Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Dragons, Oh My!

I've written quite frequently lately about my efforts at decluttering my house, in connection with Colleen's blog, 365 Less Things.  One of the things I thought might be worth getting out of my basement is the four large plastic containers of legos that are left over from the days when Jamie loved to build things.  I can remember him making a lego drinking glass container to keep the cats from knocking his water over and another little box that locked somehow.  The kid was just so amazingly creative with those legos!

But now, Jamie is going into high school and the legos were sadly relegated to the basement a couple of years ago.  They laid there, forgotten, until this past Tuesday when I was changing the cat litter.  I like to glance around down there on the rare days I actually go down there (because frankly, our basement is a dark, kinda scary place) and see if there is anything I can put into the "declutter" pile.

After Tuesday's glance, I came up with a bookcase, a small desk, a boom box (do people even still use those?), an area rug that no longer matches our family room and which probably wouldn't survive the dog, and the four containers of legos.  The boxes were covered in dust and spider webs, making it clear how long they had been sitting there and how little they have been loved in the last 3-4 years.  So, I figured this would be a good time to get rid of them.

I put a note up on Facebook that anyone local who wanted any of these things was welcome to them.  I didn't get any responses and kind of forgot about it for now, since there are so many turbulent things happening in my life at the moment.  And the other thing I kinda forgot was that Jamie has a younger brother.

Joey never was much into legos or knex or any of those neat building sets that I used to help Jamie put together.  He's always been either a video game or movie man.  Of course, things change when you least expect it.

Because Justin wasn't home today, I told Joey that he could invite the little neighbor boys from across the street inside to play in the air conditioning (who knew June was actually hell on earth - I could have fried an egg on our sidewalk today).  The boys are 5 and 7 years old.  The 7 year old is very patient with Joey about his always wanting to be in charge of the video games.  I think he's just thrilled that Joey has unlimited access to Mario Brothers.  The younger boy has a little bit shorter attention span and not a lot of interest in video games, which are really the only form of entertainment in Joey's room besides his copious collection of books.  I could see Joey being a minimalist someday, but a bibliophile minimalist.

I assured the visiting little boys that the dog was not going to eat them because he was in his crate.  "See, I promise he can't get out."  Jack stared at me mournfully, wondering why he couldn't greet this little visitors.  But they have a healthy respect for large dogs and I didn't want to traumatize them, so I coaxed them inside with the promise that I would not let the dog lick them to death.  Once they had gone upstairs, I realized fairly quickly that I was going to need something to entertain the younger one and remembered the legos in the basement.

The little one wanted to go downstairs with me, overcoming his dog fear long enough to sneak down the basement steps with me and discover these treasure boxes full to the brim of old legos and all their accoutrements.  I told him to pick out two containers and we would take them upstairs.  He very seriously told me that I needed to clean them off first (because dirt and spider webs are so not what boys are about) and then ecstatically proceeded to dump the contents onto the floor of Joey's room.  Which led to the discovery of...

...the DRAGON.  Holy crap, sometimes you just forget what you have.  And it never occurred to me that Joey would have any interest in dragons, because he'd never expressed any interest in dragons.  In fact, Jamie was cleaning out his closet when I started this decluttering adventure and he decided to get rid of all of the dragon statues that I had given him when he was collecting them.  I didn't think anything of it and they were in the bags I dropped off at Goodwill yesterday.  I felt fantastic making that first of many drop offs yet to come.   I had no idea that today, Joey would decide that his newest interest, his favorite thing in the whole world, is a plastic dragon toy that he found in one of the lego boxes.  Well, really, he found it on the floor, because the little ones across the street tend to love messing Joey's room up and leaving him with the mess.  I put up with it because I'm so thrilled that my autistic son has friends even if they aren't near to his chronological age.

After I was making up his bed and he had finished putting away the legos into the containers, he asked me if he could keep "this."  "This" was a good sized plastic dragon that Jamie had inadvertently stored with the legos and long ago forgotten about.  Wow, it's really true.  One man's trash actually is another man's treasure.  We decided that Joey would keep both of the boxes I had brought up in his closet for future visits from the tornado twins across the street and that of course he could definitely keep anything in the box that he wanted for himself.

I now feel a little regretful that I just took the dragons to Goodwill without asking Joey if he was interested.  It just never occurred to me and I am trying to clean out all the "stuff" from my house.  I don't need toys running downhill, much the way shit does, and ending up with the same mess in another room.

But, it has now been declared by Joey that his favorite thing is dragons.  I guess we'll be plumbing the depths of the other two containers tomorrow to see what other treasures might be hiding and I will withdraw my offer of the legos giveaway for the moment to see what develops.  When I last went up to Joey's room, he had quite an impressive start on some kind of lego building, with people and everything.  We apparently really did get every single kit they made when Jamie was interested.  There are kits in there for things you can't begin to imagine, as can't I, since we've long since lost the instruction booklets.

So, I guess the moral of this story is that you not only have to ask the owner of items that you want to declutter if it's okay to send them on their way, but also anyone else in the family who might have an interest in the items.  At least when the older brother is cleaning out his things.

I have another load of stuff in the back of my truck to go to Goodwill tomorrow.  But those are all my things.  Really.



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