I invited the 'you need a Dumpster!' lady to my home

talley_sue_nycAugust 9, 2008

What an idiot I am! They're in town for the weekend and want to get together, so I said, "come over on Saturday, we'll feed you lunch, and the kids can go to the park or sit around and talk."

Some of you who'd been here a long time may remember the friend of mine who told me "you need a Dumpster!"

OK, we have a lot of stuff, more than we can fit comfortably to be honest, and sometimes it's messy, but I don't need to be scolded! Not by someone I see once every year-and-a-half, who is sitting at my dining room table, drinking my coffe, on a light social visit.

It was a clear eye-opener that we're not as close as she thinks we are. If we were, she would *know* that she didn't need to "tell me a few home truths." We'd have talked (as I have w/ my other two good friends) about the whole project, and my struggles with it, and she'd have said some *other* sort of thing to either encourage me or make me realize that if I'd stop being so lazy, or so determined to only relax at home, it wouldn't be so bad.

I have friends who can do that, but she can't. (for one thing, she's not good at it) I don't think she knows it, and I don't think it's worth telling her, but it was a clear message to me that we are not intimates.

Anyway, our family has had vacations and birthday parties, which means even more stuff, and we've all sort of let stuff pile up in the corners. So I'll be spending my morning moving it out.

So, there are a few things I'm gleaning from this, emotionally and philosophically:

 I suppose the Dumpster lady is doing me a service adn has a purpose in your life; the negative judgments I expect her to make are motivating me to get off my duff

 Be careful how you speak to people, even those you consider your friends; your negative comments will last a LONG time past the point you say them, and they may change your friendship even if you don't see evidence of it (though I haven't been suggesting we go visit them!)

 Things sting more when they're true.

 I really must get my kids to purge. I'm tired of being the only one who's willing to. And they need to learn how to do this.

(here is an earlier post about her)

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I would suggest that things only sting more if you THINK they are true.
You don't need a dumpster. You need more space. You live in Manhattan, and you work in publishing, so you aren't likely to be moving into 8,000 square feet with a 2,000 square foot terrace in the Ariel any time soon, right?
So you do the only thing you can do, which is struggle with having a family and a life in a tightly packed city, and I think you are doing just fine. You are clearly not lazy...you just have a continuing challenge, and if you haven't yet found the perfect solution, you may just need to relax a little more from time to time.
I so know what it feels like to be susceptible to the negative voice you describe from Dumpster Girl...do you, as I do, have just such a voice from somewhere in your youth that imbedded itself in your gut, so that every time you hear that familiar criticism, you believe it?
There is a great misconception drifting around in our culture, which says that if you can just criticize someone enough, you can really make them happy.
Shove it all under the bed, have a nice Bloody Mary with this friend, and soothe yourself with the knowledge that, whatever you do or do not do in your life, she has to go through her life being her, and you don't.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:45AM
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As soon as I saw your subject line, Tally Sue, my first thought was "Oh No!". I remember you telling about her, and how very frustrating it was for you. It's a bummer when invitations just fly out of our mouths like that, isn't it? I'm like that too - invite first, deal with the consequences later. Too hospitable, I guess.

In any case, at least it's been motivating (whether you wanted to be motivated is the question, but it's done now). And I really, really hope that perhaps she's changed. Maybe this time will be better, and she'll be more encouraging (or better, just not say anything judgemental, like any polite person would do).

Good luck with your "clearing out"...stuff to the bedroom with a closed door, perhaps?

I'm sure things will never be minimalist enough for *her*, but remember that if she *does* say anything, you have the power to just laugh it off, and turn it around, saying something to the effect of "we might be somewhat cramped here, but it always feels like home, and people are the priority around here". Then move on to something else.

If you plan how you'll respond to potential comments ahead of time, you'll not only feel more confident, but you'll be able to meet them calmly and with grace - which should serve to shut her up about it. Remember you have *nothing* to be ashamed of or defensive about - it's your house, and you deal with it as you see fit. While it may matter to us what others think, *they* don't have to know that. :-)

Good luck - I do hope it goes well this time!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:50AM
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Talley Sue,

Do you feel that she is coming so she can visit you, or she is coming to critique your housekeeping skills? If she is coming back, I would assume it is because she enjoys your company, not your clutter. Any idea what her house looks like? She maybe has gone through what you are now experiencing, and got a dumpster herself.

Oh, alright, maybe she just isn't someone you need to spend a lot of time and effort on to further a relationship. Get through the day and call it good.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 12:45PM
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If I give you my mother's address, will she go visit her, too?


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:19PM
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I'm sure she thinks she was being a good friend (as bronwynsmom said, there's this feeling that if we just criticize people enough, they'll see the light).

I *have* been lazy, and I *do* need a Dumpster--but of course, it also takes TIME to put stuff in a Dumpster. You can't just shovel the whole living room into the Dumpster; you need to pull out what you have to save.

(and yes, I need more space, but I actually *have* more space, bcs we rented an off-site storage bin more than a year ago, and it's full, and our home still has more stuff than will fit, lots of it acquired since then)

I did need the motivation--clearing out was on my agenda for the weekend anyway, but having someone (anyone, not just the Dumpster lady) come visit is a good focusing tool for the kids AND me.

Barbara--I've seen her house, and she has more space AND less stuff. She helped her mom declutter and pack to move out of the 4-bedroom family home, at the time she made her comment, and so she was elbow deep in accumulated-but-ultimately-worthless stuff. But it still stung. (partly it was the shocked and scolding tone)

It'll be OK; I'm probably making more out of it than necessary. And there really was no other way to get together--her mom moved away, so if we're going to get together, it has to be here.

It's good for me! The common rooms look pretty good now (though there is still too much stuff--it's not messy, but there's a lot on the shelves, and a lot of shelves).

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:23PM
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Maybe next time you'll meet her at your favorite restaurant for lunch????

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 5:45PM
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Well, I'm guessing by this hour, and your being an hour later than it is here, it's too late to give advice about how to deal with your dumpster friend. Just wanted to let you know that we all have our own way of looking at stuff. Obviously your friend isn't into stuff like most of us are.

My love of stuff is what drove me to become obsessive about organizing. If my stuff is organized, than I feel allowed to keep all I want. So I work at finding a place for everything. Not that everything has a place at the moment, but I do work at it. I believe that you can't have a beautifully decorated home without it being organized so that's another motivation. I love to decorate and love combining the two as I did with the cabinet I just redid. Nothing is more beautiful than something that also holds my stuff. :^D

I won't go into it here, but will start another thread about how to best use every inch of space we have. I think it will help us all. I know I need reminding of how I organized our last home that was less than half the size of this home and more organized than this one. Not to mention our children lived there too. Here it's just me and hubby.

I do hope today went well. Next time she comes ask her to meet you at a new, or new to you, restaurant that you've been wanting to try. Or plan to meet at the park the kids play at and bring a picnic along. Just because her Mom no longer has a place for you to meet doesn't mean you *have* to meet at your home. Make it fun instead of so stressful. Life is too short not to find a way to enjoy every minute of it.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 8:06PM
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It was fine, though I had a coughing fit (allergies, asthma) and she immediately started quizzing me about what was the cause, and was I allergic to mold, and if it was humid weather, then definitely it was mold.

I said, rather repressively, that the allergist who'd told me I was definitely NOT allergic to mold was the head of allergy at St. Luke's & a past president of the nat'l org. of allergists and immunologists.

It made me realize, she thinks everything is an opportunity to give advice, and it was really annoying, and I'd better what what *I SAY* to other people, bcs I don't want to be that annoying.

I think she's just programmed to try to "fix" people, which might help me view her more kindly.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:08PM
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and, thanks for all the support and encouragement and commiseration.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:09PM
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This is slightly off track, but next week I'll be seeing an old friend from HS, who now lives out west. Luckily this will be at her daughter's house, so I won't have to clean! But nagging at the back of my mind is the fact that she was always quick with the negative comment. Always. I figured out very early on that she was very unsure of her standing with others, so maybe it was a matter of "getting you before you got her." Hope I can keep my mouth shut, and just enjoy the day. Makes me a little nervous though.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:14PM
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nagging at the back of my mind is the fact that she was always quick with the negative comment. Always.

Isn't that disappointing? It really makes you wonder what she'd say about *you* when you're not there.

I have a relative-by-marriage who is like this a little, and I am *always* on tenterhooks when I visit. Most of the other people I know or am related to, I just don't sweat it, I figure if I say something wrong, or my kids play in some way they don't approve of, they'll just shrug and forget it, concentrating on the parts of me they like.

But w/ her, I'm just not comfortable completely. Her husband doesn't create that reaction in me at all (but of course, I've been related to him all my life).

Again, something I've learned I don't want to do in my own friendships, so I try not to kvetch to one friend about another. (except, I complain about everybody to my best friend, because she helps me find the good parts again, and she understands that my momentary irirtation with them isn't animosity)

One thing that helps w/ people like Dot's friend is to remember that EVERYBODY reacts to her the same way, so when she says something negative about you, all the people who hear here are going to say, "there's Susie w/ the negative comment" and not "wow, I didn't realize Dot was to [insert bad adjective here]."

If you've got her number, so does everybody else.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 11:39PM
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Talley_Sue, I'm glad that it wasn't as abrasive as the dumpster visit. I really agree with you that it's an opportunity to learn/observe what things sound like and how they feel on the receiving end. Kind of like trying on clothes--if it doesn't look good on you don't buy it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 4:25AM
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Tally Sue, I'm sorry your "friend" hurt your feelings with a remark like that. My MIL once came for a visit and told me "You need to hire a cleaning lady." At the time, my house was very messy, I had two small children, a small cluttered house,and I was employed 50 plus hours a week. Cleaning the house just was not a priority. But her remark stung. She didn't offer to babysit so I could spend a weekend cleaning. Nor did she offer to come over to help in any other way. It taught me a lesson, something I heard in the movie Bambi about 52 years ago "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:20AM
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I remember this. I would love that lady to come to my house. At least she doesn't spare her thoughts. Sometimes I wonder what is worse. I could use her! LOL!

But I secretly have to wonder, you knowing how abrasive she is, is that you invited her anyway. WHY??? Mmmmmmm.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:20AM
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Talley_Sue, One funny thing is that when I read the title of your post...I thought to myself...I didn't know there was such a lady that would come and help with a dumpster! I had better read this post, maybe I will get her to my house too! :-)

Sounds like your visit went O.K. and yes, I have a friend like that too, not with the negative comments but one that tries to help in whatever she sees wrong whether I am looking for help or not. I think some people are like that and if she is a very factual type of person, like my friend is...she is well studied and interested in facts and likely does know the answers. I myself find that I avoid this friends company as she is not the "fun and laugh" type person that I would rather spend time with.

What you said that reminded me of my friend is about your cough. My friend told me I have a wheeze when I laugh & that I should see a doctor because I may has asthma. The funny thing is that I am the nurse and not her. I never noticed it!

I am getting carried away on this post...anyway, I am glad your visit is over and you can get back to doing your organizing for yourself and not someone elses opinion of you. That is the way I am trying to get! Actually I am getting that way already, although I still have to do alot of decluttering and hiding stuff for visitors!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 11:28AM
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Jannie--I bet it was the tone of voice, wasn't it? I know it was w/ my friend. I can see someone saying to me, in support and sympathy, "you need to hire a cleaning lady," meaning "you don't have time to do this all yourself; you deserve help, go get it." In fact, my mom and my MIL *have* said it. With precisely that submeaning.

But tone is everything, isn't it? It sure was for me.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 4:27PM
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brugloverz9, I thought it might be part of a local news show where they sent this dumpster lady around to help other's get organized and showed just how good she was on the am show! :^P

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Your "friend" has a mouth that overloads her a$$. If she were a friend she wouldn't have made such a rude comment. If she was concerned about your clutter, she should first find out if it bothers you, because that's what matters and if it does, she should offer to help you clean and clear it out. Remind her that if she has nothing nice to say, not to say anything. If it bothers her that much she sure as heck shouldn't be sitting at your table having coffee. Offer to serve her outside!!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 6:04PM
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Talley Sue, it's a good insight that she's programmed to "fix" people, even if it's only her opinion that they're "broken".

One strategy I've found is to be sugary sweet in thanking them, yet still point out that they're wrong.

"Oh, bless your heart, you're trying to help me. No, dear, there's no mold here, and even if there were, I'm not allergic. No, no, my doctor is the head of allergy at St. Luke's & a past president of the nat'l org. of allergists and immunologists. So I think I'll take his opinion over yours. But aren't you sweet to try to help."

I've also found that it helps if someone other than the target says something. "Actually, SIL, the doctor supports DH's eating strategy wholeheartedly. It's the same diet that his mother follows, which was designed to help with her diabetes. So we're just going to let him eat that way, okay? But thanks so much for your suggestions."

    Bookmark   August 10, 2008 at 7:33PM
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Talley Sue, I have an in-law just like that. One day she mentioned "stuff all over the place" as she came to visit us and our two children who were 2 and 4, in our small apartment. I just stopped dead and looked her straight in the eye, smile plastered on my face and said, very softly, "You didn't mean that to sound the way it did, did you?" She immediately apologized and now keeps her constant negative thoughts to herself when she is in my home, which thankfully isn't often. That one phrase worked like a charm, in a moment of inspiration! Yes, her home looks perfect, but her life is a mess. I often think if she had spent one-tenth the time on her family as she spent on her house, they'd all be better off. But I digress...

Talley, you have so often given great advice to everyone here on this board! Let's this woman's barbs roll right off your back! You know what's important. You're an inspiration to many of us here. She is quite uncouth, as far as I can tell.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 10:58AM
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I think you are balancing the input extremely well--it's very rude and a downer to have someone say things like that, but you can still decide to continue your own mission and not let the fact that she said dumb stuff get in the way of your own path to progress.

It's like when my Mom would tell me to clean up my room, and I would feel like I was JUST ABOUT to do it, if only she hadn't said anything, but once she did, I'd get annoyed and stubborn and say it's no fun anymore.

Now I'm better at managing my "moods" that are "provoked" by others, so I am trying find more and better ways to minimize feeling provoked, or just recognizing that it will soon pass ( which in your recent case can include blowing off some steam and getting some supportive feedback--very constructive.)

Also, isn't that a great eye-opener about how we may all not realize whether we are doing this type of thing in some way or another, until we see a blatant example.

So it's great that you are able to see something "positive" in your experience without actually having to get a dumpster or, heaven forbid, telling her you love hearing her comments!

Totally off topic, I recently read the book version of "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. In it, he has a section on basically deciding whether we want to be a Tigger or an Eeyore. Now, that's a little simplistic, but even as I read it I had this uh-oh pang that I really WANT to be a Tigger and like to think of myself as positive and uncomplaining, but I really have to fight my Eeyore tendencies. I know this know this know this. Yet, reading the book took me one step further in trying to grow in that direction.

I recently spent some time with a relative that is just so positive (in the face of personal tragedy), funny, always has an upbeat spin--when you get off the phone, or leave from a visit, you just feel GOOD. It would be easy to get kind of annoyed and make excuses about well MY day or MY problems were different, but that would be because I want to be like her but know I am not, and that makes me feel bad, and when you feel bad, you tend to blame or fight back. Instead, I made a renewed effort to look honestly at my occasional sad-sack tendencies and find ways to curb that and laugh at things more, and/or keep my mouth shut.

In the same vein, I keep trying to think of myself as simplifying and de-cluttering, but am still somewhat self-defeating. So I keep trying to "listen" even to input that comes from painful or annoying sources and not build up my defenses. So, I might be able to use your experience with your friend to work harder, because it's coming at me in a de-personalized way, whereas when it's my currently unemployed daugher telling me I have too many things (including such boorish things as a car that you need to get to work, if you are really serious about getting work!), then I get testy and have trouble "hearing".

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 12:14PM
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"brugloverz9, I thought it might be part of a local news show where they sent this dumpster lady around to help other's get organized and showed just how good she was on the am show!"

Becky and brugloverz, wouldn't that make a GREAT reality-TV show? As a rival to Clean Sweep?

And you could have a really friendly, warm host, who could perfect [per-FECT] how to say, "sweetheart, you need a Dumpster, honestly--let me help!" and then explore all the reasons people keep things, and provide many hands, and strategies, etc.

just recognizing that it will soon pass ( which in your recent case can include blowing off some steam and getting some supportive feedback--very constructive.)

Frankie, you are such a wise woman--I know I've said this before, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to say it again--I am SO grateful you are here on the forum, and for the clarity of thought, charm of words, and warmth of tone you bring--and the incredible insights.

I want to be like her but know I am not, and that makes me feel bad, and when you feel bad, you tend to blame or fight back.

Or, maybe realize that being *like* her isn't as easy at it seems, and use the opportunity to simply admire her. Sort of an interpersonal extension of "just because you see a beautiful object in a store and can see how lovely it would look in your home, doesn't mean you actually have to buy it." She sounds like an amazing gift to the world, and to YOU, with her outlook, and maybe you need to give yourself permission to bask in that tremendous gift. (it can be hard to simply accept that gift without trying to somehow become it, or own it, or control it. I love to read mysteries, and my DH once asked me when I was going to write one, w/ a tone that implied that I *owed it* to the world or myself to do so; I realized, and said, that I don't want to; it's OK to simply be the recipient of some things)

I keep trying to "listen" even to input that comes from painful or annoying sources and not build up my defenses.

This is a great point, too, and I'm glad you made it; one thing I fight w/ my husband about (almost the only thing) is, if I say, "I did this wrong," or "I was lazy," he'll say, "no, you're busy."

But the TRUTH is, I was lazy. The TRUTH is, I have too much stuff in my home, and I'm not really doing anything about it. If I *only* get defensive, then I may never actually grow. It's hard to find the middle ground--to not throw out the facts just because they were insensitively presented.

And, most of the "stuff in the corners" was picked up before their visit, and that means that when we discovered a missionary from my church body was stranded in the city w/ 2 of his kids (same age as mine) because of passport problems, we could *snap* invite them over to play today.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 1:53PM
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So if I understand your comment about your DH correctly, what I envision is an interchange that goes: I was lazy. No you're just busy. I am too lazy. No you're not. Am too. Are not.

So isn't that actually great? It's win-win, and your husband may qualify for extra brownie points.

Let's say I'm very messy, but my loving DH is blind to all my faults. Isn't that great? I'm a grown-up; I can work on my own faults.

Let's say I'm very messy, and my DH realizes it, but loves me anyway and is smart enough to know that one can't change another person, one can only change oneself, so sees no reason to jump on the bandwagon and beat me up further. Isn't that great?

So I can grumble and announce my faults, my DH can demur, I can feel either loved blindly AND/OR loved generously, and I can move forward on whatever changes I'm ready to make without feeling picked on or pressured.


I happen to have a DH who is very uncritical (though not faultless) and you will almost never catch him complaining about anything I do or fail to do. But I realized long ago it's not because I am so faultless; it's just that he does not approach our marriage that way. Yet we can communicate about things. So sure, there's a chance that he develops some resentment if he is in fact steamed about something, because he's not a big steam-blower-offer and may not tell me directly; it gives me both great license to take advantage of him if I interpret his silence as that there's no problem, but also great freedom to self-examine and strive to grow on my own. I mean, I think we know when we're being sharp, when we're being lazy, when we're taking someone for granted.

Or, I guess, maybe not--tons of marriage counseling is based on couples not being able to communicate see what the the spouse needs, or communicate their needs, yet being able to learn how to do that better. So, sure, it can be good for friends or spouses to actually tell us what we need to know, gently and supportively.

But what I like, is using a forum like this to help me make changes, and do that at a pace I can handle, and with a little more distance than a family discussion, so I can "see" myself in many of the posters' dilemmas and feel motivated but not threatened.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 11:09AM
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Oh, this thread. It is so applicable to me and my life. I have a "dumpster lady" type friend who would tear through my house and my heart in a minute, and my hub sounds just like Frankie's and probably Talley Sue's. This is another thread I could print and post around my house; but, wait, my daughter would give me that look again.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:07AM
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sherrmann...only because your comment about your daughter sparked this quote that came to me this past week-end while deciding to do what I wanted to do vs. doing what someone else would like me to do...& I am trying to keep it as my mantra..."TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE".

Sure the way we live and the things we do will not please everyone...but like the song says..."can't please everyone but you gotta please yourself"


    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 12:48PM
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Talley Sue - I'm not sure what to say about this woman since I don't know whether she is a true friend with an abrasive personality, a know-it-all who enjoys dictating what's good for you, a hybrid of the first two, or something worse! I'm sorry she has upset you in the past and continues to upset you. But, you are NOT an idiot! Your first impulse was a generous offering of hospitality, despite knowing your house is not presenting the "you" that you'd prefer the world to see. That's actually pretty brave and selfless. I would have probably made some excuse and missed out on the visit. That's not good because the social interaction is more important than the irritation - look at all the self-reflection it has triggered in you!

It is to some extent true that our surroundings are a reflection of ourselves (or perhaps of what is going on in our lives at the moment) but our home is not an appendage! We are separate, individual, and mobile.

I watched one of those clean up the messy house shows once where a man living alone in total chaos had not had anyone over for 35 years! He was too ashamed of his house and by extension of himself to bear the embarrassment - now that is tragic. I don't want to be like that. I'm trying to be more like you and put people and socializing above a little bit of messiness. I know some friends may have felt I didnÂt want to see them (which is not true, I value them and their friendship) or think I have become antisocial. Of course all my friends are extremely neat, organized high-achievers. I seem to be attracted to people with high standards who manage to live up to them!
I hope you are able to soon resolve this dumpster lady conflict and get it off your mind  and donÂt forget, you are nobodyÂs fool and no idiot!


    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 8:29AM
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The man next door to me is a pediatrician whose wife died a month before we moved in 14 years ago. He was my kids' ped., a kind, funny, gentle man, a gentleman and a scholar. He is like the man in Elizabeth's post - in these 14 years, the only visitor I've ever seen is his older sister, the second time just this summer for a few days; she said, "His house needs a lot of work; A LOT of work!"

I once was just inside his front door. It is amazing. He retired last year and seems joyful and free. But, oh my goodness, that house and garage are loaded! It appears to be very neat and clean, but it will take several dumpsters and a wrecking crew if he ever moves. I've often wondered what his wife (also a doctor) was like, if this happened after she died. It seems impossible that one man (they had no kids), could have amassed this much in 14 years.

This really has nothing to do with Talley Sue's post, but Elizabeth's made me think of it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 11:20AM
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Your friend was not very nice to be negative to you, but I also wonder secretly exactly what your apt looks like. I just saw a special on TLC about hoarders, from people who have one room piled to the ceiling all the way to clearly mentally ill people who have clutter in every conceivable place and literaly sleep almost standing. The woman needed an actual dumpster to remove it all. I am hoping you jest when you say you do as well.

I guess what I really mean is that while many people have no tact, a lot of them mean well. They may truly find the situation distressing and not know what to say or the right way to say it but feel they must say something to motivate. It sounds from reading between the lines that you also clearly agree you have too much stuff (regardless of the size of a space to live in you have only so much you need to bring into it) and that part of you agrees with her (the truth stings, you say).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 12:27PM
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I don't have it so bad that it's floor-to-ceiling. Needing a Dumpster is an exaggeration. But I do have a lot more stuff than most people--and definitely too much for the space.

Here's a pic of how my place looks at its best.

At its absolute worst, it's 3 hours away from looking like this (in other words, no matter HOW messy it is, or how crammed, I can make it look like this in 3 hours).

Well, that's not true--we may have had a lot more stuff when she was here--4 more pieces of furniture (book cases, mostly). We moved a bunch of it to a storage bin, which is now full. And I think all the shelves were MUCH more solid w/ stuff.

And I've cheated by not including any pics of the kids' room, which has toys along every edge of the room, plus crammed shelves.

Figure it's twice as messy, twice as full, as what you see. Load every end table or spare share w/ 6 inches of stuff, and put a box or something at every edge of the room.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:24PM
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Goodness! It's a lovely home! But, then, it reminds me of my own home, what with the hardwoods, piano, tons of books, kids' clutter (that we can't see but I can imagine!). Well, mine is in Midwest suburbia, but, still.....

Your friend should go jump in the lake, as we say around here. She's jealous of your happy family.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 2:57PM
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I really am cheating; these were the pics taken for our attempt at selling, and normally, even on a good day, there's a pile of stuff ON the piano, and a pile UNDER and a pile BESIDE, and every stray chair has some things on it, and some things under it. And the dresser.....

But it's not *really* Dumpster-ready. But much more clogged than those pics. And, even those pics show the density of THINGS.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:45PM
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I am grateful for comments like that. I try to have people like that come over at least twice a year so I get my house sparkly clean and organized.

My house isn't bad but we also have too much stuff. In fact, so much stuff that we bought both ajoining properties and have another fully furnished home next door and a shed and a half filled with "stuff".

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 7:43AM
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Hi Talley Sue, I haven't been around for YEARS but I remember you from "the old days" when my current teens were toddlers and we used to post here! Life got very busy when they started sports and I just threw in the towel in my house - but now I'm ready to start TRYING again.

Anyway, good advice about comments lasting A LONG time. I lost someone who I considered to be a friend because of a stupid remark I made about her boyfriend - and it certainly wasn't my place to judge her boyfriend! It was a joke I made but it was the "breakup" point with us. We'd gone to college together and been friends for years after, even worked together at one point.

Anyway, I'm telling you this so you can see it from Dumpster Lady's point of view. It was probably a stupid, thoughtless remark meant to be funny. She probably regretted it the minute it came out of her mouth, even if she didn't act like it. I know it can hurt you for years, but be a little gentle when you think of it - we ALL make stupid comments!!! and I make more than my share!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:05PM
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I know what you mean mommabird! (Paige, right?)

I think that's why I still hold on to this friendship--waiting to see if there's enough that's strong about our friendship that will lessen the impact. She lives in another town, so it's not like there are so many opportunities to "dilute" the effect that comment had. (Or, waiting to see if other events provide other guidance.)

I also know that it's very easy to "kill the messenger"; *part* of why her comment stung was because I believed it was probably true, and it was evidence of how bad my home looked at the time to an outside. It was embarrassing, but it was true (was your joke about that boyfriend right, perhaps, and pointed right toward some uneasiness she was feeling?), and it's very easy to then blame the person who flipped on the light switch. So I fight against that--when she comes, I try not to think about it too much, and focus on the harmonies we can create as we chat.

The thing is, I have friend from college who once said something really sharp that stung, and it really did nearly break up the friendship. But we got past it because it *was* an aberration, and the things that were good and strong about that friendship let us wait a day or two to get past it.

That's also part of the damage the Dumpster Lady's comment did--put together with another "scolding" from her (one that I don't agree w/ her on), it showed me that we don't have the depth of friendship, or the sharing of standards, that perhaps we had both assumed. Maybe bcs we don't speak very often and so just don't know each other well; maybe bcs our personalities don't mesh as much as we'd thought.

But it was less a single impact, and more the switch that has made me look again at the strength of the underlying friendship.

But you're right, we all say stupid things, and we should be gentle with the people we know who do so, and hope that they'll be forgiving of us.

(can your kids possibly be teenagers already? )

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 10:07AM
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Can you believe it - my oldest is 14!!! And #2 is 12 - but he considers himself a teenager since he's starting middle school next week. #3 is 8 already. Beautiful, wonderful, joyful boys who make my life worth living and make my house a HE!! hole!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 8:31PM
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