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Love Declutters All

How a later-in-life lover inspired a lifelong pack rat to clean up his act.

Not so long ago there was a spare room in my house that elicited one of two responses: either fear or pity. Financial statements, suitcases, old Christmas gifts, newspapers, a fire extinguisher, and a wooden toilet seat competed for floor space with softball trophies, exercise equipment, two small sofas, pots and pans, and four studded snow tires. The floor was littered with the carcasses of audiotapes crushed underfoot. Carpet tacks spilled years ago had since migrated outward, like matter after the Big Bang, to every corner of the room.
 
There were times when 50 felt a bit old for this degree of disorganization. And for a psychotherapist who had dedicated his life to helping others sort through the miasma of the human mind, my house was a poor advertisement. But my life seemed to suit me. Until I met Libby.
 
I was introduced by a mutual friend and was instantly smitten. She looked so clean. Her blond hair above bright blue eyes was neatly combed, and when I asked her out for coffee, she extracted an appointment book sporting more nifty pockets, zippers, and special compartments than a photographer's vest.

Somehow, Libby and I connected. Small and exuberant, she possessed a mighty admiration for birds of all hues and categories. Her filing system was second to none.

About two months into our courtship we found ourselves at Serafina, the dark restaurant illuminated by candles on each table, the air fragrant with rosemary, olive oil, and roasted lamb. We were halfway through a salad when Libby launched into an elaborate treatise on the importance female beavers placed upon finding male beavers with strong sharp teeth and powerful tails. I listened attentively, nodding intermittently. … Back to Article

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