Tag Archives: Why I have parties

#amwriting: mathoms, the Room of Shame, and me

I am cleaning and redecorating my office. This brought to mind an article touching on this very subject, written a year ago for Edgewise Words Inn, which in turn was originally posted in a slightly different form here in Jan 2015. To reduce my carbon footprint, I even recycle my words.

My Coffee Cup © cjjasp 2013I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again—I have parties for the same reason I have editors.

Having a party forces me to

  1. Clean my dusty house and
  2. Get rid of the ‘fluff and nonsense’ that we acquire as part of modern living.

What sort of fluff and nonsense you ask?

Consider the plastic container. Why is the lower cupboard in my house a place where containers come home to die? They have their place but too many is just too many. And where are the lids?  I think the lids to plastic containers go to that pocket in the universe where random socks and spare pairs of reading glasses go.

Plastic containers are the devil. Despite my best efforts they enter the house in insidious ways.

  1. They arrive neatly wrapped around vegan margarine, or hummus.
  2. I pick up a few to use to send leftovers home with loved ones,
  3. But more containers arrive than are used—and the ones in the cupboard are never the size I need.

Then there are the glass jars—I go on binges of saving them because “I don’t like plastic containers.” (Did you note the sarcasm?)

  1. But pickle jars and spaghetti sauce jars are never the right size.
  2. And the lids get lost.
  3. And my favorite jar is always full.

If you think the plastic containers and the jars are out of control, let’s talk about coffee cups.

peacock tea cup - useless but I wish I owned it!

peacock tea cup – useless but I wish I owned it!

How many coffee cups do two old people need? And where do these things keep coming from? It’s a miracle the shelves aren’t bowing under the weight of them.

Some of these go with the two sets of dishes we need for when we have the family over. And remember this set of dishes? I thought we gave them away.  Oooh…this one was a gift…and this one fits perfectly in my minivan’s cup-holder….

At least maybe I can get rid of the chipped ones. But this is the one Mama liked…and this one was my father-in-law Ron’s favorite cup.


But at least I can declutter the spare room. Now that is an editing job worthy of a medal–the room has become my overflow room for stuff that won’t fit in the Room of Shame.

The Room of Shame is not what you might think–it is technically my office, but it is also a warehouse for ‘mathoms.’ (Bear with me—I am a Tolkien freak).

Mathom is a word invented by Tolkien, but every author needs a day job, and Tolkien’s was as a professor of Anglo-Saxon studies.  So his word “mathom”

  1. has a Frisian origin and
  2. was constructed from an obsolete Old English word máðm which means “treasure, precious thing.”

Oh dear. My whole house is a warehouse for mathoms.

Amaryllis Ultraviolet Vase, by Daum Studio (Valued at $5,500.00--NOT in my collection)

Amaryllis Ultraviolet Vase, by Daum Studio (Valued at $5,500.00–NOT in my collection)


I noticed last year that I have twenty vases–who needs twenty vases? And why am I driven to buy vases when I have more than funeral home could ever need? But they’re so pretty, sitting on this closet shelf where no one ever sees them….

Me on a house cleaning binge is a boon to the recycling community—a van full of fluff and nonsense will go to be recycled back into the community. And the house will look so good…until the next party starts. Once that next party starts, all bets are off as to how long it will take to clean up afterward.

Gosh, I hope someone brings me a new vase. There’s a corner in that closet where it would fit perfectly.

Originally published  August 26, 2015 on Edgewise Words Inn


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