Cargo Pants, Packing Lists, and the Pothole of Despair

Do they sell just the PEZ refills? Anywhere?

I have no idea - Pez Pile 2012 by E. HowardMy house is full of crap.

Our world is full of crap.

Today at the store, the cashier and the customers ahead and behind me and I were all talking about back-to-school sales. Old Navy-this and sales tax free week-that. The kind of mindless conversation we humans love to have.

I suppose $5 cargo pants shouldn’t really be the excuse for my falling into a pothole of existential despair, but I did.

Goll DANG! I have SO MUCH CRAP at my house right now! Do I really need more pants?

DOES THE WORLD NEED MORE PANTS??

I’m trying not to be so negative these days. (GRIN GRIN GRIN). So how can I put a happy spin on this situation. Let’s see:

  1. I had a really nice interaction with those ladies at the store. That’s good.
  2. I have twins, and they might wear the same size the next week or so. So that’s good.
  3. Even though I have a lot of stuff, I am really nowhere near qualifying for an episode of “Hoarders.”

Really, it’s not that bad. Each of my kids only has one bike each. Except Kiki. And Isaiah.

Ugh.

Should I just live with the inevitability that having space means that I will eventually cast off my values and beliefs and just shop till the space is filled up? That kids are eventually just going to wear me down asking for every little thing, so I should just give in? That “everyone is doing it,” ie. buying their 8-year-olds iPads and Kindles and rocket-propelled corsets, so I should too?

The experience of consumerism, for me, is like pushing a boulder uphill. I never get ahead of it, and I feel like I can never stop because if I do, it will just crush me. There’s nowhere to hide from it either. But at least I’m in the shade, so I don’t need sunblock. (Though, and yet, we have still have 8 bottles here.)

Well-Organized Intentions

Colin and I bought a popup camper so we could take the kids camping and enjoy less expensive, less stressful family vacations. Holy shitbuckets, you should see the PACKING LISTS! Our packing lists for just the non-food items is three pages long. What the hell?

Do you know what I silently think, once we actually do make it to the campsite and get unpacked and get the camper set up and go swimming, then cook over the open fire and then boil hot water to make dishwater to do the dishes by hand then get the kids in bed after hand rinsing the swimsuits and hanging them on the hand-strung line, then collapsing into the camp chair to finally drink a beer?

Well, you are just going to have to guess because I’m not going to tell you because it’s REALLY bad and no one should think such things about a matches and gasoline and a beautiful house filled with SO MANY nice things.

And I only think it because I look at the camper and think: Jebus Cripes. Is there anything else we could possibly NEED other than what is in that camper? 

Let me just say this: I’m sorry for using foul language. But I guess I can get a little stressed. It’s just all this stuff: like the four pillows, the summer blanket, the afghan, the winter duvet (and its two different covers) — not to mention the three sets of sheets — that outfit just ONE of the SEVEN beds in our house.

It’s making me a little cuckoo.

What happened?? How did I let myself go this way?

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  6 comments for “Cargo Pants, Packing Lists, and the Pothole of Despair

  1. Bryan Kearney
    August 8, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    It’s not every day I read blog post with a Sisyphus reference.

    • August 9, 2013 at 5:54 am

      Bryan, is that a Greek or Roman myth? Anyway, if I were ACTUALLY pushing that boulder up the hill would I be happier?

  2. Karin
    August 9, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Is the boulder on the packing list?

  3. Betty
    August 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Woe is me! thinks the 50+ year old woman living on 40 acres with a house and a camper and a pole barn and a real barn and a garage and a shed full of stuff who once held all her worldly possessions in two 70 lb cardboard boxes… boo!

  4. August 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    We had a pop-up camper and got rid of it. We decided tent camping was easier.

    • August 31, 2013 at 4:55 am

      Paul, after this recent group camp out with my sister-in-law (who we bought the pop up from) I might have to agree with you! She showed us around their tent… it was as big as our camper!! They did, however, have to purchase a fold-up trailer to take everything for the campout. Anyway, we are enjoying it, but it is still alot of work!

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