My Husband Isn't a Hoarder, He's Just Sentimental
In the sixth grade, when I first made the switch from glasses to contacts, I struggled to remember to take them out at night. I'd wake up each morning thinking I was cured. My eye doctor reprimanded me constantly. To try and help, he switched me from regular contacts to the daily disposable kind when I went off to college. At the end of every night it was truly exhilarating to just pull them out of my eyes and throw them in the trash. No contact solution. No unscrewing the tiny contact case cap. No cleaning. Just extract and toss.
But because taking my contacts out was the last thing I did before bed, I often just threw them in the toilet, which was closer to the sink. Whereas the trashcan was clear on the other side of the toilet, adding another step to my nightly routine.
Image: Colorado College Tutt Library via Flickr
This plan worked out for a while until my roommate started acting weird. Seemed annoyed with me. Wouldn't make eye contact. When I sat her down and asked what was wrong, she explained that I was a pain in her ass.
Apparently, when contacts are left out in the air, they shrivel and became extremely hard, resembling a small and wrinkled shard of glass. And apparently, once my contacts were out, and my vision was impaired, my aim wasn't great. So often when I threw my contacts into the toilet, they landed on the seat, leaving a couple of shriveled, invisible shards of glass on the toilet seat for my roommate to sit on the next morning. After my laughter subsided, I promised her that I would never throw my contacts in the toilet again. I would take the extra step and throw them in the trashcan.
Then I moved to an apartment after college, my own apartment. I lived by myself and I could do whatever the hell I wanted. I, once again, became lax in my nightly routine. I would lay in bed reading until my eyes burned. Instead of making the effort to get up and throw my contacts in the trash, I often just took them out and laid them on the nightstand. The next morning, after they had dried into glass splinters, I would scoop them up and throw them away.
Then I got married and started living with a man who thought I could do no wrong and this kind of constant unconditional love lead to an even worse behavior: leaving the dried glass on the nightstand and not throwing them out in the morning.
After a while, the pile of contacts would become so large they would fall behind the nightstand. And when this would happen, they would embed themselves into the carpet. And sometimes I would awaken to the whimper of my husband, who had stepped on a rogue shard. But he was too kind to mention how my bad habit was hurting him. He refused to believe I had any flaws.
When we sold our house, after living there six years together, and were packing up to move to our new house, Jim and I would call out "New House Rules." Once, while I was running around the house looking for a light bulb, I yelled to him outside, "New House Rule: Keep all light bulbs in a central location!" Once when it was raining hard and Jim was trying to leave for work he yelled, "New House Rule: Don't leave umbrellas in the car!" And on and on. "New House Rule: Run the dishwasher every night!" "New House Rule: Hang up our coats when we come in the door!" A verbal promise of the different way we would live in our new home. Cleaner, nicer, better.
Image: Lindsay via Flickr
The night before the movers came, Jim was in our bedroom moving furniture away from the wall. I was in the bathroom packing toiletries when I heard him yell, "New House Rule!" I paused to listen for him to say the new rule, but there was silence. I walked into our bedroom to see him standing in the spot where my nightstand once stood. He was pointing at the floor. I looked down to see a pile, perhaps six inches tall and a foot wide. It was six years of dried contacts.
Or as some experts call it, rock bottom.
When the movers came and took all the boxes from our home, all the furniture from the rooms and all the art work from the walls, I felt a sense of relief. I put the extender on the vacuum and in one quick motion, with the sound of glass tinkling up the tube, I undid all the damage I had done the past half decade. I was giving myself a clean start. I handed the vacuum to the movers and walked outside to see how my husband was doing with packing the garage.