Ah, Thursday night. A loaf of (pita) bread, a jug of (lemonade), and a laptop. One night away from the chaos and mayhem that is our house as we frantically pack up the library and move it to a storage unit in preparation for the (drum roll, please) Listing of the House. We need that room empty, pleasant and dust-free, something it wasn't when we first moved in and hasn't been since then, either, to Give Potential Buyers the Opportunity to Imagine Their Own Belongings In This Space. It's actually a pleasant room, once you get stuff out of it. It's just that at the moment, as the books and their shelves head out the door, it's filling up with--empty boxes. Well, to be fair, we've got to put them somewhere.
You have no idea how much dust can accrue in a library. Back when I worked in a library, one of my Daily Tasks was to dust a section of books. So out I'd go with my feather duster, like Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and run it over a section of books until they looked, well, dusted. One Sunday, a bunch of us met at the library to move the Southwestern Reporter Second from one room in the library to another room in the library. (It was, of course, a law library.) I quickly found out how ineffective my feather duster actually was. The lower shelves were the worst. Behind the facade of being halfway clean, layers of dust stacked up on top of each other like paleolithic eras waiting to give up fossils. That was bad, but it got worse when I pulled out an armful from the lowest shelf and half a dozen silverfish ran up my arm. Thus followed about thirty seconds of shrieking and cursing and dancing around as I tried to get them the fuck off me. That's one of two times I've ever said fuck in front of my boss. May there never be a third.
Anyway. I realize we just started this whole packing-up-for-the-buyers thing, but I'm already heartily sick of it. We've spent entire weekends down there, shoveling through the books and the dust. Once we finish that room (arguing, of course, that we ever do and it's not like the Augean stables or something--rivers being some miles from the house), we need to move on to the living room and the kitchen, and then, I guess, my room, and then--
You know, Joan's room might just be the one we lock the cats in. Not because it's dirty. It's not. (I clean it.) It's just--cluttered. Joan has stacks of things she's in the process of going through, needs to go through or has already gone through but hasn't decided what to do with. She has some boxes and some bags and a couple of bookshelves. There are things peeking out of the closet that are not clothes, and things on the bookshelves that are not books. It looks very homey and lived-in, like a nest. It's just very--cluttered.
Some people are like that. They just like having stuff around. A big room with nothing much in it makes them nervous, agoraphobic even. There are all those shows on TV about hoarders. Joan is not a hoarder. She's a collector. There's a difference. As we've pawed through the library, every third box has gone not to storage but to our local Half Price Books. It would be hard to get a true hoarder to give up that many books. That's 1/3 of the collection. That's a lot of Greek mythology and science fiction and vampire books and home improvement hardbacks. (Not to mention my entire collection of Ms. Magazine back issues. Yes, folks, it's just time to let them go.)
For some reason, I don't remember our move to Dallas going this well, at least as far as the tossing-out of stuff. Of course, there wasn't time. From the day we knew Joan had the job to the day she had to start, we had about 28 days, and that's not a lot of time to sell a house, buy a house, pack up and move. If memory serves, we were just tossing shit into boxes and marking them with colored stickers in hopes that we'd have some vague idea where they came from when we got where we were going. Actually, it worked out pretty well, except for one of the movers falling through the ceiling. I hate it when that happens.
Well, I'm sure we'll both survive and find a new place to live and nothing will explode and somehow it'll all be Fine again. (I'm a recovering Lutheran. When you're a Lutheran, you must make everything Fine at all times. It's in the Bible, right next to recipe for lutefisk.) Meanwhile, if anybody sees my little stuffed Dalai Lama doll, will you pack it with the office supplies, please? I need it for work. No, really. I do.