March 02, 2005
For once in my life I’d like to think that I’m ahead of the curve.
Earlier this week Mrs. Sixfootzero decided to do some early Spring cleaning in the study that we share at home during her down time between contracts. Years of neglect on my part have turned it into something of a museum of obsolete technology – sound cards from old computers, CD ROM drives that I’ve salvaged, memory sticks that don’t fit any “running” computer in a five county area, film cameras (lots of film cameras). You need a 4800 baud modem? I can set you up with one. Hell, I could probably dig up a 1200 baud one in a pinch.
Anyway, the Mrs. cleaned up her half of the study and noted a line running about halfway through the room – sort of a Maginot Line against clutter (and just about as effective). One side was order out of chaos; the other was… Well it reminded me of the last flea market that I shopped at. And she had these words of admonishment for me, “Don’t even think of messing up my side.”
It was time to get to work.
I’ve never thrown away anything resembling a financial statement. It was one of those early lessons in my marriage to a tax accountant that I took to heart. That and the philosophy that if you’re ever stuck for a gift idea for your mate, jewelry works well in a pinch. Denise has moderated her view over the years but neglected to enlighten me. So the first task was going through years of bank, 401(k) and brokerage statements. It was painful to let go, but I did my part for the team. Denise did her part also and probably will develop tendonitis from running the shredder all night. The new rule here is that Mark gets to keep one year of bank statements but only the year-end summary from the brokerage.
Next was my collection of computer pieces parts. It really hurt to consider throwing them away since most of the equipment still worked. The fact that I’d never use it again myself and that all of the charitable organizations that we donate to wouldn’t take it was beside the point – I’m a computer geek and it pains me to throw away hardware. It’s not quite on the order of having the vet put your dog down, but it is close. So I started going through boxes of old components to sort out what would be saved and what would be discarded. Hours were profitably spent sorting items into the "junk" and "stuff" piles. Denise had purchased one of those baskets-- the type that you use at the grocery store when you only have a few items to purchase. I made note of the fact that she only purchased one and felt that there was an unstated edict that all of the "stuff" had to fit into that one little basket.
It was during the sorting phase that I discovered a nasty infestation of Lepus Granulus Domestica – the Common Dust Bunny. They were everywhere and in everything. The last time I saw an infestation this bad was when I opened the case on my computer to replace a hard drive. 24 hours later and I’m still not sure that my sinuses have recovered.
The good news is that we can ingress and egress in diagonal lines instead of the right angles and series of oblique moves that we used to tread to navigate the study. The Mrs. is happy – always a delightful condition around here. The best part is that Spring has not yet sprung and I've already accomplished a major portion of my cleaning.
However there’s trouble brewing on the horizon… “What are we going to do with all of those books you own?”