My husband is a hoarder.  By definition, he accumulates things and hides them away. I believe if you asked him, he would say he  is a ‘collector’.  I think there’s a fine line between the two. Now the ball caps, I understand.  Who doesn’t need six hundred different caps?  I would hate for someone to say, “Didn’t he have that hat on yesterday?” -but that’s where this gets confounding.  He has zillions of hats yet he only wears a handful of them.  Hoarder, right?

He also hoards, I mean collects, coins.  He has coffee cans full of loose change that he intends to sort through one day and decide what is a keeper and what is a spender.  I personally am hoping most of them are spenders.  I estimate he has a few hundred dollars in quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies and the occasional half-dollar.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  This is nothing.  Lots of people have coins and hats but that doesn’t make them ‘hoarders’.  How about this? He has clothes from the seventies.  He has his eight track tapes.  He has hat pins to go with his hat collection. He has matchbooks from every place he has ever been that has matchbooks on the counter.  I could go on and on.  I have tried on several occasions to explain to him that, with the internet, chances are we aren’t going to need every copy of every magazine we have  subscribed to.

Now, of course you’re thinking, where in the world do you store all that stuff?  Do you walk through mazes of magazines that nearly topple as they reach for the ceiling?  No.  You see my husband is perceptive.  A few years ago, he saw me eyeing his ball caps and eight tracks.  He began to suspect I was sneaking coins from his cans so he built himself a nice new garage behind the house.  He sold me on it with the idea that my car would now get the front garage and I would be so warm when I had to cart kids to school and such.  I watched as the garage was built and dreamed about not having to scrap ice off my windshield.  The kids are all in college or out on their own and I just bought a new scraper to get ready for this winter.  I still park in the driveway.  Instead of emptying the front garage, he  has gone on to fill the back one.  See a pattern here?

Occasionally he tries to fill me with “hoarder guilt”.  We went to see my son recently and after we toured an incredible Frank Lloyd Wright house, I headed to the trash bin and asked if he might want me to toss his ticket also.  “I’m saving mine” was his response with the look.  You know the look.  It says, “I love my son and I am saving this ticket so I can put it in my secret drawer of special ticket stubs.  I will pull it out and smile as I relive our trip to Chicago”.  In other words, a good parent would save that ticket and hold it close.  I don’t know.  Maybe he’s planning  to start scrapbooking one day.  One of us should.  I have boxes of child-related treasures and good intentions.

I really should be thankful.  At least he doesn’t hoard women.  After thirties years I’ve grown accustom to his ways and I actually have it easy.  He puts up with a lot of crazy.  And as I gaze at my library of well over a thousand books, I wonder, “Could this be a case of the pot calling the kettle black?”

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