I spotted the spider as soon as I opened the bag. “At least it’s smaller than the ones the glue cards have been catching,” I thought to myself. “Dad…spider,” I stated, and he jumped up from his recliner and came over. He carefully pressed the sides of the cloth bag together, eliminating my minor setback. This occurred Thursday afternoon as I was cleaning out the pile between the loveseat and wall. It was the usual disarray of items: empty plastic bags, papers that never made it to the trash, cosmetic bags that accompanied free gifts with purchases at the make-up counter, ten-year-old newspapers. I found two rather large boxes overflowing with bills, paystubs, and statements from 2002-2004. Luckily, most of it was ready for shredding. Without fail, my mother creates these boxes every Christmas Eve when she becomes so stressed by the piles of paper everywhere that she simply stuffs them in boxes and shoves them into whatever corner she can find. Unfortunately, she never gets around to sorting them, so over the years there were no more corners to hide boxes and the practice was reduced to simply pushing the boxes and junk as far away from the tree as possible so there is room for presents. This past Christmas there was only enough space for three of us to sit on the floor, and we kept our presents in our laps as we opened them so as not to lose any items. I found a small plastic grocery sack of paperbacks which I took to Goodwill, two Currier and Ives reprints which my dad confiscated, 5×7 picture frames (left them in a stack – they’ll be used), and Mom’s Christmas stocking items from 2003. This included a snowglobe, manicure set, and Christmas candy! I am continuously amazed that my parents have so few ants and roaches. I can only conclude that the candy is so deeply hidden under piles that bugs just don’t bother. There was a book holder that Dad got overseas – it went to the bookshelf. Really, that was everything. It took me eight hours to finish this one spot. Mom was so happy to see the progress that she didn’t even ask what I threw away. She and I went through a stack of clothes on the living room computer chair before bedtime. It was just another pile that she had gotten together for charity but never carried them out of the house. The real triumph of the day was when I trashed the battery operated dog I had as a child. Dad told me on a previous visit that I couldn’t throw it away, but it was falling apart in the entryway with no hope of repair, so when he went to walk the dog I got rid of it.