Call me the bag lady |

Call me the bag lady

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice

“Fa-la-la-la-laaaa … la-la-la-la!” Husband-Head sang out merrily as he headed down to the basement to fetch his cache of Christmas decorations.

It’s no secret to anyone that Husband-Head loves to decorate the outside of our house for every holiday. In fact, people seem to EXPECT it.

“Remember the time that lady yelled at you because you didn’t do Valentine’s Day?” I recalled.

Husband-Head, who took the criticism seriously, has been decorating for Valentine’s Day ever since. …

But Christmas is always one of his favorites with his blow-up Santa and gigantic snowman, pine tree shutters, large painted candy peppermints under the eve and candy cane wrapping on the posts. This year, he was especially excited about his new strings of large, colored, LED lights.

“Not only do they look good, they’re 98 percent energy efficient,” he proclaimed proudly.

But when he went down to the basement, he wasn’t so fa-la-la-la-la anymore.

I had asked him to grab me a couple of gift bags for some presents I was wrapping.

“And grab some tissue paper while you’re at it!” I added.

There was silence for a few minutes before he answered back.

“What in the HELL is going on down here?” Husband-Head bellowed from below. “How long has this been going on?”

“What?” I yelled back. “We’ve always kept the gift-wrapping stuff under the stairs!”

I went downstairs to the basement to see what he was freaking out about.

“I didn’t realize that you hoard boxes,” Husband-Head said, shaking his head. “There’s enough boxes here to give a gift to everyone in the whole city. Where did you get all these? This is crazy!”

I was in a pickle because if I told him the boxes came from the stuff that I ordered online throughout the year, I was going to get in trouble for that, too.

“I just kept them in case we needed a box to put a gift in,” I said sheepishly.

“Well, we need to throw this stuff out,” Husband-Head said firmly as he started hucking the boxes into a garbage bag. “This is nuts.”

I high-tailed it upstairs to get out of the line of fire.

A few minutes later, I heard him yell again.

“Oh my GOD … look at all this colored tissue paper!” he screamed. “Not only is there heaps of scrunched up USED tissue, but there are packages that haven’t even been opened yet! Nobody needs this much tissue! This is getting thrown out NOW.”

A little while later came the biggest meltdown of all.

“LOOK … AT … ALL … THESE … GIFT … BAGS!” he yelled out in disbelief. “I’ve never seen this many. There’s Christmas bags, wedding bags, birthday bags and bags for no occasion at all. How long have you had this obsession? You have bags with bags IN them!”

That was it – I wasn’t going to let him toss my bags, so I ran downstairs.

“Those bags are still perfectly good,” I said, positioning myself between Husband-Head and the offending bags. “You can’t just throw them out.”

“Look, there’s more!” he said incredulously as he discovered another bunch of bags. “Where do they all come from? You give new meaning to the phrase ‘bag lady,’ you know.”

“When people give us a gift in a bag, I keep the bag, so I can re-use it when I give a gift,” I said defensively. “Everyone does that. It’s silly to throw the bag out and buy a new one when you can use the one you have.”

Husband-Head looked totally confused.

“Well, if everyone is doing that, then how does the gift bag industry stay in business?” he challenged. “Why would they bother to manufacture more bags?”

Who knows.

“And for your information, I keep the different colored tissues because the tissue has to match the bag,” I huffed.

Husband-Head looked as if he were about to have me committed. …

“Who looks at the friggin’ tissue?” he said in practically a whisper.

I went back upstairs and left Husband-Head in the basement.

“Come down here and look at this,” he called out several hours later.

I was amazed when I saw what he’d done. He’s sorted out all the bags and had them hanging on the wall in their respective categories.

“Cool!” I said, grabbing a yellow bag that I needed for my gift.

Then I walked by the garbage bag and plucked out a used yellow tissue that he had thrown away. …

Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her columns runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at to see more columns or to purchase her book. Contact Heidi at

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