Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sorting, saving, remembering

In low moments, I fantasize that there are people, women surely, who keep an orderly house. Ask them where THAT THING is, they know. They go right to it. Sigh. I think I started out that way but abandoned ORDER a long time ago. I had too many hands 'helping me,' and face it, baby, I'm a bit scattered. So in my new job, traveling through my house ---  we moved in April 1986 -- to make sense of our accumulated stuff, the challenges keep coming.

The attic in our our home is quite large. It is carpeted. Former owners had used it as a bedroom. My kids found it perfect for a playroom. It is far enough away from our first floor bedroom to be virtually matter what the kiddies were doing -- coloring, painting, building forts, throwing did not disturb us until bruises/blood ensued.

boxes in the dining room
It's been a few years since they played up there. In that time, the attic took on a more traditional role: storage. SOME of us tried to keep it organized. SOME of us 'just crammed random stuff' up there. And now all must be catalogued, evaluated, perused, before anything can find its way into the trash.

and more boxes
So, I knew there were boxes. Most date to 2009 when Mike closed the office. Some are financial records. Quite a few are marked "closed files." All are old, as far as I am concerned and oh, how I'd like to shred. Alas, I have people, legal people, secretarial people, who are getting in my way. Try as I may to find SOMEONE who says, "Yeah, get rid of it," I cannot. There are some magic numbers: files must be kept for 2 years "for malpractice," and 7 years in case the IRS decided to audit my husband's business. REALLY?  YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS??? Yeah, my people are serious. I cannot shred....until about 2016. One glimmer came in the form of advice...if I'd write a letter to each closed file name, I could tell them to come and get the file. But as Mike was a high volume worker, that would be about 250 letters. Uh, no.

My financial guy, bless him, is ever so nervous about my predilection to throw away. He asked, then suggested, then finally ordered me: throw nothing out for one year. Also: nothing is junk mail during this year.  Got it.

Over the years, I had handled much paper at school by reading and then throwing away. I could do this for two reasons. 1) most either had little to do with me or was so obvious, I hadn't needed the paper; and 2) my neighbor Carol, a former librarian, saved if later I found that, whoops, I guess I actually needed that....I could go next door and copy hers.
some caps

This is a habit and I must break it.

I am also continuing to sort. I want to be thinking about how someone, somewhere, might cherish some momento of Mike, some silly little thing that I might think I can get rid of. So, there's a pile a pocket knives, tie sticks, eyeglass cases, ball caps, that I will hold on to for a while.  Then, there are those funny reminders of how my home life was. I have 6 sets of little ramekins....they come in 4s...that you can use for 4 servings of pudding, 4 flans, 4 jellos, 4 custards.  Each set is missing one cup. Most people find they are short of spoons and forks (me, too) but ramekins? I think these were perfect for mixing up stuff in the garage, workshop, or wherever.

missing coasters
And then, here are some coasters, so I could protect my furniture against wet glasses while entertaining and matching. Except, as you can see, two sets of 4 are missing one. And the set of 8 is missing one.

I am not hopeful of finding the errant coasters.

CDs for the taking
Another big task lies ahead. I don't like what I'm about to do to all of these CDs. They filled the couch two-deep when I took them out of various cupboards and cabinets.

Glancing, some are classics: Eric Clapton, Kris Kristopherson, Stevie Ray Vaughn. And some are a bit more specialized, like Blind, One-legged Moses and his Back Porch Band.

Yes, I've thought about this. As much as Mike and I loved each other and shared so much, we did not share our tastes in music or literature. He loved blues guitar and anyone who can make it speak. So, he accumulated a lot of CDs. They may end up in the grey barrel that I place on the curb each Monday.

The stash is a bit smaller only because since I piled these out, two men have dropped by and when I told them to have at it, they did. One commented that "Mike had really good taste." Hm. No accounting.

So, word to your.....self. If you are in the area, drop by. You might go home with some tunes.

The boxes, by the way, have been relocated to a closet at the lake. A nice, dry, unused closet. Safe and sound and out of the way, The dining room table is NOW loaded with the memento stuff, Mike's, mine, and the kids. I will begin that plow-through next week.

As far as this grief thing...I must say that God continues to fill me with absolute joy. Yes. I'm serious and surprised. As I rummage, I find things that I think will make me sad. And then, they fill me with happiness. I laugh. Who knows. I may even find a few stay coasters and wonder how they got THERE???

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