For those of you who haven't seen my house, I am not a stellar housekeeper. I, quite legitimately mind you, have "pack rat" tendencies. Both of my parents were masters of keeping a lot of things, and not particularly well-organized. Now, we're not talking the level of the show "Hoarders", but surfaces are rarely empty and there are always neat treasures ferreted away in nooks and crannies.
My preferred organizational style is "piles and stacks", which to the uneducated merely look like random piles of clutter. But no! They are actually a valid way to keep straight various levels of... Work. Writing. Bills. Mail from 2009-2011. You know, the usual.
A couple of things have conspired to attempt to break me over the years with these collector's tendencies. One, is that my dearest husband also has pack rat tendencies of similarly epic proportions, and two, that when you lose loved ones, there is also a time period before some things can be gone through without extreme emotional angst, so in some cases there are also boxes of things that are around waiting for review and decision-making.
Add to all this home renovations where groups of objects have been moved from room to room over the course of several years, and a decided lack of interest in managing that...well let's just say we won't be having folks over for dinner anytime soon.
Our saving grace to this very decidedly impressive lifestyle choice is that we keep important papers in a fire safe, and we make sure that when important papers have left said fire safe, they go back in. I have documents from my native land that I'll need at retirement age, there are documents from immigrating here, and most importantly for traveling, passports.
Upon recently deciding we needed to take a trip north to see my family, we recalled that we needed to make sure our passports were up to date. We'd gone to check on them in the fire safe a few weeks' back, but had some issues with the lock. (read: unable to blast it open with dynamite. A fire safe that you can't get into even yourself might be a little *too* secure.) Now the need for passports was a little more urgent, and so Mr. Eggshells determined it was time to make a serious attempt to open the safe.
I'll spare my gentle readers the majority of the dialogue that occurred as he tackled the lock. Needless to say there was a screwdriver, a key, the use of force and gravity, and possibly a blood sacrifice. There were also words that I would probably repeat in certain company (okay, probably in most company because screw it if y'all haven't figured me out by now) but don't know how to spell so I'll spare you those.
Successfully opening the fire safe was both good and bad. Good in the fact that we could now access such absolutely important papers from years ago that can now be shredded (!), and bad because the safe did not yield the passports. I'd say we were stymied, but that's not the overriding emotion. Unbridled panic was quite firmly at the top of the list as we looked blankly at each other and then tried to figure out the last time we'd used the passports so we could figure out where we might have put them.
And then came what I can only describe as the rabid ripping apart the house to figure out which suitcase/bag/carry on/sail bag they'd been left in. Partway through the second closet we tackled, it dawned on me that we weren't looking for two passports, but a leather folio where we'd put the passports and other travel documents. I was still going through bag #725 (note to self: disproportionate amount of travel gear for the amount you travel), when Mr. Eggshells bolted from the room and came back hollering "How much do you love me?"
Replying with my standard answer of "7" (which I incidentally stole from him, lest my dear readers think I'm weird or something), he then appeared in the bedroom doorway holding the leather folio. Both of us nearly collapsed in relief, not only because replacing three passports (two US and one Canadian) would be a gigantic pain in the you-know-what (okay I'll say it...ASS), but we may not have been able to do it in the time frame we'd need to.
Just where were the passports you might ask? Safely stored where one would put such important documents. In an old bag on the stairs leading into the garage. For two or three years.
From now on I'm sewing* name tags into our undies, and stapling important documents to Mr. Eggshell's chest. I never lose that.
*I can so sew, even if it is just so-so. ;)