I like to travel but I need to know where I am going and what I am going to. A good friend of mine tried to coax me into going InterRailing with her the summer after we had nannied in London. InterRail?!? I had heard so many scary things about German train conductors and white slavery auctions in Morocco. There was no way you could get me nomading around, sleeping in train stations in Prague because we missed the next train to Nice. No. That was the worst I could imagine. That didn’t stop my friend taking off on an InterRail adventure alone but alas, that is another story.
I would say because of this fear of nomading, I prefer to stay at home. We spend a lot of time puttering around the house. Some years back we had finished fixing up our house and were running out of things to do so we decided to buy a cabin. The cabin ended up being a great distraction and gave us a place stay when visiting the mountains but it wasn’t just problem solving. It also caused a big problem.
A new dilemma arose. One I hadn’t much thought about. How do you keep track of your stuff? If you have one home you have a pretty good idea of what you have and what you need. You may sometimes come home with an extra carton of milk but that’s the exception.
Enter, an extra home where you need to replicate almost everything you have in original home in a different environment. Not exactly the same standard but you certainly don’t want to be bringing bath towels, cutting boards and a comfy chair with you every time you go. So you need to replicate, a lot.
Most often you have some doubles in your own home, so you can pick out the least favorite potato peeler and bring it to the cabin. But that’s the big stuff , the permanent stuff that will stay there. Then you have the consumer goods, you know, the things that get used up and need to be replaced. Those things are not easy to keep track of.
Friday night, at the store, on the way to the cabin we discuss: “Do we have ketchup at the cabin? I know we are out of ketchup somewhere. To be on the safe side, we should get up one.” And that’s how it starts. After realizing that you have amassed 15 bottles of ketchup at the cabin you notice, that it is at home you have none.
In Norway, common things to talk about with other cabin owners are the type of waste, water and heating facilities you have and your level of satisfaction with these. Do you have an incinerating toilet or a four-chamber bio toilet? Do you use rainwater or have you dug a well? These are great topics to get cabin people talking in a very animated way.
This is because lots of cabins in Norway are far away from civilization and sometimes force cabin owners to walk or ski miles to their little hut. This has generally been regarded as a positive thing until GenX-ers started buying cabins and insisting on DSL and heated driveways. I imagine there will be a shift conversation topics for cabin owners in coming years. So you can start by finding out if and what people are hoarding at their second residence. I don’t think it was just me.
When we started building our house we sold our cabin and it was a relief to just have one refrigerator to keep tabs on but it started all over again when we came to Germany. The trips between our house in Norway and Germany are less frequent and it is difficult to remember what we have but now the worst part is my closet and not the fridge. We have had many changes of seasons since we came to Germany and our last trip home left my summer clothes hanging in the closet but when I go home next it is mid November and sandals and light rain coat won’t cut it.
So the first two days I will start buying clothes to wear during my stay. Which, admittedly I have more than enough of in Germany. If it hadn’t been for Ryan Air’s baggage limits I could take everything I need with me but 15 kg doesn’t allow for many changes of clothes. Maintaining two wardrobes is becoming ridiculous. Last time I was home I had only rubber boots, harem pants and a Lagenlook jacket. While on my shopping expedition I ran into an acquaintance who commented on my “Donald Duck” look. I am so glad the My closet in Sketches lady can’t see me!
So, I am wondering, do you hoard and if so what? I’m not digging here to uncover the compulsive. We are just talking about the everyday, “Jeez, I thought we were out of tomato soup.” hoarding.
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