I'll have to admit it! I am a slob.

I usually shave and shower when it is convenient, not every morning, as neat people do. My garage is a are found only because of my intimate knowledge of where I might have left them.  My filing system in my spare-room-office is instinctive, rather than formal.

This public confession will not surprise my wife.  Some of my neighbors (who enter my house by way of the garage) have a suspicion, but seem to think the mess in the garage is a temporary abberation.  Their husbands regularly give the garage floor a fresh coat of paint. Their driveways are so antiseptically clean that even weeds in the seams are a cause for concern.

My garbage cans are not filled with neatly packaged household waste in clean white bags. Food cans are not rinsed out before discarding them, and an empty garbage can in my home can only be used for....more garbage.

Some of my neighbors like me because I might have somewhere in my garage just the right screw or nail, or even a tool such as they have discarded years ago.

Oh! I forgot to tell you, I am also a string saver. I don't throw away strings of Christmas lights just because several bulbs are burned out. I just buy a new string, and put the old one in a safe place until I can find the time to replace all the burned out bulbs. The same with magazines and catalogs; when the stack gets too high, they go to the local laundromat because the Salvation Army is not too happy to take them. Of course, National Geographics never are discarded. Who knows, I might someday want to travel to outer Mongolia and it would be valuable to have the name of a local hotel.

It always gives me a secret thrill to visit the lavatory in a neighbors home. The scrubbed sink, the bowl of a fragrant pot pourii, and the clean towels make me reluctant to turn on the tap or flush the toilet. There is never a toothbrush in sight, and the soap in the dish has just been unwrapped, and never used. And, yes, they always have a full roll of toilet tissue. I always have the feeling that they must have a secret bathroom in a remote place in their house that is used by the family only.

My mother always knew that I was a slob. She would always tell me to wear clean underwear in case I was in a horrible accident. She said it would be terrible for the family if a doctor examined me and found that my underwear was not fresh and clean. What would they think?

My father was more concerned with haircuts. He would gladly pay the bill to his barber to give me a trim when the hair on my scalp reached out and touched my ears. It was fortunate that he died before my son decided to wear a pigtail!

I always feel sorry for some of the men who visit my house for the first time. They stop on the threshold and bend down to remove their shoes. They seem to be terrified at the thought of walking on a broadloom carpet. Mostly, on assurance from me that it is all right, they replace their shoes and take tentative steps into the house. To me, an annual visit from a carpet cleaner is a much more sensible approach. Besides, have you ever smelled someones socks?  I don't want my carpets contaminated by foot odors!

Bare walls cry out for moderation. My wife has a good sense of this, and has firmly put her foot down and told me to keep my grubby hands off the walls of all of the house except my bathroom and the office.

The second bathroom came into existance in a former house when I became fed up with constantly cleaning hair out the sink  from the heads of my wife and three daughters. This present home came with two bathrooms, one for the guest room, and one for the master bedroom. It wasn't long before the master bath became the territory of my wife, and the other bath became the mens room.

There on the one wall, are pictures of all the men of the women. The medicine cabinet is overflowing, so most things are stored on the counter top. Every once in a while I scrub the sink to remove the build-up of soap scum, and sometimes I replace the scraps of soap in the dish! The towels are always pretty clean, thanks to my wife, and also because I frequently dry my hands on my trousers. The compartment under the sink is filled with unused medications as well as a supply of tissue.

At first the office was a guest bedroom, but soon the bed got in the way, and was replaced by a Murphy bed that can be let down when the rare guest arrives. The walls are covered with certificates, framed photos, drawings and books. Oh yes, and flags from some of the countries I have visited. The lighted neon sculpture is different, to be sure, and to me a nice touch. Under these decorations is paint that is hardly visible between the treasures on display.

Every once in a while, reluctantly, I load up the car trunk and take a ride to the county collection station, and feed the compactors with a load of things that really should have been saved. I don't go there too often because it is always a heart-wrenching experience to see all those good things that other people have wantonly discarded.

A friend of mine who has been declared "clinically depressed" tells me that support groups could help in cases like mine. I have searched the papers and found groups for alcoholics, wife abusers, single parents, parents without partners and many more. No one seems to want to admit that they are slobs, so I guess I will have to indulge in self-therapy. I suppose I can start by throwing away news magazines a week or so after I read them. Then....catalogs that are more than a year old should be the next to go.

Hey! This is fun!  I can see that the next step will logically be to remove from my closet the pants that are now too small in the waist. That could lead to shirts that are difficult to button because of that waist-line increase. And those shoes with laces that are broken and the tops are scarred and cracked.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Enough of this dreaming. First I will spend tonight looking at those magazines and catalogs to make sure that I don't discard anything important! Perhaps tomorrow I will tackle the clothes closet.

Oh, By the way, did I forget to tell you that I am also a procrastinator?

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