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Last updated: August 30. 2013 6:37PM - 1795 Views

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PIECE BY PIECE, my mother empties her house.


And piece by piece, she fills mine.


Just kidding. Sort of. (I can hear her protesting — denying — as I type.)


Yet I do not fabricate, not entirely anyway. It’s true I’ve had multiple “special deliveries” in the past year or so, many of which have caused me to look askance.


But the woman is good, in some cases, very good. Consider: She once dropped off one of those portable, musical baby mobiles — don’t know what else to call it, but it’s basically a cutesy floor pad with an overhead arch attached from which hang singing, dancing, flashing sorts of toys designed to delight a wee one for hours.


I don’t even have a wee one. But I do have a wee godson, who does visit, so my wise mother knew I’d have a hard time turning this down, especially when she expressly told me, “Oh, he likes these things. He used it with me, and he laughed … ” (See what I mean by good?)


Then why not keep it at Mom’s house? Ah, because he’ll get “more use out of it” at my place, see. Translation: It’s kind of big, I’m cutting back, and, oh, he will just love this.


So of course I took it. Because of the timing of the visits, however, and what else we were doing — don’t we all know how to a baby everything is a toy? — I think the wee one has used this happy machine all of once. Now he’s too big for it, and still I must find a place for it.


Score one for Mom, who has since managed to vanquish me again and again with the stuff. Her most recent delivery? Why, a cookie press. If you’ve ever been to a Pampered Chef party, you know the tool. When this domestic torture device arrived in my living room, I wailed: “No way, no how, I must confess; I do not want this cookie press. (Sam/Sandy I am.)”


The good woman chuckled but held her ground with a true statement: “But it’s yours.”


She had a point. Once upon a time I was, evidently, the kind of woman who thought a cookie press might prove handy. Either that or I had too much of the wine served at that Pampered Chef party. I did once press cookies with this contraption, though, and that was enough of that. Then I packed the thing up for Mom, who was more receptive to castoffs back in the day, and told her she’d find great reward in this task for which I clearly was not meant.


What goes around comes around, doesn’t it? In this case, easily a decade later, when you get an almost brand-new cookie press back in your possession. For kicks, I at least took it, with its 40 moving parts, out of the box, to marvel, mostly at the out-of-mind state that must have caused me to buy it. (I make a mean basic chocolate-chip cookie, but you won’t catch me using even a cookie “baller,” so why?)


Out to the garage it went, but what I saw there made me quickly reconsider: too many items I neither want nor use and in some cases do not even own. Word to the wise: NEVER have a multi-family garage sale at your house unless you carefully monitor to make sure everything that comes in with someone else also goes out with the same someone else. Exhibit A: I have had, for years, a relative’s electronic, therapeutic massage pad designed for folks with back pain, which does not afflict me. It sits right beside Exhibit B, a leaf blower with a torn bag, and Exhibit C, a portable grill-cooler combo for which I can blame myself. Foolishly picked it up at someone else’s garage sale and never even opened it.


Salvation Army? Been there, more times than I can count. But sometimes those trips only increase the shame of waste. When you do a blind drop-off, you never really know if something on which you spent hard-earned money will get any use. Personally choosing the next owner of your stuff, however, brings an odd, freeing sense of absolution.


That must be Mom’s game. Again, she will staunchly deny; she’ll tell you she’s just giving the kids all their stuff back, which will be mostly true. But the former is my story, and I’m sticking to it anyway.


I have but one more thing to say: You need a cookie press, don’t you? Free to a good home; inquire within.


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