130801_0015 My mom has a chair problem. By that I mean to say she hoardes chairs. Or perhaps I should say she “collects” them. Hoarding implies she’s just days away from suffocating under a pile of dirty laundry and banana peels. It’s not that bad. She only has 24. 

I began noticing we had an inordinately large number of chairs when I first moved in. Since then, she’s acquired three more. Mind you, these are only the outside chairs. I can’t begin to think of the inside chairs.

130801_0017In her defense, most of them were free. Usually, they’re in someone’s trash by the side of the road. While I think, “they must be throwing them out for a reason,” Mom maintains that they’re perfectly fine. She watches all the salvage shows on HGTV. And you know the saying: One man’s rusted wrought iron is another man’s home-improvement-project-that-never-happens-so-it-sits-by-the-pool-growing-rustier.

130801_0026The pretty red ones were acquired last week on a rare shopping outing. My mom agreed to take me to that OCDer’s heaven — Bed, Bath and Beyond. I could spend hours in the place just daydreaming about reorganizing my closet or checking out shelf liner. My mom, on the other hand, hates it and spends the entire time waiting on me up front, sitting in displays of patio furniture. This particular day, I’d only made it halfway through the kitchen gadgets when I received her telepathic message of distress. “Let’s go. Now.” She eyed the rainbow of magnetic bag clips in my hand, but refrained from saying, “Do you really need that?”

130801_0013I know she’s glad she refrained, given the irony of what happened next. Having run into Home Depot for an extension cord, she came out with chairs number 23 and 24.

“What?” she said when I looked incredulous. “They were on sale.”

130801_0010Like anyone in the throes of addiction, she passed through phases of anger and denial. Once I began counting the chairs, she became defensive.

“You can’t count the cheap stackables! Don’t count the outdoor dining chairs. Those are part of a set.”

130801_0018Oh, I see. Part of a set. For the record, we have 14 chairs, not counting the cheap stackables or the outdoor dining chairs. They’re still chairs by the way, but whatever.

We’re ready to host a party of 50 at a moment’s notice.

130802_0003When I went to take a picture of the chairs poolside, I noticed they’d all been moved. Much like a kindergartner moves food around on his plate, my mother had spread chairs all over the yard in groups of two and three, hoping to disguise the sheer volume of seating choices available. I guess that she’s aware enough to try to hide this is progress. And after all, the first step is admitting you have a problem.