Posted by: navalanche | April 4, 2013

Make Up Clutter

Last I wrote, my sister Kat was very, very angry with me.  All communication between the two of us ceased.  I had faith that eventually the two of us would kiss and make up but the path to reconciliation and the amount of time it would take were in question.

Usually, the first step is to let others know that each of us have been slighted by taking our argument to the masses.  That begins with our immediate family.  Mike was totally team Karen but how could he not?  The wedge between Kat and I allowed him an opportunity to air his grievances with Kat in an unfiltered forum.  And man o’ man did he grieve about everything.  He had a laundry list of items that he wanted to discuss from Kat’s clutter to her practical jokes to her attitude. And he was right about almost everything.  Ours is on many levels a one sided relationship.  Kat leaves clutter at my house but I could never do the same at hers (although she does keep one item of mine in her basement for leverage.  I should take care of that).  She plays practical jokes on Mike and me all the time (like the time she placed my bras in the mailbox for the mailman) but has a fit if you leave something in her front yard (like a toilet, for instance, very funny story that I have to finish writing).  If we go out to eat, it has to be where she wants to go, or something suddenly comes up that prevents her from going (that means Kat’s a no show unless it’s the Olive Garden, Buca di Peppo or pizza). I found myself agreeing with Mike.  “You’re right, she’s a big ol’ meanie!”  And when I walked with the neighbor girls, Leslie and Bobbie, they agreed with Mike also.

Leslie:  “Let her stew.  You are always doing something for her.”

I didn’t feel any better because they sided with me.  It’s dangerous territory to be self righteous and more than anything else, I can’t stay angry.  Within a week, I found that I had very little desire to continue the fight.  Kat did not feel the same.  I respected her decision. I saw Kat for the first time two weeks later at Jaxon’s third birthday party.  She ignored me completely.  Whenever she saw me with my camera, she moved out of frame or when she couldn’t, tried to hide behind someone.


In fact, she was still so angry with me that she avoided the rest of our family and fraternized with her perceived enemies, her in-law’s.  That was Kat’s way of saying “You are dead to me”.  Now that’s angry and I found it rather funny.

A week later, my sisters and I decided to celebrate Lynne’s birthday together.  Kat made excuses why she could not attend.  My sisters and I joked that if we had only had the party at Olive Garden or Buca di Peppo, Kat would have made an appearance.

Three days later, Mike, Jaxon and I unexpectedly ran into Kat at a free sandwich at Arby’s promotion.  Jaxon (Kat’s grandson) was too tired to notice that his grandparents and Uncle Zack were sitting across the dining area.


We waved but Kat ignored us.  She did eventually cross the great divide to say hello to Jaxon but she would not even look at me.  I thought we were making progress.  We were not. The next family event was Sue’s birthday.  Kat was unable to make it.  My sisters, Lynne and Sue started grumbling.

Sue:  “This is ridiculous.”

Lynne:  “This needs to stop.”

Me:  “Just give her time.  You know how stubborn she is.”

Lynne & Sue:  “Fix it!”

It’s not that easy.  I insisted that Kat had to be ready for any type of re-conciliatory overture.  They deduced that I was reluctant to make up.  It wasn’t that, I know Kat differently than they do.  When we were teenagers, she didn’t speak to me for years because my mere presence on this earth irritated her.

Me:  “Just a little longer.  Besides, I have an ace in the hole.  Coke caps.”

That’s right, Kat is obsessed with collecting Coke caps.  She’d get in bed with the devil for a large quantity of them.  It’s like catnip to her, she will go to extremes to recover even a single cap, all for the opportunity to win a prize.  As shy as she is, she’ll ask anyone to save them for her, including my neighbors.  She even asked my mailman to collect them for her (crazy thing, he did until his route got changed, I’ll have to blog about that another time.)  As time passed, my collection of Coke caps got larger and larger.


I passed the word through her son that I had a large cache of caps.  No Kat. My next step was to be more aggressive.  Whenever she called Zack while he was at my house, I would run towards his phone and shake the bag of caps vigorously and yell into his phone, calling out the current count.

Me:  “I’ve got caps!!  Over 60 caps!!”

Zack:  “She says send them home with me.”

Me:  “Tell her we have to meet.”

Zack:  “She says NO.”

I couldn’t believe it.  Too mad for Coke caps?  Sacreblue!!!  Now I was irritated. I saw or heard nothing from Kat until my birthday in November.  She sent me a sweet card and a gift card for Lowe’s.  Finally, a break through, I thought.  I called to thank her and left a message on her answering machine and never heard back.  My sister Sue and Lynne started complaining again.

Sue:  “What’s wrong with her?!”

Lynne:  “This has got to end.  Thanksgiving is coming.”

Me:  “I’ve tried, I don’t know what else to do.”

So Lynne took it upon herself to resolve the situation.  She called Kat and asked her what needed to be done to fix things.  Then she called me.

Lynne:  “Ok, here’s the scoop.  She just needs you to apologize.”

Me:  “I DID apologize.”

Lynne:  “She says you didn’t.”

Me:  “I did, over and over again.  I have witnesses.”

Lynne and I argued for 30 minutes.  Finally, I started to cry.

Me:  “I’ve tried, she just won’t let it go.”

Lynne:  “Look!  You have to force it!  She’s too hardheaded, YOU have to fix it.”

Me:  “What do you want me to do?  She won’t take my calls.”

Lynne:  “I want you to get in your car and drive to her house and apologize.”

Me:  “You’re assuming that she’s answer the door….”

Lynne:  “I don’t care!  Pound on it until she has to answer it.”

Yeah….I wasn’t going to do that unless I really wanted her to NEVER speak to me again.  She wouldn’t take kindly to her crazed sister showing up, banging on her door and making scene about personal matters in front of the neighbors.

Me:  “I’m not doing that but I will try again.”

I didn’t.  My neighbors, my friends, even the employees at the corner store knew that Kat and I were at odds.  I was thoroughly exhausted of talking about the issue with everyone but Kat. Then one late November morning, Mike called out, “Kat’s here”.  I tumbled out of my chair and ran to the door to see if it was true.  She walked in and handed me a bag with animal print shirt and old electric scissors.

Kat:  “Hey……I had these for you”.


I’m not an animal print kind of gal and I have no use for a pair of electric scissors but hell, she was there.

Me:  “Thanks”.

And after a few silent moments, we began to talk at the exact same time.

Me:  “I’m sorry about everything….”

Kat:  “Well, I knew one of us had to do something about it…”

I started to cry, like I always do, and Kat who never cries told me to knock it off.

Kat:  “Don’t start the waterworks now”.

I gave Kat her bag of Coke caps, now over 100 in count.  She feigned disinterest but I knew she was excited by the large stash. We gave each other an awkward hug and Kat turned and left.  I was relieved it was over but it really wasn’t, not just yet.

I saw Kat for a few minutes at Christmas and it was uncomfortable.  But there were small clues that things might return to normal, like the glass grapes she gave me for Christmas that Mike hates and the blow mold Santas that she gave to Mike that he hates even more.  (He expressed his displeasure with a hand gesture.  Kat loved the reaction as that’s what she expected.  I wish they would just quit tormenting each other but I do enable it.) And then, in the last days of December, boxes started arriving at my house.


They kept coming…


And coming…


But no Kat.  I called her.

Me:  “Kat, you have a pile of packages at my house.”

Kat:  “I know.  I’ve been really busy.  I’ll be over as soon as I can.”

Me:  “Sooner than later, please.  I have no room.”

It reminded me of the scene in the first Harry Potter movie when the Uncle refused letters from Hogwarts but they kept coming.  Eventually, she stopped by and picked up her purchases.  She explained that since she was working so much, she felt her packages would be safer on my covered porch (that is filled with clutter) than her front stoop.

Me:  “That’s all, right?”

Kat:  “Well…I do have a small package and the new headlight assemblies for my Sebring.”

They were not the last packages.


It became a routine.  Mailman stops with packages.  Mike and mailman discuss Mike’s life in Hell because packages are filling the house.  Mike is now in a mood and comes into house with packages complaining that we have no room and the packages must go.  I tell him to relax, Kat and I are still on fragile ground.  Kat stops every two weeks to retrieve packages.  Mike is still unhappy and tells the mailman that he can start to pack our car shed with packages.  I’m not fond of the idea and Mike and I start to squabble.  I call Kat to give her weekly package count.  Kat stops by and picks up “most” of her packages.  And then it starts all over again. They keep coming….


And coming….


It was our new normal.  She even sends me things, like this Hard Rock Christmas pin.


Then, finally a real break through.  Kat stopped by after a particularly rough day with chocolate cake, chocolate milk and chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream to decompress with “me”.  A chocolate feast for two.  It was finally over.


The packages keep coming but less frequently.  Unfortunately, Kat’s clutter fills the new space I create.  Another package arrived today. I expect that they will continue to keep coming and I’m alright with that. I can’t say the same for Mike although but he has someone he can commiserate with, his buddy the mailman.


  1. a little sad for the ever down-trodden mike, slowly having his home fill with kat s**t while he can do nothing but stand idly by.

    • There is no doubt that he doesn’t have any easy life but my family loves him. Hopefully, that eases his pain. 🙂

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