August 27, 2002
We Be Weeding

Al and I have been having trouble adding items to our gift registry lately. It's not that we don't need a few things for our new life together—it's that we don't have anywhere to put them. I proposed to Al that we schedule a Weeding Weekend, where we get rid of all the stuff we don't need to make room for the things we do.

I had in mind the container cupboard and my bedroom (actually the guest bedroom—I just use it as a place to dump my stuff) as the primary areas in need of a good weeding, but the pantry jumped to the front of the line when I tried to make baked ziti last Sunday and discovered that the pasta had gone bad. I didn't think pasta *could* go bad, but this box apparently had. Al went out to get me some new ziti, and when he got back we went through everything in the pantry.

We tossed any item that had an expiration date of July 2002 or earlier; the oldest was a can of chicken broth from 1995. It must have moved with Al at least twice. When we were finished, we had about four shopping bags worth of expired food, and the pantry was about half full. I was pretty excited because not only did we have only edible food in the pantry, but we also knew *what* edible food we had in there! It'll definitely make shopping easier.

Inspired by the pantry weeding and unable to wait for the official Weeding Weekend to begin, a couple nights later I cleaned out the container cupboard. I kept about four baby food jars (we were feeding baby food to one of the cats when she was sick) and put the other ten or so into the recycling bin. Ditto extra jam and pickle jars, any container that didn't have a lid, and any lid that didn't have a container. We now have enough room for the Pyrex glass storage containers and the mixing bowls that are on our list.

When this Saturday finally rolled around, we were well and truly primed for weeding. Al spent Saturday unpacking the boxes of books and files that had crowded the guest room closet while I printed photos at the darkroom in San Francisco and (later) finished assembling and addressing the Family Union invitations. On Sunday I moved all the shoes that had lined the walls in the guest room into the closet and put away all the laundry that had sat on top of the dryer because it had no place else to go. I now have neatly organized stacks of shirts in the top of the guest closet, grouped by type and color.

As I was organizing the closet, Al repaired the bottom drawer of my dresser for me, so it could actually hold my biking clothes (the bottom kept popping out before, spilling clothes everywhere). Once I was able to move the biking clothes off the bed and back into the drawer, I cleared the bed, washed all the bedding, and caught up on the ironing.

It was sometime in the middle of all the weeding and cleaning that I developed a mental picture of us building our nest together. I finally started to view the house as "ours," not just "Al's." I think this is a place Al's been in for a while: looking at us as a team, working toward a common goal. I was still thinking of us as "two individual, self-contained entities choosing to share a life together." While it's true that we were each whole, happy people when we met (we weren't looking for "that missing piece" or "the other half" of ourselves), and that we'll continue to maintain our own personalities and interests after we're married, I've come to realize that marriage is a life-changing event. OK, I know: it sounds obvious. But I think I had in mind that marriage *wouldn't* change me.

It's still hard for me to articulate how I imagine I'll be changed, but I can already feel my perspective shifting a bit. The image that keeps popping into my mind is me standing in the living room amid Al's emptied boxes trying to decide what to put on the walls. Even though we've been living together for over a year, it's almost like we're starting fresh—like we're resetting the stage for the next act. I can't wait to see what happens.

Posted by Lori at August 27, 2002 12:45 PM