cat-nap bed and favorite feeding station are both located. This is how I came upon some interesting information.

Mommie was cleaning out all of her old academic stuff that she has saved over the years – hard copies of research papers, Honor Societies membership certificates, and textbooks dealing with things like Calculus and Organic Chemistry – hardly the stuff of light reading. While the certificates went into the desk drawer and the hard copies of research papers went in the trash (she has them backed up electronically) the books got set aside to donate to a lending library for students who cannot afford to purchase textbooks. She managed to clean off and entire shelf of her bookcase when she decided to tackle her non-academic books. Soon, she had a large pile of stuff to donate to her local library. Again.

“Again?” you ask? Mommie and I moved twice in two years – first from the house she grew up in, where reading was always encouraged (from Troll Book Club to the Book of the Month Club). In our bedroom, on the bookshelf-style nightstand sits the entire Harry Potter collection, along with her childhood copies of the Chronicles of Narnia (both collections in hardcover) and a few of her leather-bound classics, like Little Women and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gifts from people who know that she is a bibliophile. These treasures will see the donation bin over her cold, dead body!

Mommie’s book collection grew ostensibly over the years, so much so that she either donated or sold over 100 books when we moved the first time, yet somehow her collection continued to grow! After we moved the second time, she promised herself she would start collecting eBooks and she even bought herself a Nook Tab with that intention! So far, she hasn't had time for much pleasure reading (senior year at university can be quite demanding) but she has managed to buy the electronic or audio version of most books she buys! While eBooks are incredibly convenient (an eReader makes it easy to carry KenFollett books in your purse!), there is nothing like the comfort of sitting on a good book that someone is trying to read.

I'm (not!) sorry, were you reading this?

I think it fascinating how what we choose to downsize reflects what we value the most. While Mommie has shelves full of Victoria’s secret body sprays and Elizabeth Taylor perfumes, she has also thrown out many more bottles of creams, lotions, and perfumes than she has actually kept. During our first move she cried when several of her porcelain collectibles were broken by clumsy hands, but she took a deep breath and said aloud, “IT’S JUST STUFF!!!” reminding herself that human relationships are more important than inanimate objects. She was freely able to yard sale most of her crystal, her party dresses from days gone by, odd pieces of furniture, and about 500 audio cassettes from the 1980’s (does anyone else remember bands like The Outfield and The Jets?). Her books were another story…

It has been two years and every now and then she finds herself looking for a particular book that she loved but can no longer find. She resigns herself, with a heavy sigh, that it was probably donated or sold during one of her moves and accepts the fact that she will have to buy the electronic version. Every now and then she will get a mailer for leather-bound classic books – “COLLECT THEM ALL!” screams the flyer – and she will longingly look at the fine bindings and the gold leaf lined pages before tossing it into the trash with the rest of the junk mail.

Sigh...maybe someday

Recently, she and my Daddy decided to join the book club and she is currently looking for an eBook club to join. Progress may be practical, but nobody ever said it was not painful. Now, onto the closets and those size 5 jeans she will probably never wear again…


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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