Modern Hoarders


My phone rang, a Lexington number, and I prepared my, “Sorry, we moved five years ago but never changed the cells” spiel.

“Ms. Powell?” The woman’s voice was hesitating, as if she were surprised I had answered.

“Ye-ess?” I have no more professional connections in Kentucky. Friends, yes. Strangers who think my last name is Merriman and want to sell me life insurance? Yes. But people who call me by my own last name and yet somehow know better than to say “Mrs.”? None.

“This is Tessa from Central bank in …”

And I knew. The safe deposit box. We’ve tripped over those fucking keys for five years and not sent them back. Actually, that’s not true. It’s more that we’ll be cleaning out one or another of our hoarder cells and come across them. “Shit. Gotta return those,” we’ll say. And we all know which road is paved with those intentions.

So I hung up with Tessa and called Scott. “I think I know where they are,”  he said.

“Thank God. Because they’re about ready to drill into the vault.”

Only he didn’t. And I woke up in a manic sweat at 2AM, frantic with the thought that we have merely misplaced something that is going to cost us a fuck-ton of money. This is the kind of thing that drives me batshit crazy. We are so damned scattered, so completely incapable of establishing even basic organizational schemes, that we lose shit all the time. Important shit. Expensive shit. Like lockbox keys.

I tore through the ‘mail center’ our quaint name for the particular disaster where we store stamps and the like. This was the most likely place to have lost it, because the mail center, being located just inside the door, collects whatever shit we’re carrying as we walk in. One trash bag and two “This is Not My Fucking Problem, Baby; You Fucking Deal With It” bags later, I still have not found the lockbox keys.

But I have located every single lost greeting card I meant to send in the last five years. And all of the kids’ missing crayons. A dozen envelopes I bet we thought we used. Stamps with denominations ranging from thirty three or four cents (with Porky Pig on them, in case you wondered) to four dollars and sixty cents (those feature Airforce One).  A complete set of fingerpaints. With refills. Our car insurance policies for the last six years. (If you do your math, that means I found one from Lexington.) The lockbox keys for our current safe deposit box. Just not the thing I wanted most.

So now, I want it over. I tried to call Tessa to tell her that they would have to send me the bill. But the phone at the other end rang and rang. It seems you can’t leave messages in the wee hours at the bank.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Modern Hoarders — 16 Comments

  1. I have a very bad habit of putting things in a ‘safe’ place.. In order to assure myself that they can be te–found. That hardly ever works put for me because I have a dozen safe places.

    It’s infuriating and frustrating.. Mostly because it leads to me cursing.. And swearing I’ll get one fucking place to put things.

    In other words, I feel your pain. Want me to pray to st Anthony so you find them. Use my catholic upbringing for a good purpose 😉
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    • My grandmother had this fabulous little rhyme she’d chant while spinning circles (note – she was presbyterian) “St. Anthony, St. Anthony turn around/ Let one thing lost be one thing found” or something like that

  2. I was also going to suggest a nudge in St. Anthony’s direction. I’m not sure he finds them directly, but definitely lets me clear my mind and more often than not, I find the damn thing.

    Good luck! I hope you happen on to them today before the bank opens.

    Right now, I’m using a “password cracker” to open a document from my aunt that I password protected with a unique password so no one else could see it. I know I wrote down the password. But Hell if I can find it now. Grrrrr.
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  3. Oh ugh. I totally, totally understand the feeling. I know I could solve this problem by cleaning out a crapton of stuff and keeping my life more organized, but… meh. Our “mail center” is a similarly disastrous area that started out with the best of intentions. When we moved, I swore I would get, and keep, this house better organized. Yeah, no.
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    • Somehow the boxes just suck out all the inertia! Congratulations by the way! I saw your post but didn’t have a chance to respond with appropriate cheers!

    • My grandfather had a theory of flat surfaces. It went something like this:

      Every flat surface in the universe exists to accrue objects. If flat objects cannot fulfill their purpose, they become sad and sink in the middle. Therefore, you must pile up things to make the flat surfaces happy.

  4. Oh, I get this and am living this. In my mayhem over here, I lost the keys to my fireproof box where I keep all of my important papers in my house. I did find them – but I thought I’d be drilling too! good luck!
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  5. Thank God! All this time I thought I was the only one with this kind of crap swirling around in my waking (and sleeping sometimes) mind. We have a drawer in the kitchen called the Hell Drawer that collects lone hole-less keys, buttons, assorted lint specimens, paper clips, folded notes of grand import, snippets of paper with scribbled phone numbers sans names (whose number is this? He doesn’t know either…sigh), and well, you get the drift. Over the years, I have discovered if it isn’t in this drawer, it no longer exists. Hence, your safety deposit box keys are a figment of your imagination. Does that work for you?
    Sorry! I know how frustrating this kind of activity is. I feel your pain, but have no glorious solution…sigh