Clothesline finished, as Joel falls victim to his hoarding instinct.

Have you ever wept over half a loaf of moldy bread?

That and similar experiences, many years ago now, triggered a strong impulse toward hoarding. No, not stacks of rotting newspaper leaning against the walls, I’m not that crazy. I mean a preference for very strong supplies of the things that have proven useful. Food. Water. Warm winter clothes. 550 cord. I want to know it’s there, and by ‘know it’s there’ I mean stack it high and not use up any of it at all. That’s the part that sometimes starts to feel a little like mental illness.

Over three years ago Generous Reader MM sent me an absurdly bounteous gift: a 400 yard spool of new 550 cord, almost certainly a lifetime supply no matter how profligately I squander it. And because I love the sight of that big full spool in my storage shed, that’s exactly where it has stayed. Oh, I’ve used a little here and there: I have 10 feet of it daisychained in my pocket right this second. But large amounts have not been expended. At all. Nope. Uh uh.

Yesterday, having made and mounted crosstrees for my new clothesline poles, I found myself in need of 80 feet of clothesline. And I thought about that spool in the shed, and immediately dismissed the thought. No, I decided, I’ll see what they’ve got at the hardware store on Monday.

Woke at five this morning and my first conscious thought was, “You know what makes really good clothesline, Joel? I mean, like the best you’ve ever seen?”

And I was all, “Yes. I know. Shut up.” Because it’s not like this is the first time in 16 years I’ve strung a clothesline. And I’ve never used anything but 550 cord, because it’s nearly perfect. Strong. Impervious to UV. Infinitely reusable. If new cord didn’t stretch so much at first, it would be completely perfect.

This is how Shylock felt. “My daughter! My ducats!”


It didn’t even visually affect how much is on the spool. Because that’s less than 27 yards used, and I have 400. Yeah, unless I take up making my own parachutes I’ll never run out of 550 cord again. Can’t believe I really spent days agonizing over that.

And now that project is finished, except for a little tidying up and cutting some prop poles.

Now I just need a washing machine.

And while I was there, I took care of what should have been done two days ago…

…fill, inspect and wipe down Ian’s batteries.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Clothesline finished, as Joel falls victim to his hoarding instinct.

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Make sure you let me know when you start to run low on 550 cord. Resupply is easy and reasonably inexpensive. In whatever color makes you happy!

  2. Ben says:

    My amateur prediction is that some day you will end up with back guys on those poles. Even with prop poles, the horizontal force from four taut lines of wet clothes is surprising.

  3. Joel says:

    Mark, in that unlikely case you’ll be the first to know.

    Ben, you could very well be right. The posts aren’t buried very deep, and I have plans for guy cables if needed.

  4. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one who gets warm fuzzies from all the stuff I may never use or eat.

  5. boynsea says:

    I have a partial spool of Army Green 550, gifted to me by a certain Army Brat, directly from a certain base’s stock. I weep every time I cut a length from it. And that’s not just because Army Brat gave it to me.
    You are not the only hoarder here!

  6. Mark Matis says:

    Ya know, you could make a parasail!

  7. wayne charles dygert says:

    There’s a little bit of that syndrome in all of us in the “Grew up with nothin’ and still have most of it left” group.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I want to know it’s there, and by ‘know it’s there’ I mean stack it high and not use up any of it at all.
    Omg dude I have always felt this but never could verbalize it or even consciously understand my loathing to actually, y’know, USE my stored supplies.

  9. Jim Price says:

    Nice to know I’m not the only one here with a bit of OCD.

  10. randy says:

    If you keep using it at that luxurious rate, you only have 14 years of it left!

To the stake with the heretic!