Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
My ‘Leg Lamp’ glows in the window,
Our trees covered with lights and gold strands,
While shamelessly waiting
For a gift filled FedEx van…

December! The season of ‘too much stuff’ is now upon us and right on cue, the stock market shoots up 500 points! It feels like the good old days are here again! Offers of Free Shipping now replace in my mind those about baggage fees. Remember shoppers – bags fly for free on Santa’s sleigh!

Why do I even worry about baggage fees? I don’t want more stuff, I want less stuff. How about getting rid of some excess baggage?

It might be that time for me. Every two or three years, Leigh and I declare “jihad” on excess baggage in our home. We pick out one room per week and empty every closet, drawer, box and suitcase. We then decide what is a ‘keeper’, what is ‘charity’ and what is ‘trash’. In short, we clean house. While de-cluttering should be reason enough, this rite is also about Estate Planning (“Just in case one for the kids NEEDS it”), and Legacy Protection (“I’d hate to be caught dead with THIS in here!”).

Some rooms are easier to attack than others. Caity and Chris have moved out; their rooms are easy. So are the living and dining rooms. Leigh’s office/ironing room/upstairs dumping ground…… well, not so much.

As I get older it is easier to toss things. There is however, a recurring theme each time I start this task; That theme is “Just in case…”

Seated on the floor, surrounded by 1500 random pictures spanning 52 years of life – I can’t possibly bring myself to throw them out. I ‘trick-think’ myself into believing that I will, someday, take the time to scan each picture, then torture my Facebook friends by posting, tagging and commenting on each of them. I have the same thought process with that rats nest collection of printer cables, computer connectors and speaker wires. Speaker wires? Just in case? Really? Who am I kidding?

Then there are mementos I hang onto because they still tug on the heart strings:

A pair of unmatched cuff links: One is my Naval Academy Plebe issue, the other is from West Point, for which I traded after my first Army-Navy Game in 1977. The Annapolis link always worn on the left, closer to my heart.

A slightly out-of-focus 8” X 10” photo of a rock climber: It is me on Outward Bound. Blindfolded, I made the 70 foot high climb to the top where I rang the bell, emotionally commemorating 5 years in remission.

Then there is the 6” X 6” tile with a painted cardinal perched on a branch. I had given it to my mother when she was in the hospital; she re-gifted it to me from her death bed.

There is also a leopard skin thong and related Survivor audition tape that come to mind. Ah the memories!

There is one area that somehow has escaped the room-by-room purgation; my home office. Leigh will swear that nothing has ever been thrown out. I think she’s exaggerating.

A quick perusal of the bookshelf behind my desk reveals a collection of items with which I have (at some time) developed a deep emotional attachment to. In no particular order; an Austen Powers action figure, a football trophy with the inscription ‘Best Back – Patch Jets 1970’, an empty cigar box, a dashboard hula dancer, final scoreboard shot of Navy’s 2007 triple overtime win over Notre Dame, a wooden slug, 13 daily meditation readers, 34 cd cases (some with corresponding cd’s), 20 golf balls marked with random numbers, a whoopee cushion, an 8 x 10 glossy autographed picture of an Astronaut friend, a lighter, 42 ‘favorite’ books and a bag of Healing Runes. Although I can’t see it, I know my personalized autographed baseball from Cal Ripken, Jr is buried in there somewhere.

Maybe Leigh’s right; I got all the excess baggage I need for a winter project right here in my own office. Maybe that photo-scanning/Facebook sharing dream will stay alive for yet another year. Shop well my friends!

3 thoughts on “Excess Baggage

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