The Case of the Missing Underwear

“You know,” I said to my husband as we lay in bed this morning, “despite the excruciating headache, yesterday was a pretty good day.”

“Yeah?” he murmured, drowsily enjoying the rare early morning cuddles.

“Yeah. I mean, church was good. I got a nice rest in after. I enjoyed sitting on the couch with Daryl, watching him play Fortnite. We played a game. I made a necklace. Fixed a nice dinner and you made me lunch. We got the bathroom cleaned up – not perfect – but good progress. And you got a lot of laundry put away off your bench.”

“And we found my underwear! I was vindicated!”

I laughed. “Yes, we found your underwear.”

“I can’t believe how full that little red suitcase was,” he continued. “You know those T-shirts that come packed into tiny little little packages? It was like that. I kept unpacking and unpacking. There were 2 1/2 baskets of dirty laundry in there!”

“Well… not quite that much. We got it into one load.”

“But when you think about it. That was from a single weekend trip. And just two of us – not the whole family!”

My husband had spent the week commenting on the fact that he appeared to be missing several pairs of his ‘new’ underwear. I had also noticed that I didn’t appear to have the same backlog in my drawer that I was accustomed to but hadn’t thought much about it.

I had been insisting that his underwear was likely clean and part of the staggering tower of laundry on the bench beside his bed. We had washed all the laundry in the house and not turned up all his underwear. He knew exactly how many pairs he was supposed to have. He was also confident that none of the clothes on the bench was underwear.

So late Sunday evening, just before bed, I was straightening up the bathroom. Having been cajoled by me that the clothes on the bench could still be put away even if his underwear wasn’t there, he was doing just that. I was coming in and out of the bedroom at regular intervals, putting various things away, when I noticed – for the first time since it had been set there, probably – the small, bulging suitcase near the door to our room.

I plopped the suitcase onto the bed and said, “I bet your underwear is in there.”

“The thing about a cluttered house,” I continued, “is that you get to where you don’t even notice stuff that’s out of place.”

“Oh, I noticed it,” he said. “I just thought it was empty and waiting to return to wherever it’s supposed to go.”

I guess he hadn’t noticed the bulge. Or thought to ask where the suitcase is stored. But, hey. At least we found the underwear before he went and bought more!

Books, Books, Books

About a decade ago, my husband and I decided that we had too many books in the house.  Some of you book lovers out there will claim that this isn’t possible – that no one can have too many books.

That’s simply not true.  There are too many books when you can no longer access all the books you have, when they are stacked in front of each other, when they line the walls, forcing you to stack other stuff in front of them because they take up all the wall space.  When you simply can’t access most of the books you have.

Note we decided that there were too many books in the house.  We didn’t decide that we owned too many books.  Actually, I think we knew that we owned too many but we weren’t actually ready to part ways with them.

So… we packed them up in tubs.  And tubs.  And more tubs.  And put them out in the storage building to be dealt with later.

And here we are at later.

There has been a confluence of personal growth events and decisions over the last couple of months that has paved the way for where we are now.

First, we both dearly love our Kindles.  We rarely crack a spine of a book anymore.  Books that we love… more and more, we are deciding to repurchase in electronic form.  Now some, with beautiful pictures or the author’s autograph, we will always keep.  And we’ll probably always have a wall or two of books – just to feel at home.  But we simply aren’t likely to read them on paper anymore.  And we know that.

Secondly, we have been growing the desire to keep a cleaner, less cluttered house.  This has created a willingness to stop purchasing things and to let go of many things that we do have.  Including books.  In theory.

Finally, we are about halfway through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  We are excited about taking control of our money instead of vice versa.  We are excited to know where our money is going.  And we are excited about paying off our vehicles and then the mortgage and student loan to be debt free.

One of Dave’s recommendations is to sell whatever you can to earn some extra money to achieve your financial objectives.  So we decided to do a joint garage sale with other folks from the class, this dovetailing very nicely with our drive to rid ourselves of stuff.  That took us out to the storage building, where we started extracting those tubs.

Sixteen tubs of books.  Sixteen.

My husband nobly committed to getting rid of half of them.

“Half?!” I exclaimed.  “We need to get rid of more than half!”

“It’s a start.  Maybe I’ll get rid of more.”

“So much for making room in the storage building!”

“They won’t go back in the storage building.”

“Then where will they go?” I asked.

“In the house.”


“I’ll find room.”


“Well, I might have to get rid of some of the books in the house to make room.”

“You could get rid of all the books in the house and not have room for half of these!”

“You know, you could try meeting me part way.  I’m trying here and you still just want to slash and burn.”

“I don’t want to slash and burn.  I’m trying to inject a bit of reality into this.  There. Isn’t. Room.

“There’s nothing rational about this.  There’s not room for reality.  It is what it is.”

“Fine.  We’ll start with 50%.  But nothing in tubs.  Nothing in the storage building.  Nothing stacked in front of anything else.”

He agreed to that but I don’t see how he’s going to make it happen.  There’s already stuff stacked in front of everything else.

Oh, and one of the great things about all this great personal growth stuff we’ve been going through?  That entire discussion above was done with humor and grace.  No anger.  No irritation.

It’s pretty awesome.