So, do you want to hear about the completely fucked-up thing I did last weekend, chickens? OF COURSE YOU DO!

To preface: my parents are selling the family manse of the last eleventy-seven billion years. If you must needs know how I came to be such a packrat, you really need have looked no further than the McColgan Estates, Where Nothing Gets Thrown Out, Ever. We held a yard sale this past summer, the first wave of purging the place. LIFE magazines chronicling everything from the Kennedy assasination to the death of Pope Paul VI. Maxwell House Commemorative Coffee Jars from 1976 (I took one; it's now sitting on the bookshelf next to the houseboy's desk, and we use it for spare change). I came by my hoarding instincts quite honestly, thank you.

At any rate, the folks have been in Florida since after Thanksgiving, and the house has been sitting there, empty save for a last few clues as to its former inhabitants. I went down there this past Saturday to get the last of that Which Is Valuable In Some Way Or Other, having not set foot in the place since before my parents left.

Chickens, it fucked me up good and proper. Understand that I was never especially happy there. I was an odd duck in a town full of swans, and while I had nice friends, it took me a long, long time to be comfortable in my own skin.

My little blue bedroom, with its terrible shag carpeting covering a multitude of creaky floorboards, was my sanctum sanctorum, an inviolable place of privacy. Duran Duran and Michael Jackson pictures torn from magazines gave way to gargantuan, floor-to-ceiling Bauhaus tour posters and Halloween decorations that stayed up year-round. I'd get up early, put a record on my shitty little phonograph, and carefully dress in such a way that it looked like I didn't CARE how I looked.

In the next room, my sister listened to her records and wrote all over the walls. The television was always on, even if nobody was watching it. There was always a cat, sometimes two. You were constantly stepping over stuff, ducking through the smaller-than-normal doorways, kicking at doors swollen with humidity. A baby possum once made its way up into the bathroom closet through the basement. In the summer, the place would fill with big, fat black ants, requiring us to keep our breakfast cereal -- and just about everything else -- in tupperware containers.

In later years, after my siblings and I moved out, the place was still chaotic. Now there were babies and toddlers coming to visit. Now you had to stand in the kitchen to eat the pizza my dad would order, because there was never any place to sit. Massive boxes of candy samples from my dad's job loomed in the foyer or were stacked around the dining room table.

And so I let myself in this past Saturday, and the house, by the house's standards, was empty (the furniture that we couldn't sell or give away was still there). The boxes that I'd come to retrieve were up in my wee blue bedroom. I hadn't planned on having to come back and say goodbye. I didn't want to, but took on this last trip to spare my sister the hassle of having to load her three kids into the car and trying to do this with them in tow.

I stood there, on that ridiculous blue shag carpet, and cried. I told my room, the whole house, that I was sorry that it was all ending like this, but that soon enough somebody else would come live there, and that if there was any poetic justice in the world, another painfully awkward adolescent would be in this very room, thinking, "I have GOT to get OUT of this place."

And then I did the fucked-up thing.

I took the little Leatherman that I keep on my keychain, and I crawled into the back of my old closet, and I hacked away at that horrible blue shag carpet until I got an inch-long sliver, which I stuffed into the pocket of my jeans. And I brought it home. And here it is.

I swear to God I am the craziest bitch that ever lived.

lisamcc at 10:19 p.m.

5 comments so far
Rock City
2006-02-24 19:50:15
I was going to argue with the "craziest bitch" statement, but then I read the "big panties" entry. You make it hard to disagree once the "locker room" paragraph looms up in all its horror.

2006-02-17 11:28:21
Granted I hadn't lived there for very long, but this past Thanksgiving Jeff, mom, & I took a ride by Rick & my old house (the one we bought). It was an empty lot. A crappy small-ish empty lot. Someone had torn it down. Very depressing. Especially since we'd put so much working into it (after we moved to CA, and some before) to sell it. All for nothing.

2006-02-17 13:04:15
That 'carpet' looks like 100% asbestos. Flee! Flee!

2006-02-17 06:50:08
I remember having to do the same thing when my parents sold our family house. I went to say goodbye to my closet, the walls of which were covered in drawings I had done over the years. It was not a fun day and my husband kicks himself for not agreeing to buy it from them those many years ago. And I often wonder who sleeps in MY old bedroom, which, fortunately, was not small at all, and if they left my drawings on the closet walls.

2006-02-17 01:42:14
When going to estate auctions, we often find odd, ordinary items that are kept in boxes or drawers with jewelry or heirlooms. I marvel at the stories these plain things would tell us, if we only knew.

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