Heather’s nesting gene may be faulty, but mine most definitely isn’t. Though Heather’s known for a while that I’ve wanted to rent a dumpster to de-clutter our home before the baby came, I think she’d firmly placed that in the “yeah, right” category. Well, she never should have doubted me, because right now there’s a forty yard dumpster in front of our home beautifying the neighborhood.

There was a little drama after the guy dropped off the dumpster. Heather wasn’t at home at the time – she was at her appointment with Dr. Risky – and when I called her to say it had arrived, she asked, “Did you open it up and go inside?”

“Uh, I don’t think it opens up,” I replied.

“Of course it does. How else are you supposed to get stuff inside of it?”

“I think you, uh, just throw it over the top.”

“What if you were throwing out a refrigerator? You think they expect you to just throw that over the top, too?”


“If it doesn’t open up you need to call the guy and have him switch it out!”

“I’ll call you back,” I blurted out, then ran outside to look at the contraption. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but, yeah, it totally opened. Obviously I’m a little green when it comes to these dumpster things.

Annie, of course, had to go inside once I got it open. She was excited at first, but then it suddenly croaked under her feet and she wanted out. That was for the best since dumpsters are no place for a kid to play in.

trash couture

I joke that Heather is a step away from being on that show, Hoarders, but truthfully she isn’t anywhere close to being that bad. She just hates to throw things out because in her eyes they either have sentimental value (“I wore that shirt on our fourth date!”), or are something she thinks she could use again (“Wait! I could still use that wrapping paper!” “It says ‘Happy New Year 2006,’ Heather.”)

Anyway, I soon got to work in the garage, and would bring items to Heather to get the okay on tossing them out.  Since she hates to let go of stuff, I had to sell it a little:

“So I found this sweater stuffed in the corner of the garage under a cobweb. When I picked it up a gigantic black widow spider crawled out of the sleeve, and I’m pretty sure it left behind thousands of baby black widow spider eggs. I can throw this out, right?”

“Put it in the maybe pile.”

Eventually – thankfully – Heather got the hang of it, and we started to clear things out at a good clip. It didn’t take long, though, for me to understand why Heather is so reticent to throw things out. Hidden in a stack of documents in the garage I found this:

the og three

In the early days of Maddie’s NICU stay a nurse suggested we bring in a photo of our family so that Maddie would always be able to see us. The next day we brought in this photo (taken on our wedding day), and the nurse affixed it to Maddie’s isolette in this sanitary baggy. This photo is what Maddie stared at for the next sixty-eight days, and when she was finally discharged, the nurse sent it home with us.

Holding this photo in my hands after so long made my heart stop, and brought back so many memories of those difficult days. I could see myself holding Maddie next to her isolette, rocking her in my arms as I played this Beatles’ Lullabies CD I’d bought for her. We spent every afternoon together that way, and it was one of the ways we first bonded.

I took the photo inside and placed it in our keepsake box. Not everything needs to be thrown out, after all. We have the dumpster until next Tuesday, and we’ll pull a full court press this weekend. I want the home to be perfect for our baby boy, you know, before it gets cluttered up again with all of his stuff.