Fires, Hoarding, and Art – A Story About Chef’s Art

Today, I had to ask myself if I’m a bad person. Maybe.

Lately, with a few exceptions here and there, I’ve started to find the whole last year of my life less tragic and more funny. Is that

This is Chef's Art.
This is Chef’s Art.

weird? I’ve always believed that the opposite of love wasn’t hate, but indifference, and I think I’ve finally moved into that realm of thinking. And now, as I skim through my diaries from the last year, I’m finding things that were really traumatic and painful at the time, somewhat funny now. For instance, Chef was trying to turn into this hoarder kind of guy, and I was constantly battling him about putting his “art” around the house. There is no way to describe this stuff other than to say, wow. That is a lot of trash you glued together, buddy. I didn’t say that, of course. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but whatever that drug did to him, it didn’t make him artistic. His “projects” would disappear the minute he left the house. I couldn’t stand it.

Chef spent many an hour cutting extension cords and splicing random pieces of it together to make this odd, multi-colored, extra-long extension cord guaranteed to burn down the house with all of us in it. Those, too, would magically disappear when he left because I wasn’t quite ready to die. What amazes me even more is that I found none of this funny at the time, yet I’m sitting here laughing my butt off now.

Either it is really funny, or I’ve finally lost my mind. 🙂

The last time I was at his house, I finally told him that his house looks like hell. It is covered in his “art” now, and it looks just terrible. Even the dogs agreed with me, sitting on the couch with depressed looks on their faces. I could tell they were wondering why they were suddenly surrounded by the city dump. He was, of course, offended, and told me that I wouldn’t recognize good “art” if it hit me in the face. I picked up this broken vase that he had glued to some kind of rusted coffee can with holes punched into it, and a little decorative light installed inside. I noticed that the cord to the light had been spliced together with a brown cord and a white one.

“Really?” I asked him, pointing to the coffee can.

“You just don’t understand art. You see trash. I see art,” he said, defensively.

“I see a fire and potentially a spot on that show about Hoarders in your future,” I told him.

“Well, T likes it. She thinks I have a lot of talent,” he quipped.

“She also thinks you’re sober, handsome,  and just misunderstood. I’d get a second opinion if I were you, ” I told him, smarting a little from his mention of the other woman.

He made me leave.

I’m sorry, but I find this stuff hilarious now. Am I losing my mind?

— Bird


53 responses to “Fires, Hoarding, and Art – A Story About Chef’s Art”

  1. I feel guilty saying this, I don’t mean to be uncharitable…but my brother went through this “art” phase, and he put all these huge “works” in my parents’ house. Some of it was Elvis-themed. Enough said!


    • Well, I can’t help it. Some of this stuff was just mind-twisting, and I think if I don’t write about my absolute confusion about why he did some of this stuff, I’ll just explode. He’d never, ever think this stuff was art if he were sober. In fact, the couple of times he was, he’d just shake his head and we’d laugh about it. Now, he is almost never sober, i guess. His home is over-run in ART. I can’t help but laugh. Like I said, maybe I’m a bad person. 🙂


  2. LOL! I know your voice and personality and I knew his and reading your little conversation had me laughing out loud and Ken had to ask me what I was laughing at! Girl, you will reach so many different levels of indifference, grief, happiness, and such, just go with it, it is part of your healing process. I love you 😉


  3. It’s a good sign. I think you’re normal. Although I’m wondering from what you are describing if he actually has a mental issue of some kind–chemical imbalance (and no I don’t mean from illicit drugs :-). )


    • He’s always had OCD to a limited degree, but I think the drug has caused it to spin out of control. There are mounds of junk in that house now. Frankly, it would make my head hurt to have to live with piles of stuff everywhere, but he seems to like it. And I guess it doesn’t bother T either. He did tell me that her parent’s home was a hoarder’s paradise, so maybe she’s just used to it. I know I couldn’t stand living with piles of trash everywhere. The most concerning thing to me is his playing around with electric things. I was always afraid of him electrocuting himself or burning the house down. I have no idea why he keeps cutting extension cords and splicing them together again. Why?????


  4. Far from loosing your mind, it seems to me like you’ve gotten your mind back. It’s good to know that time heals all wounds, even if it does leave some scars now and then. It’s great to hear of you laughing again.


  5. Hey Bird! I don’t think you’ve abandoned your loving nature. Indifference would mean that you don’t care. If you don’t care, you wouldn’t be writing about it. At least that was my first thought.

    My second thought is that you’re trying to convince yourself that you’ve been finally released from an unreciprocated love for this guy you had so much good to say about just one year ago. You want to move on (and you may even feel guilty about it).

    But, don’t short-change yourself in the process. You are a very insightful person who has a way with eeking out some reality of life, even the stressful life of a person doing her best to figure out her journey with Jesus, in every post. Your love for Chef might be different, and the pain somewhat more bearable, but it’s still there because that is who you are.

    The vulnerability required by true love makes it hurt immensely when it is betrayed. I believe that’s what you’ve experienced. So, you’re not out of your mind (no more than you ever have been ;-)). I think quite the opposite.

    As I’ve just realized I’m the only dude to have posted a comment, I’ll stop here to avoid forfeiture of my man card.


    • Hi, Dave. You don’t have to forfeit your man card! I know this is an odd stage for me to be in, but I also kind of recognize it. When my first husband wouldn’t stop using that drug, it took me two years before I arrived at the emotional point of distancing myself from his choices. That was when I was able to walk away from him. The fact is, Chef chose to go down this path despite a lot of people trying to help him. He left his family, his friends, everyone…In true selfish form, he’s been trying to keep me on the hook by making promises he thinks I want to hear, and telling T the things she wants to hear, all in an effort to get money and ensure someone will take care of him. The minute I felt extremely used, something clicked in me, and the tears stopped. I’ll always miss the man I loved, but it isn’t this guy. This one really kind of appalls me, and I’m finished with him. Period. When I finally walked away from D, my first husband, there was never another tear for him, ever. I feel fine. I feel happy. I feel peaceful. And now, I feel finished. It was never realistic to think I could save him, and now I’ve accepted that. Jesus is his savior. Not me. So, if I sound a little cold or callous, it isn’t because I didn’t love him. It is because I can’t pour anymore of myself into this. There’s nothing left for me to do but move on.


      • I get it. Haven’t checked in on your blog nearly enough now that I’m working full time, so I don’t have the whole story. So, I probably shouldn’t have opened my big mouth.

        My thought was that you’re not a callous person. You’ve obviously come to a healthy understanding of who you are and what it is God calls you to do (and be).

        My brother is going through a similar experience with his soon to be ex-wife, whom he’s been married to for 19 years, and they have five kids. I keep telling him to move one, that he can’t afford to pour any more of himself into her. I hope he comes to the same conclusion as you have.



        • I really feel for your brother. 5 kids! That is a lot of heartbreak to go around. I imagine every marriage is as much an individual as the people in it. He’ll get to the right place at the right time, I imagine. The one thing I seem to have that God has really blessed me with is a limit to how much I’m going to take. I can forgive pretty much anything, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to continue to get hurt over and over just to prove my love. I was surprised it took me as long as it did..D didn’t do half the things Chef has. But I was only with him 5 years. I had to overcome a lifetime of memories with Chef. Either way, I pray your brother finds peace and is able to move on. No one deserves to get stuck in this kind of pain. Many blessings, Dave!!


  6. The greatest bit of wisdom Mother ever instilled in me was when I was 10. I was crying my eyes out over my two cousins who preferred each other to me. She said, she knew it hurt but to always remember, “If they don’t want you, then you sure don’t want them.” That has expanded in my old psyche to, ‘Even if you do want them when they reject you or hurt you irreparably, never let ’em know it.’ Pride can be a rather handy device. Forgive but don’t forget. Life’s too short to waste pining over lost causes. Keep up the Bird Reports. You have a great gift, words…


    • Thanks, Lindy Lee! It’s good to be reminded of this bit of wisdom. Besides, I’m moving on. It is getting easier to forget about all the pain, and focus on the fun I’m having right now. 🙂


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