When I saw the list from Mama Kat this week I IMMEDIATELY knew which one I was going to do. The collector you know. I know many collectors of many things but the one that comes quickly to mind, and all I have to do is walk out to my garage to see his “collection”, is my husband.
My hubby is a baseball card junkie. THERE I’ve said it! Do they have a 12 step program for baseball card addicts? He used to collect baseball cards when he was a kid and after he had moved in with his foster parents he stored the cards in a closet and the water heater which was right beside that closet busted and all his cards got ruined. He was devastated (or so he told me many years later). So very early in our marriage he started collecting baseball cards.
Not a big deal……or so I THOUGHT! It did not take long for his hobby/habit/fixation/addiction to become quite the problem. It wasn’t that I minded his actual collecting. I figured if the worst he was doing was looking at baseball cards I had nothing to worry about. At least he wasn’t in a strip joint or bar hanging out. He’d come home most days with a pack or 5 or 10 of baseball cards. You know those packs with the unchewable gum in them? Yeah, those…. This quickly graduated to whole boxes of baseball cards. When I questioned the expense of buying all these cards I was told “Oh, don’t worry. Some day these cards are going put our kids through college!” Let me just quickly answer that…. NOT SO MUCH!
That college fund is still sitting in my garage…..as we speak (er, type). Let’s just say that we have one kid already finished college, one halfway through and one just starting out and baseball cards have not paid for ONE RED CENT of their college, books, tuition, or anything. NADA, ZILCH, ZERO! So, why not, you ask? That is a VERY good question and one I’d love to have the answer to.
I think partly the economy….all these cards we “invested” in years ago have lost their value like everything else and now on eBay or Craigslist they are literally a dime a dozen which is a heck of a lot less than what we paid for them! I remember that one of the last times he took “a set” to one of the local baseball card stores (yeah, good luck even trying to find one of those nowadays) the guy took the sets on consignment and told hubby he would call him when it sold. Now, as we all know, hind sight is 20/20 and foresight is usually in short supply and hubby is a very (too) trusting soul, and he left the sets with the owner without any written contract or anything and when he didn’t hear from the guy for a LONG time he went by to find out if he’d had any “bites” only to find out the guy had closed up shop and disappeared with several hundred dollars worth of cards that belonged to hubby and of course hubby had NO INFORMATION on how to find the guy. So we were royally screwed on that one (and if that is any indication of how sex with a royal is? I don’t recommend it. Not so much fun!) to say the least.
When we moved from Tennessee back here to Georgia in 1993 I think we either had 24 or 27 MOVING boxes of baseball cards. And I’m not talking the small moving boxes. I’m talking LARGE moving boxes. Not as big as the large wardrobe boxes but about ½ that size. I kid you not. When we finally moved here, I kind of banished them to the garage. We have two FULL large shelving units that are FULL of baseball cards. We also have several drawers in our dining room hutch full of baseball cards and a shelf above the shelving units that is full of unopened boxes of baseball cards.
He has sorting boxes and plastic holders and binders and mylar (is that what those hard plastic holders are?) covers and protector sheets. And he knows when they have been moved and are out of order. He collects some football and basketball cards but his first love is the baseball cards.
Not to say he hasn’t EVER sold any. He has. Once he had someone (on his birthday as a “gift”) sell him a whole slew of Ron Gant cards for like 5 cents each (I think he had like 100 of them) and then he turned around and sold most of them for I think it was $5 each. THAT was a good investment and I would have been cool with that but I’m pretty sure he just turned around and bought more cards with it.
There was a period of time of a couple of years when the girls were little that I don’t think I saw my dining room table top for almost two years because he constantly had his cards all spread out over the table because he was “sorting”. Trouble is we never got past the stage to where he could STORE them before he’d buy more to sort. One time I actually was worried for my child’s safety. I mean he LOVED those cards. Yes, he loved the kids more, but he LOVED those cards and he would constantly sit on the floor in front of the TV and sort for hours and hours and hours. He had a bad habit of shoving the box underneath the coffee table for “safe keeping” until the next night when he’d be back at it again. I told him time and again to move that box where the kids couldn’t reach it and he’d always tell me “They know better than to touch my cards” and to their credit, they didn’t touch the cards, BUT…. One day they were watching TV and one of them went to set their can of orange Fanta soda on the coffee table and it was too close to the edge and slid off into his sorting box….. upside down!
I’ve never seen him move so fast in all my life but I quickly ushered the girls up to their room because I could see how angry he was. He was SO mad he had to leave the house to drive around and calm down. When he got back let’s just say we had a little “come to Jesus” meeting about those cards and how much importance he placed on them and how I was not going to live in a house where I had to think about the safety of baseball cards above the safety of my children. I mean, if there had been a fire, I’m pretty sure he’d have saved the kids first, but, you never know….
Of course this “Fantacide” did not stop his collecting but I think it put it a little more in perspective for hubby. I think he realized he was spending WAY too much time, money and effort on those cards and not on his girls. Truth be told, I don’t think he’s hardly even looked at one of those cards since we moved in here which was 2004. Which means there has also been no effort to try to move (or get rid of) them either. I set them up on the shelves/unpacked them when we moved here and I don’t think they have been messed with since. Now he spends too much time on his fantasy baseball league to worry about the baseball cards, but, at least he is at home so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, huh?