If It Brings Joy

In general, I don’t like “stuff.” Clothes shopping is a rare occasion for me. I can’t remember the last time I bought jewelry, knickknacks, or something that was a want and not a need.

So you’d think I’d be an adherent to Marie Kondo’s philosophy of getting rid of things that don’t bring joy. In an ideal world in which I live in my own neat little bubble, I would be, but it’s hard when I have a husband who is a pack rat and a baby who will naturally accumulate tons of clothes, bottles, books, toys, and other accessories. (I’m dreading the days when I have to avoid stepping on Legos and K’nex!)

Books are probably the physical object I love the most, if I had to pick something. Not only are they useful, they are decorative. Little is more aesthetically pleasing to me than an organized bookshelf. Notebooks and journals are also difficult to part with, even if they’ve never been written in. They are essentially books and have that same pleasing aesthetic quality.

But the sad fact remains that books take up space, which is a precious and rare commodity in our apartment. So I pared my book collection down to only 30. To be honest, it wasn’t all that difficult. Every reader has books in his collection that are destined to be sitting on the shelf for years, never read and never touched. Probably 90% of my books fell into that category.

Every reader also has books that, for whatever reason, he will never part with and would probably be buried with, if given the opportunity. Those were the 30 books I kept. Only two were fiction (both by William Faulkner). The others were writing related and other nonfiction. Religious books didn’t count because my husband wanted to keep most of them; I think if I had included religious books in my 30, it would have been a lot harder to choose only 30. I did cheat a little by keeping two “keepsake” books and another written by a friend, but all three are pretty small and won’t take up much room. 🙂

Is it easy or hard for you to part with physical things?

Bumper Stickers: Funny, Controversial, and Just Plain Stupid

Do you love or hate bumper stickers (and magnets/decals)? Some people see them as obnoxious because the person using them had the arrogance to state his opinions on his vehicle. Car enthusiasts hate them because they ruin the car. And some lame people, like me, love them because they give me something to look at while commuting.

There were a ton of stickers on my old car, and it was fun to gauge people’s reactions. I got a lot of “thumbs up,” but I also got some rude people, and I don’t think it was my imagination, but tailgaters seemed more vicious when I had my old car. I don’t think I’ll put any stickers on my new car until it’s at least 10 years old… or maybe I won’t put any on at all.

On the other hand, my husband’s car (same age as mine) is absolutely plastered with stickers, and they are all related to Catholicism. One time, someone passed us and held up his rosary in solidarity. Another time, someone waited for my husband outside a store and cursed him out. (Something to the tune of “How dare you support those pedophile priests?!?” but much more rude.)

Are bumper stickers foolish? Probably just as foolish as vanity plates, because they are attention getting, but in the best case, they could lead to interesting conversations or even friendships. In the days before social media, bumper stickers were a good way to share your opinions and beliefs with the world, but now, most people probably just consider them tacky.

My favorite sticker? A hard choice, but I pick this one. There’s another I like with “0.0” and below that, in smaller letters, it says, “I don’t run.” I guess it’s making fun of people who have those 26.2 and 13.1 stickers bragging to the world that they can run insanely long distances and are much healthier than the rest of us.

My least favorite sticker? This one, followed by the one that shows a curvy girl’s silhouette. They’re like those metal bull balls that some people put on their truck’s hitch: just plain stupid.

Joyful, Odd Course of Events

The reason I’ve been MIA lately is because my son was born on January 5, which was two weeks before his due date. I’m actually glad he arrived early because he weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces at birth and was 21.5 inches long. Had he waited till his due date, he most likely would have been 9 pounds or more… and I don’t think my body could’ve handled it. I’m not sharing his name here for privacy reasons, but everyone says it’s a nice manly name. 🙂

They say labor pain is the worst pain ever. Now that I have actually given birth, I am allowed to have an opinion on that, but I don’t know if I agree. It was a pretty awful pain, but it is an “organized” pain, if that makes sense. The simple fact that the pain had a purpose made it easier to get through. The weirdest part about it was sleeping between contractions and actually having dreams.

They also say that a child is a source of joy. My child was born with a disease of the intestine that was not foreseen before birth, so we were in and out of the hospital for all of January until today. To make a very long story short, the baby needs to have a colostomy bag until he is 6 months old, at which point he’ll have surgery to fix his large intestine. After that, he will be like any other kid. All of this did not diminish my joy in the knowledge that my son is actually here, that he exists, and that he is a charming little soul. But hospital stays are depressing even without the postpartum hormones, so I can’t say that the entire experience was joyful.

So that was the past month in a nutshell. What an odd course of events. If I were to imagine in 2009 what my life would look like in 2019, I certainly wouldn’t have imagined it like this (in a good way).