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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!


According to TV commercials, there’s a new TV program called, “Hoarders”.  I’m nervous that they might be contacting me in the near future. You see, this questionable activity is taking place in my home. Often thought to afflict those living in abject poverty, producers might find it interesting to interview jet-setting hoarders, those who can’t be satisfied with taking three ounces of shampoo, but instead, need another three ounces stashed elsewhere, “just in case”. Which is problematic, now that airlines limit each passenger to a lunchbox-sized carryon, minus the food.

No, not to worry, we don’t have piles covering every square inch of floor and towering to the high ceilings. It’s a different type of hoarding that I would classify as saving up lots of products for a rainy day. If my activities are any indication, torrential rain will be falling very soon, a deluge that would have Noah himself concerned.

Hoarding is a behavior that kind of sneaks up on you, similar to dustballs and dog hair strewn about. For me, whenever I see necessary items on super-sale, I figure we’ll need it sooner or later, so best to stock up now. Problem is, I often forget afterwards: a) that I made the purchases, or b) where they are stored.

I’m not the only one. Benedetto bought rolls of the “forever stamps” from the post office before they went up from 42 to 46 cents. Now that we’re sending out hundreds of adoption announcements, do you think he can locate any of the discount stamps?

Same thing with holiday or birthday gifts, bought at leisure rather than on demand, expertly hidden as to never be seen again. This is a problem.

And for us, traveling adds another twist to the trials and tribulations associated with stocking up on supplies. I buy school pencils, erasers, and sharpeners in bulk quantities as though the children’s future SATs will one day rise in corresponding numbers, yet when we arrive to our next location, nary a thing may be found.

“Where are your pencils?” I question the girls. They shrug their shoulders and feign ignorance as though they have never heard of a karandash (pencil).

When pressed earlier in the week, the two admitted that they might have pencil cases in their portefeuilles, but regretted that they had disappeared, or were left behind long ago in some indeterminate place, or were taken by karandash banditi to sell to black market bookbaggers. One could never be sure. The possibilities were limitless.

So I do the sensible thing and offer to help mount a wilderness search through the uncharted territories of their rucksacks.

No need. The pencils magically appear.

Today we have no such luck. I’m irritated by their stalling strategies and grab a nearby handful of pencils. Every single one is broken at its tip. How convenient.

I beeline to my makeup bag like a bat out of wherever, locating my own beloved eye pencil sharpener, returning to the girls and plunking down before them to sharpen the whole stack.

“This is what most schoolchildren do in the beginning of their day. They sharpen their pencils to be prepared for the tasks ahead,” I instruct.

Snap! goes the sharpener as it breaks in two.

Now we will have no sharp school pencils, and no sharp makeup pencils. A case could be made for sharp pencils emanating from sharp minds.

Unfortunately, there are three or four pencil sharpeners at our other house. I should have collected a stash here, as well. Which only goes to prove my premise that hoarding is absolutely necessary.

We have cans and cans of chicken noodle soup. Dental floss and vaseline are also in great supply for some inexplicable reason, maybe in case of a natural disaster at least we’ll have comfort food, clean teeth, and be well-moisturized. I should have been a Girl Scout: always prepared.

There are bandaids in my wallet, along with mini-address books. The casual onlooker may think that I’m filthy rich, wallet bulging. Instead of big bills, it’s stuffed with handy-wipes, insect repellent, and stain remover, rubberbands, and safety pins. I’m the go-to girl, that’s for sure. This store is open seven days a week.

I also have drawers full of assorted notecards and closets packed with black pumps. In case the banks go under and the world as we know it ends, I’ll still be able to write thank you notes and walk to my next destination in style.

Plastic grocery bags have a certain appeal and I tend to hold onto bunches of those, as well. No matter that I possess every attractive and unattractive recycle eco bag known to man, I use those for schoolbooks and sundries. No, I crave the thin, plastic, disposable junk bags, suitable for dog poop or child puke and 101 other uses. You just never know when a need may arise.

Plastic bags harm the environment? By adopting from Russia, my children have never worn disposable diapers a day in their life. I calculate that this saved the environment ten diapers a day, times three years, for four children. Approximately 44,000 diapers avoided local landfills, so hoarding, and occasionally using a plastic bag, or a tin can of soup, means my dumping “footprint” compares to an angel dancing on the head of a pin. Very environmentally friendly.

My conclusion? While crazy hoarding should be a concern, happy hoarding is the green way to go.


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