Top This

Published 2:47 pm Thursday, July 14, 2011

You'd think that after being married for more years than I like to admit that I've been on this earth, I would have learned not to call the hubby's treasured recyclable stuff “junk.” But, I haven't. Or, perhaps I have but am stubborn enough to think that maybe, just maybe, one of these days I'll be able to persuade him to straighten up his workshop, clean-off the pool table, and give me the rights to a file drawer or two in the spare room that he uses as his office.

Now before you go thinking that he's a slob or a hoarder-trust me, he's Knott. He's actually a very neat guy. And, truth is, in this household I'm the certified MP, Messy Person, not him.

BUT, that man-of-mine is a recycler and probably has been since he was about five, according to his sister who remembers having to help him pull his wagon around the neighborhood.

Yep, when we first met in college, I realized that he was practical, thrifty, and a recycler. Of course, way back then, recycling really wasn't cool…but I sure thought he was. After all, he was the president of his fraternity and a judo champ. However, when we started spending our Saturday mornings walking through thrift stores, antique shops, and hardware stores, I should've realized that I was dealing with someone out of my league.

Yep, my league ran to the store and purchased new stuff-after throwing away the old stuff. His league took parts off the old stuff before trashing it; and, then, years later would spend a few hours or days looking for that part to fix the broken-down newer stuff.

Whenever I've tried to rid him of some of the stuff I didn't think he really needed, I've hurt his feelings. And, if I move any of his stuff or try to rearrange, organize, or categorize it-I get my feelings hurt when he shares how ungrateful he is regarding my unsolicited efforts.

Recently, during a conversation with some friends, I made a sarcastic comment about his recyclables. Okay, I know it's hard to imagine that I would say something sarcastic about the hubby but I slipped and called his stash of stuff…JUNK. We laughed. He didn't. And, if I didn't know better, I would swear I saw a bit, just a bit, of clear fluid welling in his right eye. And, when I realized that I had actually hurt his feelings, I felt bad-yeah, really bad.

After all, he definitely has the knack of turning junky stuff into better stuff. I found that out when we were trying to furnish our first apartment on a very limited budget. Over the years, he's repaired everything from major appliances to Match Box cars with his stuff. So much of our restored farmhouse, interior and exterior, features his recycling talents. From porch swings and windows to light fixtures and walls-he's refinished, rebuilt, or refashioned them all.

Heck, over the last couple of weeks, he's turned recycled PVC pipe and some old clothesline into an outdoor towel rack for our camper. He used several old shepherd hooks-the kind you use to hang a plant-to fashion a multiple holder for my hummingbird feeders. He took pieces of leftover ductwork to make baffles to put under the birdfeeders to help deter the squirrels. And, a metal shade from an old lamp became a varmint defector for another feeder. Okay, so the feeder wasn't as much fun to watch as it was the time he slipped a recycled Slinky over the pole but the other morning I'm certain I saw one of the squirrels shake his fist at the hubby.

Yesterday, I again resolved that I would never call his stuff junk again-never-ever. After endless battles with ants seeking to takeover the humming bird feeders and my kitchen sink when I tried to clean them, the feeders not the ants, I yelled UNCLE. And, that man-of-mine responded, even though we're not really related-except by marriage.

In response to my despair, I saw him head for his workshop and the next thing I know, the ants were waving white flags and trying to negotiate a peace treaty that included a clause banning water torture.

The hubby had taken some plastic tops he saved from cans of old spray paint and turned them into mini-dunking booths to sit above my feeders by threading recycled wire through the center of the caps and looping the ends for hangers. Then, he filled the caps with water. And, it worked.

However, he later pointed-out that the tops had to be the type with both an inner circle to accommodate the hole for the wire and an outer circle for the water well. And, noting that he needed a few more to retrofit all my feeders, he had the audacity to accuse me of trashing some of the well-worthy tops. Oops.

Yep, once again I was reminded that all that glitters might not be gold but his stuff is. Reckon there's any way I could channel all that creative energy and ingenuity into a desire to tackle my to-do list for this old house? KNOTT MUCH.