Thursday, January 27, 2005

Putzfut (sp) moment

My friend Julie has a German word for "house cleaning frenzy", it's something like "putzfut". The "putz" part is probably right, but the last probably isn't. Anyway, I get these attacks every once in awhile and tackle some "hot spot" in the house or yard that's driving me nuts. With this place it's kind of an excercise in futility, because it was let go for so many years before we inherited it and it would take a full-time crew of contractors a month to get us to where we could keep ahead of the entropy. However...since we really are going to move someday (sooner than later, God willing), and even though it's like lowering lifeboats off of the Lusitania*, I persist in fighting the beast. I was attacking the "butler's pantry" or "vestibule of vileness", and I came across yet another of the mystical, perhaps ritual(?) objects that litter the annals of archaeology. What kind of person saves burnt out and obviously broken light bulbs?! Aaaaagh! It's utterly inexplicable and goes on the list with the carefully ziplocked loose change (each carefully labeled from a trip to, say, exotic Alaska), assorted broken teacups with no saucers, broken hand saws, frozen electrical motors, and miscellaneous teeth (yes) that I've mucked out of here in the last couple of years. It's like living in the twilight zone some days...

*nods to Douglas Adams and Arthur Dent.


  1. Neb,

    I'm the same way. I think the habit comes from the great depression and not being able to afford something if you needed it, you built up supplies of stuff. Think of it as a bank account. It also comes from living on ranches, even if you had plenty of money, if you didn't have that ball of string on hand, you had to ride 20 miles to the nearest town to get it.

    Even growing up in Stockton, the common stuff, of course, was readily available. But for anything specialized, you had to drive to the Bay Area to get it. So there is a rational reason behind hoarding stuff. The problem comes when you don't understand what you are doing and why. I recall certain craft projects that use burnt out light bulbs as a base and that is probably why they were squirreled away, but then forgotten. I personally tend to squirrel away nice looking wood boxes and tins and the like because I come from a time and place where such things just weren't to be had at any price. And I intend to eventually rework them for use in reenactments. Or will somebody find them when I am long gone and wonder why.


  2. Were they baby teeth? Some mothers save their babies' teeth.

  3. Roy: I hear you! I save tins and things like that, too, but I draw the line not far after that.

    Charlotte: Adult molars. And some odd dentures. No baby teeth, which I suppose I could understand. We did find Wayne's baby book, though, last year, which we gave to him last time he came through town.

  4. My Grandmother was a little nuts for saving things. Now you know why my Dad never wants to throw anything away!

    I agree with Roy; it's probably a throwback from the Depression.

    (Although the quarters from places she visited are just plain WEIRD!)

  5. Check to see if they are old real silver coins.

  6. Roy: That was the first thing we thought of, when we saw the suitcase full of coins. in the lot. Just pocket change. If I had a silver coin for every time Gordon has said "Motherrrr!" in the last three years, we'd have an overseas trip paid for!

  7. Sorry, I posted as James, but that was me, Alex.

    It was probably kind of obvious.