MISSING

The Final Polish: Putting Stuff Away — Forever

In an endless attempt to clean up and store all the extra stuff in life, the final polish is to put it away permanently — by finding a place for it which will be forever safe. 

In the course of organizing my pictures, I lost this one. I have no idea how. I must have deleted it, but I didn’t do it on purpose. Maybe while I was setting up a new computer and transferring files, this one fell between the chairs? Or got lost in some device, like maybe an ancient hard drive that no longer works. Or on an old DVD or floppy disk. Regardless, it is gone. I really liked it.

Path in the woods – A picture of a picture because I can’t find the original!

I have this picture because once upon a time, I printed this on canvas. I gave the picture away, but before I gave it away, I took a picture of the picture.

I lose things.

It’s not new. I have always had a habit of putting important items – papers, jewelry, lenses, cameras — in a safe place. Because, for some inexplicable reason, I have decided wherever it was, wasn’t safe enough. The problem is, wherever it previously was will be the place I remember it being. I will not remember the new, safer place I put it. If, indeed I put it anywhere and didn’t just put it down, go do something else, and forget about it.

The new, improved place to which I move it is guaranteed to be a place I will never remember. It’s also possible I move things in my sleep. Yes, I sleepwalk. I know this because other people have seen me sleepwalking. Also, there are other things that only make sense if I did them in my sleep. No rational (or waking) explanation is possible.

The jewelry I found in the bottom of Garry’s underwear drawer? I’m pretty sure he didn’t put my necklace there. In any conscious state of mind, I would never put anything there, other than his underwear. Or, for that matter, the bundle of jewelry I discovered in the piano bench. Why would anyone put their jewelry in the piano bench? Even me?

The worst losses are accidental. I have something important in my hand. I need to do something else, so I put down. Temporarily. Life moves on. I meant to go back and deal with it, but … it’s gone. Where did I leave it? Sometimes, I can find items by retracing my steps. I start by remembering in which room I picked up the thing. Where I went next and after that. Occasionally, this actually results in finding the missing piece. Mostly, it doesn’t, probably because the retracing was imperfect. And I forget about pockets. How many there are and  how much stuff you can shove into them.

Lost stuff can appear years later while I am hunting down something else that has gone missing. It can be a thrilling discovery … or it’s a duplicate of  papers I’ve already replaced.

A couple of friends of mine recently became widows. One of them strongly recommended I put our papers in order. Things like the deed to the house. Our birth certificates. I don’t have to worry about dealing with our fortune since there is none. In fact, it turns out all we will need — either of us — will be our birth certificates, social security cards, and a few passwords. One sheet of paper in a manila envelope. I don’t even have to worry about the money needed to bury one or both of us because there is no such  money. Presumably, we’ll get buried, one way or the other. Garry and I discussed this, then realized there was nothing we could do about it. He’s too old for life insurance and I’m too sickly to get any. We agreed to stop worrying about it because there’s no point in worrying about something you have no power to change. Anyway, I figure the state has to do something with our bodies. I don’t think it’s legal to just leave us lying around.

Too bad we aren’t allowed to be buried on our own property. We’ve more than enough room and our earth would be happy to have us.

I’m still searching for the missing picture. Not all the time, but every time I’m in one of my storage drives. It may turn up, someday. Or not.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure Garry has our birth certificates and our passports. As for the deed, probably the bank has a copy from whenever they took over our mortgage. Maybe they’ll make a copy for us if we ask nicely.

20 thoughts on “MISSING

  1. It happens but since I live an online life in my iPhone where I tend to register stuff it has got better. My problem is taking something out of the cupboard for cooking and then I don’t find it because I forgot that I already had removed it from the cupboard.

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    • The stuff online is — mostly — pretty well organized. Not counting the pictures. I’ve been storing them by month and year for at least the last four years. This would be fine if I remember what I was doing during any of those months. If if wasn’t a vacation month — I put vacations in separate folders — then I look at the month, figure out what the weather was probably doing, and figure ‘Okay, February, probably snow. Ditto January. December? Christmas? October? Leaves?” That works okay for things in general, but if I’m looking for a specific shot … and funny how I can remember the specific pictures I’ve taken … that can be tricky. Especially if it’s a place we go to often, like any of the dams or waterfalls. Or anywhere in town. Usually, eventually, I find what I want … but THAT picture has genuinely vanished and it’s an old one, so it really could have wound up on an old drive somewhere. I dumped a lot of old drives too, so it may be gone permanently. If I could remember where I shot it, that would help a lot!

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  2. The weird thing is that while I can lose what I had in my hand five minutes ago, I can go to the exact page in a book for a quote I haven’t seen in twenty years….

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    • Actually, that’s true for me too … though not for my more recent books, many of which I didn’t even read in a book. But I can very quickly locate a place in almost any text where that favorite quote can be found. I remember words well. It’s “things” that disappear.

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  3. A few weeks ago I had to find some documents for my brother Stephen who has Autism. Found everything except for what I was looking for, however Thankfully I had written the information down in an old phone book and was able to locate it. As for the burial thing since I am a U.S. Army Veteran I’ve already let what few relatives I have know to call the Dept. of the Army and they will bury me. Dang. For all I care they can cremate me. As long as there is some sort of a Christian church Memorial Service My Spirit/Soul will be happy.

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    • Garry was released from the Marine Corp early on a medical discharge. They discovered he was deaf, which apparently put a real crimp into his potential to lead the men … well … anywhere. So I don’t think they owe him one. Pity about that. It would be great. He has a real soft spot for the Marines.

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  4. A peculiar blog! Can’t help but to agree on how much you could shove into your pockets and you’ll never see those things ever again. Love the way you write. It’s interesting. Keep it up, it’s great. Hope to see more from you. Have hope, write on!

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  5. My process for finding some of those lost items is to sit down and try to figure out my mind set at the time.
    I can see why you were unhappy about losing that photo. It has a mystical path that leads the eye into the picture.
    Leslie

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  6. Talking about lost stuff, and finding it later on, I have lots of that, as I am actively decluttering my “box room” and that has been full since we moved in in 1990. I keep on going each day, sometimes it is more difficult than others, I feel depressed, anxiety, sadness, hopeless, hopeful. Others always have some magical solution for the clutter to be “busted.” I become annoyed with the opinions of everyone else about what I should do with all of our stuff. “This should be easy”, it should be completed in one-two months, a year at the most! What’s so hard about it? Take a box, open it up, look at the item, keep or get rid of it, just that simple.
    I just feel bad about myself, and ashamed. Believe me, I didn’t realize there was so much, and even though I may love it, there is too much, so I can’t keep what I like, not enough room in closets, drawers and storage areas. This is my journey/problem/issue/situation for now, so I have learned to not talk about it with many people, even friends and family are judgmental, and make rude comments, for example, hoarder.
    Maybe there is something wrong with me because I can’t just toss everything out as quickly as it “should” be?
    I feel depressed just talking about it now. I feel disrespected, and it is a big joke for others to laugh about, and then make comments later, behind my back.
    Secrets, we are talking about secrets here, when you reveal them, you are judged by those you thought were those you could talk to, your friends and family, it seems I am so wrong. But it is too late, it’s out of the dark, and now I just have to deal with it. I am reading blogs, such as bemorewithless.com, and information about a minimalist lifestyle. This is helpful, and motivational, so I keep on going.

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    • Garry has been cleaning out his “office” for at least five years and neither of us believes he will ever finish. The truth is, he doesn’t want to throw anything out, even if it’s useless and no one else will ever want it. I feel that way too. Like my dolls. No one will want them, but they are part of our lives. They are the little people on our shelves. Should we rehome them? Sure, but I don’t feel like getting rid of my ancient Chinese porcelain or my 1940s dolls or my painting.

      We aren’t hoarders, but we collect things. Some things we’ve let go, or passed to people we thought would value them. Other things? Unless I think someone else would love them, I’m not that eager to just dump them. They are valuable to me and beloved by us.

      I figure I’ll just keep the stuff. When I’m gone, they can figure out what to do with it. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but I’m pretty much finished. What remains isn’t stuff I got from my mother or some relative. It’s OUR stuff. My stuff. Garry’s stuff. It’s US.

      And frankly, there’s no reason we have to get rid of it except that’s the way things are these days. There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with keeping your things. Nothing. Let them laugh at you. One day, they will be looking at all their OWN stuff and it won’t be the least bit funny.

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