When we moved into our new house 5 months ago, we were overwhelmed with the amount of stuff it appeared we’d be taking with us. Our new house had plenty of large closets, but we didn’t have the immediate availability of a large garage. We gave a lot of stuff to Goodwill, and my dad was nice enough to take a lot of our stuff and store it on his property until we were able to get a shed or garage for it. That covered a lot of the stuff we considered worth something to someone. There was a lot of stuff we just wanted to get rid of by any means necessary. Since we are shameless, incurable procrastinators, we ended up waiting until the very last day to do the bulk of the cleaning at the old house. That day, something rather odd and miraculous occurred; a pair of old, rich hoarders found Vance frantically cleaning out the apartment and randomly offered to help.
Help they DID. They helped bag up trash, break stuff down, and haul stuff out onto the curb. They had their own cleaning supplies in their van, because WHY NOT? They cleaned the shit out of that place. They made some of rooms look as good as the day we moved in. The only thing they asked was that they get to take some of our neglected crap with them.
There was a lot of stuff, both materially and to do, and the scene was apparently pretty frantic. Vance and his friend who was helping insisted that they were very careful about what they were allowed to take and what was thrown away. Once Vance got home after midnight (I had been working that day so I didn’t get to help), I was just relieved that it was over.
Now the holiday season is approaching and I am itching to start decorating even though it isn’t even Thanksgiving. I am just exciting to decorate my own house! We had the first freeze of the season overnight and having to scrape ice off of my windshield this morning really got me in the spirit.
So I decided “to hell with the stupid after-Thanksgiving rule” and decided I would go ahead and pull out the Christmas stuff. Except I didn’t know where it was.
We don’t have that much stuff, so I stored all of it (except the tree) in one large Rubbermaid container. I found its a great way to check how much stuff you have and need for Christmas. I love Christmas Decorations, but you shouldn’t go overboard or else you enter into Griswold territory. Anyway, I decided to keep the stuff inside as opposed to in the garage to keep it from getting weather-damaged. At least that’s what I thought. And when we first started moving, the first containers I remembered putting in this house were the Rubbermaid containers, so I could have sworn that box made it into this house.
But it didn’t. I searched everywhere. I checked every closet in this house, including the closet in the playroom because I figured that was the most likely place it would be; that is our main storage space. I checked the kids closet, which had the other containers in it, except that those had toddler sheets and baby blankets. My closet had those containers too, but those had purses, seasonal clothes, and sewing stuff. Vance’s closet had other crap in it, and none of it was Christmas stuff.
I started to panic. Where could it have gone!?!?! There was no way I sent it with my dad because he only took stuff stored in the garage and I kept the Christmas stuff inside! I called my mother-in-law to find out if we had sent it with her. We didn’t. I called my brother, and we didn’t send anything with him either. I started to really worry that the Christmas stuff made off with the old hoarders on accident or on purpose. I know Vance would know better than to send off our Christmas stuff, so that could only mean that they snuck off with it. Hoarders love Christmas stuff! Haven’t you seen Hoarders? Holiday stuff, baby clothes, ceramic farm animals, and cats. Its like crack to them.
I was genuinely having a panic attack at the thought of that stuff being gone forever. It was so long ago, there was no way Vance would have remembered those people’s names. There are so many sentimental things in that box…ornaments marking important occasions, like first Christmases, stuff that Deven and I made, our stockings from when we were kids. That box has a musical snow globe in it that my mom randomly brought home for me one day after she went shopping at JC Penney’s with my granny. Stockings and ornaments can be replaced, but those really special items can’t. I was pretty torn up. Hyperventilating. Pacing. Stomach churning. TEARS.
I get pretty intense about Christmas.
My brother told me that we would do what we had to to track down that stuff. I told him I should call dad one last time to find out if maybe I was wrong about keeping the stuff inside. After three tries, my dad finally called me back and I told him about the Christmas stuff and how worried I was about it, and he said he would check our stuff and find out for me.
It turned out I was wrong. My dad found it among the stuff from the garage. I had a genuine panic attack over nothing. The ornaments are still there, as are the stockings, and the snow globe. I didn’t have to hunt down an elderly couple after all.
This does mean that since we’re going to my dad’s for Thanksgiving this year that I’m going to have to wait until the next day to decorate my house. As long as the stuff is still there, I think I’m okay with waiting.
I am really grateful to those people who appeared like Angels from their version of Heaven and helped us clean up that place. I never met them, but I wish I had. I would shake their hands and give them a cat if I could. No, seriously, they were a huge help. If it hadn’t been for them, we would have been handed a gargantuan cleanup bill from our old landlords and that would not have ended well. Thank you, whoever you are, wherever you are.