It Must Be Genetic

My nine-year-old daughter is a packrat.  She saves everything from old shoe boxes to school papers from first grade to the tags that we take off her new clothes.  Every nook and cranny of her bedroom is filled with stuff that she’s buried away like a squirrel in the fall.  I’ve wondered for a long time why she is like that.  After all, I am probably the complete opposite of a packrat…throwing stuff away if I can’t find a good place to keep it.  But today, I found a clue to her behavior.

I was lying on the bed, chatting with my husband about our plans for the day as he cleaned off his closet shelf and cleaned out his top dresser drawer.  As I watched the items that he pulled out and sorted, I came to the realization that packrat-ness runs in the family.  And the more he pulled out, the more I laughed.

From his closet shelf, Sarge took a bayonette for an AK-47, a large roll of glow-in-the-dark tape, and a gun-cleaning kit.  He found an 18-year-old Army cap for his dress greens, a couple of military medals, a pair of red suspenders, and some ear protection for when he practices shooting.  He also pulled out a magnetic tool picker-upper-thingie and, strangely enough, an antique clay thrower. 

Then he moved on to his top dresser drawer.  It has not been deemed a “junk drawer” officially…it is supposed to hold his socks and underwear.  However, after seeing what he pulled out of it, I may need to relocate the socks and underwear.  The top drawer collection included two maps of Michigan, two armbands that were worn in Iraq, two exercise bands given to him by his physical therapist (which have never been used, by the way), and some paperwork on how to control your cholesterol.  He also pulled out a padlock, a deck of “All American Dad” playing cards that one of the kids got him for Christmas a couple of years ago, an old pair of glasses, two old cell phones, and a “make your own office stamp” kit, which in all fairness he gave to me and I just haven’t used yet.  The more he pulled from that drawer, the more I laughed.  He tried to defend himself, saying that he isn’t a packrat at all, but by the end, I think even he was amused.  I told him it would make a great post, and he tried to act mad at me about using him as fodder for my blog.  But I think he saw the value in such an array of objects being pulled from such unlikely places. 

So it seems that Blondie comes by her packrat habits naturally.  She’s just a chip off the old Sarge.  Mystery solved.

I Guess I AM the Only One Who’s Normal…

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or if you know me IRL (in real life), you are aware that friendship means a lot to me.  I take pride in being a good and loyal friend and I value those people who feel the same.  I have several good friends, and they’re all so different and unique, and I love that about them.  But lately I’ve been realizing a little more clearly that each friend has a quality about them that I would characterize as “strange”, or “weird”.  Nothing that would be a friendship-breaker, mind you.  Just something about them that makes me a little crazy, something that makes me stand back and say, “Hmmm…”

There’s the friend that is constantly worried that her kids are going to be “snatched”.  She won’t even let her kids play in their own backyard, which is not visible from the street, by the way, without being right there every minute.  When we go somewhere, she looks for all the ways a child-snatcher could escape with her child.  She has a hard time letting others watch her children, because she’s always convinced that they won’t watch for kidnappers as well as she would.  I love this friend dearly, and don’t love her any less for having this little quirk, but sometimes I do think it’s a little nuts.

Then there’s the friend who never calls me, despite how close we’ve always been.  But when I call her, she claims that she’s been thinking and wondering about me for days or weeks.  She hasn’t called, of course.  But she’s been thinking about me.  LOVE love love her, but ya know…a little weird.

I have a friend that doesn’t ever change the way she does things, no matter where she is or who’s around.  A whole group of girls watching a movie??  Well, she always watches movies in complete darkness, so she gets up and turns off the lights, without asking everyone else’s preferences.  Going out to eat with a bunch of people?  She never ever eats outside…sorry!  It’s an inside table for us.  A friendship-breaker?  Of course not!!  But a bit crazy.

Another friend asks me over often to hang out, but never offers me anything to eat or drink when I’m there.  Even once, I went over and taught her to make one of my favorite meals, and then we ate it together, but I finally had to ask for a glass of water because she never thought to give me something to drink with my food.  She also added seasoning to some of her food that she never offered to me as well.  Another weird thing is that when this friend comes to my house, she often reaches into her purse and pulls out a packet of candy or some other snack and proceeds to eat it all on her own.  I love her to pieces, but how insane is that?

One friend finishes your sentences with you as you speak.  Another friend has very strange shopping and laundry habits.  (She soaks everything five times before she washes it, and she hangs everything on hangers to dry so they won’t be ruined…even pajamas!!)  Someone else winks at you often during a conversation.  Everyone has their own little quirks…those things that make us all who we are.  And don’t think I’m criticizing or finding fault…I’m really not at all.  Like I said, it’s not that I mind these things.  I just think they’re funny, and different than how I do things myself.  They just make me pause and think, that’s all. 

But then I started thinking about what makes me “weird”, and honestly I couldn’t think of anything.  I mentioned this to Sarge, and told him that I guess I wouldn’t know it was weird or I wouldn’t do it, and he agreed.  But he couldn’t come up with much for me, either.  A friend says I say “Dude” a lot, but I think that just comes from having a thirteen year old son.  I’m not sure it’s something that would qualify me as being strange exactly.  So I’m really curious now.  I know I’m not the only normal person on the planet.  That in itself would make me strange!  So I wonder what it is…what quirks do I have?  What makes me a little strange?  What about me makes others a little crazy?  Seriously…I want to know.

And while you’re at it, what are your quirks?