Housewife Tuesday – Deconstructing Mary

Mary and Julia

Last year I took the last two weeks of August off. It was great. I decided then that I would take at least 10 days off each August and it didn’t matter where I went or what I did. What have I been doing you ask? Here it is:

Last Saturday, I worked a half day. 3b and I were going out of town the next day so I wanted to clean my girls “storage room”. My girl is a hoarder. She comes by it honestly as my mother was a hoarder. In the old house, in South Troy, my Mom had the “junk room”. This is where she threw miscellaneous shit she didn’t want to throw away or stuff she was hiding from my father or scraps of paper or buttons or broken alarm clocks or anything really. She never apologized for it and the dark prince (my father) was too indifferent to even try to organize it. Come to think of it, my mother never apologized for anything. Hmmm.

Anyways, I take half of a back-up happy pill and deep breath and get to work. I open the door to the hoard and there is half an inch of room between the door and disaster. I just begin to empty stuff out and put it somewhere because in the very back of all this mess is my treadmill. I wanted to set it up because I was now told that my thyroid levels are within a normal range and my fat is just that: mine. Dr. said that the enlargement is due to two fluid filled cysts on either side of my thyroid and I need to get off my fat ass and stop blaming everyone for my problems. She said the first medical part of that. I know she was thinking the second as I yelled at the nurse who called me with those test results that she had to be fucking kidding me. She kept saying, “but you are healthy” to my rants of “what the fuck!!!” I need the treadmill.

After two hours, I get to the treadmill. I need to move everything out of the hallway and into rooms just so I can haul this behemoth of a machine into an empty bedroom and set it up along with my massage table just in case there is a massage/treadmill emergency. I move it slowly and carefully as to not scratch walls or break windows. I am cursing and crying at the same time. I feel as though I have made the monster that has been my girl over the last eight weeks. She has been flip and disrespectful and I can only blame myself as an inadequate parent. Truth be told, I don’t have any idea as to what I am doing. I never did. See, I can understand why my mother hoarded. She was raised in an orphanage from 1929-1937. She remembered sneaking with the other kids into the kitchen to steal oranges. I can remember that she always loved oranges. We always had them and she and sometimes my brother would eat them. She could eat them if they were sweet or if they were sour. It didn’t matter.


At the two and a half hour mark I am sweaty and gross and crying. I sit on my bed to take a break and call my sister. I ask her if she thinks that my girl being like this is my fault:

Me: Do you think this is something I did to make her nuts.

Mary Sally 2: No. I think she is who she is and it is up to us as her family to teach her that she is safe and loved and that things are things and that people matter more than things. I also think that sometimes she is a greedy pig dog like Mommy. I think it is genetic. You are not like that. You don’t care about stuff so much. Your grandchildren will probably be like you. If you live that long to see it.

Like my beloved Capri, MS2 giveth and MS2 taketh away, usually in the same breath.

I sat on the step looking at all this stuff for what seemed like a long time. I thought about the feelings (which I hate) I have been having lately. I never really understood what deconstruction meant in terms of a person’s psyche until after had my girl. There have been periods of my life where I lived to be at one gym or another. I know believing that I was once a gym rat is making the bitcher ones roll their eyes, but it is true. The last time I seriously was into training was about five years ago. I was working with a young female trainer that had just lost 125lbs and still had curves and a big butt. What I looked like in my 20’s. She made me do this exercise on a flight of stairs. I would walk up the first step and then down, walk up two steps and then down and you get the picture. She made me do 50 steps. By the end of that exercise in terror, I was empty. I had no emotions other than fear and rage. Those are the most primal of all emotions, in my opinion. That was the first time I understood what deconstruction was. You go to the core, you break into a million pieces and then look at those pieces and try to make sense of them, maybe understanding each piece for the first time. That is what I was looking at this mess of crap that I allowed. My guilt over not being to be a nuclear family, of being no better than my parents, of failing at trying to lose weight again, and of being a failure in general. Make no mistake, I don’t pity myself. I know I got it good. I just need to figure out why I keep trying to destroy it. All that stuff wasn’t about my girl as much as it was about me. There were a million pieces and I was left to look at all of them and see if anything made sense.

I continued my de-hoarding for another two hours. I went through scraps of paper, crayons, dried play-dough, dried out markers, stickers, electronics that no longer worked baby books and plastic food. There was lots of plastic food, even plastic oranges.

1 thought on “Housewife Tuesday – Deconstructing Mary”

  1. A devastating situation that you used to write up a step by step performance deconstruction. As an artist I appreciated every detail of your dance. As a matter of fact it inspired me to write about my own hoarding act.

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