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I’ve been caught…by my kids. As they noted, when trying to purge things from my cupboards recently, “The sixties called and want their fondue set back.”

In a poorly timed desire to purge my clutter (so the kids could put THEIRS in), Crazy D and L’il Sis chose Sunday morning to tackle the stuff in several of my cupboards. This was, of course, the Sunday when we were planning a birthday celebration for Second Son’s father. Wanting to impress (or at least not embarrass myself), I had planned elaborate appetizers, a french beef stew, imported Sourdough bread from San Francisco, and a fancy cake (purchased, I must confess). Contrary to when Second Son has dinner with us and I wear my p.j’s. in preparation for an early night and we eat leftovers from whatever dish is clean, I was setting the table with the good china and silver, flowers, good wine glasses. The whole nine yards. So this is the moment the kids decided to organize me!!!

It all began with Crazy D’s fairly innocent, hopeful query, “Is there someplace I can  store my vitamins?”

Now please let me explain…three people (and The Pig) live here. We each have bottles and bottles of vitamins and supplements. Don’t ask why we all have different ones…that’s not up for discussion. Organic versus mass-produced? Natural versus synthetic? It goes on and on. Crazy D was a bit pouty, feeling left out with no space to call his own. “You each have cupboards for your vitamins. I need one too.” Welcome to the sandbox, folks.  Never mind that he has commandeered the family room as his office (you can tell because there is a large plastic bucket of his ‘important papers’ (tax details) in the corner, his drying rack for biking clothes in the middle, his computer desk and screen cutting off sight of the television.

They opened the first cupboard. It contained three of my father’s colored beer glasses. “Why don’t we throw these out?” ventured Crazy D.

“But they were your Grampy’s favorite glasses from his bar. Gill will be apoplectic if I get rid of those.”

“Too bad. Grampy’s been dead 25 years…I’m sure he doesn’t need them. He’s not using them; she’s not here; we ARE. We never use the glasses and there’s no point in keeping them. They’re just taking up space that could be used better.” With that he removed the offending glasses and put them on the table. “This is the pile going to the Diabetes pick-up, we have a pile for keepers and a pile to think about. That seem fair?”

I hesitated. I’m not sure how fair it is that my kids, temporary residents that they are, are deciding what I can hoard and what I can’t. On the other hand, when I go, they’re the ones that will be doing the sorting of my crap, so it might be better to get it done now rather than later when they’re heartbroken over my demise (please insert the soulful sound of the tiniest violin for dramatic effect).

Then we found the copper fondue pot that my ex and I bought on our camping trip to Europe in 1967. Although crusty on the outside, it was filled with fond memories of cheese fondue before our arteries hardened and beef fondue after the kids were born. (They must have been nascent vegetarians from birth since I seem to recall that they ate the peanut and sour cream dips for the meat with great relish while the premium beef lay virtually untouched on their plates.) Still, cherished memories.

In a spirit of devil-may-care abandon rarely seen by me, I announced, “Pitch the fondue pot! Don’t care. Don’t need it.” (Perhaps subconsciously I was thinking of my ex and throwing out the pot would be throwing away the last bad memory of him?) I tossed it cavalierly into the Diabetes pile.

“Whoa, Mom!” L’il Sis stopped me. “That’s such a lovely pot. Don’t throw it out. ”

“How about I put it in the ‘think about it’ pile?” I negotiated.

Crazy D, exasperated, cracked, “Oh, sure. You’re gonna spend hours of your day thinking about the fondue pot! Just pitch it. We all know you won’t be bothered deciding or you’ll be too tired to cope or stash it in the basement so you don’t have to look at it”.

But the pot, thanks to L’il Sis, was given a last -minute stay of execution. Among the other treasures we found were Gill’s supply of glass chicken and egg cups, her plastic cups (similar to kids’ training cups), and the world’s ugliest collection of mugs. We culled the lot, pitching them into the Diabetes box. I hope the recipients will forgive us…I worry about bad Karma. As for Gill, I know she won’t forgive us. I’m preparing for WW3 when she arrives for summer.