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The Wrong Stuff

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I had always thought that my garage was the stuff of legend because it's stuffed with stuff, most of which isn't my stuff but my daughters' stuff. It has been accumulating since they left the nest, which supposedly is empty because they don't live at home anymore but really isn't because a lot of their stuff is still here.

Then I talked with my college buddy and longtime friend Tim Lovelette, who not only has a garage full of his kids' stuff but a basement full of it, too, which makes both places the stuff of legend.

"If our kids' stuff had any value, they wouldn't trust us with it. They'd be using it," Tim told me. "Why have we got it? Because they don't want it. This is nefarious, no question about it. Somehow, a whole generation has gotten together and conspired to fill our homes with worthless stuff."

Tim has more stuff than I do because he and his wife, Jane, have three kids, Marshall, 32, Amy, 30, and Brendan, 28, while my wife, Sue, and I have two, Katie, 31, and Lauren, 28. They're all great kids, even though they aren't, technically, kids anymore. Still, when you get to be my age (old enough to know better), practically everyone else is a kid. So here's looking at you, kids. And all your stuff.

"I think somebody's got a key to the house and brings stuff in," Tim theorized. "I change the locks and it still goes on."

This means the reverse robber is leaving stuff not only in Tim's garage but in his basement, a problem I don't have because I don't have a basement.

"You're not qualified to have adult children if you don't have a basement," Tim said. "Where are they going to put their stuff?"

"In the garage," I replied.

"You wouldn't appreciate anything until you've seen my garage," Tim said. "How many bicycles can you accumulate in a lifetime? I don't even like bicycles."

Another thing Tim has in his garage is the snow blower he bought for Marshall.

"I bought it for him for Christmas three or four years ago," Tim recalled, adding that Marshall's wife, Sara, said she would buy Marshall a shed for his birthday so he could put the snow blower in it. "But she never bought the shed," Tim said. "Now I have two snow blowers in my garage. Sara and Marshall have a basement, but there can't be anything in it, including the snow blower. I don't think it's ever been started, but it's there, ready to go, in my garage."

Then there are all those skis and ice skates.

"How many pairs of skis can you accumulate?" Tim wondered. "Just go to my garage and count them and figure it out. And I have all their ice skates. My kids haven't ice-skated in 15 years. If they had to use this stuff, which is all out of date, they'd go out and buy new ones and leave the old ones in my house."

"What about the basement?" I asked.

"You wouldn't believe it," Tim replied. "It's filled with He-Man toys. You wouldn't know about them because you have girls, but these toys go back 20 or 30 years. This whole thing must go back to prehistoric times. I can envision caves, with Neanderthal-type people, caves filled with stuff, and the kids are saying, 'No, you can't throw away my bones.' It's been going on for centuries."

"What can we do about it?" I said.

"Pack up their stuff in a moving van and have it delivered to them," Tim answered. "Or have a yard sale. If you have ever gone to a yard sale, you'd see that there's always a free table. All the stuff you have that belongs to your kids should go on the free table. Just tell them, 'I'm giving your stuff away.' What can they do? They can't hit us."

"Then we'd have the last laugh," I said.

"Not really," said Tim. "There's a final resolution to all of this: When we die, our kids will have a houseful of stuff -- not just their stuff but our stuff. They'll say, 'What are we going to do with Dad's stuff?' Answer: They'll have a yard sale. Our stuff will go on the free table."

Stamford Advocate columnist Jerry Zezima is the author of "Leave It to Boomer." Visit his blog at www.jerryzezima.blogspot.com. Email: JerryZ111@optonline.net.

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima