09 June, 2002

Cleaning day

I should probably write something about my weekend.

My weekend actually started two weeks ago, when I learned that my grandmother had died. Incredibly sad for me and my family, but not completely unexpected. She was nearly 95! Everyone should be so lucky to live so long.

The real adventure, though, started this week, as my father and his siblings began the process of cleaning out their parents' house. Now, the thing is, looking at it, you wouldn't think it's a terribly big house. However, you'd be wrong. Four real bedrooms, two and one-half baths. Kitchen (very tiny). Various other rooms. But it's not so much that there are a bunch of rooms. It's that my grandfather was the king of storing things.

Books. Records. Stereos. Cameras. Paintings. Papers.

Junk!

It's truly staggering if you could actually see an inventory for that house. And while most of this seems somewhat useful, it's not. I mean, books and records are definitely good things. They bring joy, amusement, thinking and whatnot into our lives. But try wrapping your brain around the concept of 10000 books. Now trying wrapping your brain around the idea of reading all of those books. In fact, I'm not quite certain how many books are/were in that house. Frankly, 10k seems like a low-ball sort of number. But grandpa loved to read, and he loved to buy books. Of all kinds. In all conditions. On all subjects. There are probably libraries out there that would salivate at the idea of getting all those books, because they would potentially double their collection.

I drove down to the house to offer whatever help I could. Which basically meant I got to do grunt work. I spent most of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning filling boxes from the liquor store full of books. If you figure, on average, maybe 20 books in a box, and I packed up probably 40-45 boxes, that's nearly 900 books right there. And hardly a dent. Oif! Then I got to move all of those boxes into my dad's truck. Nothing like spending an almost-hot Saturday afternoon getting sweaty and moving boxes around. Let me tell you.

And the records. Oh, so many records. Odds are, you could name any particular type of music, and grandpa could find you a record in that genre somewhere in the house. I myself left the house with a rather large haul of some extremely eclectic early-electronic music. My dad, who had already gone through the bulk of the records to find the "valuable" ones, decided that this group was basically worthless. All the better for me, I guess. But lots of moog (find website) recordings, as well as some experimental stuff, like musique concrete, which really is stretching the term music, and becomes more like a form of audio art. Hey, I like some weird stuff, y'know?

Aside from the records, I made a pretty good haul. (If you'll pardon the language. It does sound a bit tacky describing it that way, but hey *shrug* That's just how I am.) Small stack of books (a nice Latin-English dictionary, Vonnegut's Galapagos, Kafka's Metamorphosis), a chinese-checkers set, more speakers (yay B&O) and various knick-knacks. Of all the nice things in that place, I of course leave with the junk. I definitely inherited something from grandfather. After everything is settled, I'll actually get some decent stuff like a bed and some book cases (which I desperately need), and hopefully some nice artwork to decorate the apartment I will be moving in to at the end of the year. But we'll see how that ends up working out.

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