Growing up in a small rural town in Maine (Bucksport to be exact), it was a little simpler to see these three stages in action. It probably helped that you knew everyone in town and knew a little more about everyone than you should of. Of course, as in any theory, there are exceptions and one can get stuck in a stage along the way and in fact to be in both stages at once is typical. Collecting (where my dad thinks I am), fixing (where I am), and dispersing (where my wife would like me to be) are unmistakable phases of human life (i bet you have even pegged yourself in one of these categories while reading this)
My best example of collecting, perhaps, lies within my tackle box. As a child, I had the basic small box with one half tray. I put everything I could find in it. Each new lure was a treasure. I still remember and have several of the original lures from that first box…..heck, I still have the original tackle box that now holds my old coins. As time meanders through each childhood summer, the box ebbs and flows from gifts from relatives and miscasts into the alder bushes or wear and tear from pickerel teeth, one tackle box becomes two. My expansive inventory hit diminishing marginal returns after I dove into the world of fly fishing and fly tying. There is no end to amassing and collecting in this realm and now there is a space in the basement proudly called “the hunting and fishing room”. I am not for want in that corner of my house. Then, three miracles over seven years blessed my wife and I and the collecting ceased. After the Lego, baseball card, and Playstation bonanza that has just come to a slow crawl recently and the object of an entire blog in it’s own right, the fixing phase arrived.
First, fixing included those dubious Nerf guns that would jam, replacing the net on the basketball hoop, or troubleshooting the Knex rollercoaster that my brother purchased for my kids to solely torture me. His daughter got eight jars of glitter and 30 different nail polishes for the following Christmas. This quietly led me to bigger and better things which included changing three different motors in our pellet stove (who knew), attaching plastic ties to our dishwasher rack that we bought new in 2005 when we redid the kitchen (Nothing says you have made it with a rusty rack and plastic ties holding it together cleaning your dishes), replacing the refrigerator freezer temperature sensor (after ordering and replacing two parts that were working), and now our dryer is at a hard stop right now as the belt broke including the tension pulley. Of course the heating element broke during the “incident” as well. Amazon made it so easy for me to order this seemingly obscure part and am expecting it tomorrow after ordering it last night. Of course, without the myriad of videos that YouTube has collected showing how to fix any household item, my fixing stage would have to be outsourced. Purchasing now is a reflection of “where will this go” or “is this a real necessity”.
Disbursing is something that my wife reached far earlier than I. Yes, she still had her period of Longaberger and smattering of Pampered Chef, but that was a minor blip in the evolution of our household. My grandparents from Blue Hill were experts in this process. Perhaps growing up in the Depression during their 20’s shaped how they saw “things”. They appreciated the quality of items far greater than we do today as they had far fewer accumulations. My grandfather gave me his hunting rifle when I was 12 as well as his silver compass. Each birthday cake that my grandmother baked had a hand painted blueberry vase or an antique bottle that was on her bookcase or on the window overlooking Mill Stream. I am not sure how to handle this last phase. The art of giving without burdening the giver. I do know this, however, I am tired of fixing the dryer.