The monster in the Miller home

Sunday, December 25, 2005

HE SAID: A monster lives in my home while I'm at work.

Not a dangerous monster like King Kong. No, this monster is more like the kind you'd find on Sesame Street. Cute. Talented. And somewhat lacking in adult discipline.

You see, this monster likes making messes. When I come home, I find scraps of paper lying about, cluttering the floor. I find receipts for $20 and $30 from various stores, proof that the monster gets out and about and spends our hard-earned money without my knowledge. I find dried glue on the tablecloth, miniature hammers and odd-looking metal tools strewn about.

I find books, beautiful books with pictures of the monster, the monster's husband and the monster's stepson.

The Scrapbook Diva, we shall call her, is a complicated character with a large appetite for crafts. She takes over my wife's body, possesses her and spins her into a scrapbooking frenzy.

And I have become The Enabler, the spicy Diva's dumbfounded, double-agent sidekick. I have strengthened her powers. I created a monster. And now I have no idea how to control her.

It was an honest mistake. How was I to know that encouraging an innocent hobby would lead to the Diva's stranglehold on the Miller house?

I asked her to make a scrapbook for my mother for her birthday last summer. Callie had dabbled in scrapbooking when her parents celebrated their 25th anniversary. She did such a good job with the book I asked Callie (who hadn't turned into the Diva yet) to do one for Mom with childhood pictures of me and my brothers.

I might as well have been dangling a raw steak in front of a werewolf.

You may think I'm kidding: Let me give you an example.

Two weeks before Christmas, an ordinary person would know not to buy herself any scrapbook items because it's a logical gift for others to buy her, right?

I had bought an "eyelet kit," whatever that is, because I saw my cute and talented monster eyeing one in the store.

Days later I discovered she had already bought one for herself.

I've tried various things. Crucifixes. Salt. Water. As far as I can tell, the Diva is indestructible.

Hide the children, folks. The Diva's on the loose.

SHE SAID: I admit I may have formed an obsession. Or is it addiction?

Whichever it is, I recently discovered something alarming about my mental health: I enjoy buying and organizing (then reorganizing) scrapbooking supplies more than actual scrapbooking.

I worry that the pattern I've fallen into is similar to my great-grandmother's penchant for collecting all sorts of costume jewelry and then hiding it away (she had Alzheimer's).

Could this be an early symptom?

After all, I'm not usually an organized person at all. For a while now, I've been winning the messy desk race in the newsroom.

I do like to play with the glue and shred paper. There was glitter stuck to the hardwood floors in the living room for a few weeks last month. And last week I accidentally sliced up our new Christmas table-cloth with a pair of scissors that should have been cutting paper. Oh, the thrill of it all!

But in the end, I always return to carefully categorizing and alphabetizing and organizing my supplies.

So at least the monster has a method to her madness. Or maybe just the early signs of a degenerative disease.

Anyone know a good costume jewelry shop?

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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