Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Can See the Desktop!

Yesterday was an utterly miserable day here in Northern Virginia - it rained all day (and it's still raining), and the temperature never made it out of the low 50's. That was bad because it kept me from raking up the 9,587 cubic yards of leaves in the yard (and knocked still more off the trees), but it was good because it kept me in the house and gave me an opportunity to tackle a task I've been putting off for a long time.

Remember the story of Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables?

Welcome to the story of Bilbo cleaning out the Cluttered Study.

Yes, I spent the entire day imitating an archaeologist digging through a midden pit, amazed at all the things I found that I'd thought were lost forever. One example is posted on my Facebook page, and reproduced here - one of the first pictures of my first grandchild, and just about my favorite:

Yes, that's my lap that Marcy is lying on, and my thumbs she's demonstrating her grip on. Marcy will be 10 years old next year. Sigh.

I reviewed the contents of unlabeled CDs, Zip disks, and even 3.25-inch floppies. I found old recipes, long lost pictures, archives of personal letters going back many years, and all sorts of other interesting stuff.

I pulled dusty mathoms off the highest shelves of the closet, throwing out most of them.

I pulled file boxes out from under the desk, revealing many years worth of tax files, photographs, academic papers, paid bills, postcards, receipts, and everything else you can imagine.

I swept the desktop clear of piles of newspapers, old magazines, flyers, and other things that I'd been saving to use as blog fodder.

I found the pile of letters from fellow bloggers I've been saving (so far, Amanda is in the lead, with two letters, two cards, and a postcard...I'm saving them all, because once the new baby comes, I rather doubt she'll have the time to write any more...).

I filled two large trash bags with junk of all sorts. The bags are still sitting on my study floor, because I didn't feel like going out into the rain to put them in the garbage bin, but I still have a sense of accomplishment.

I can see (most of) the desktop! I actually have space to open a book, write in a full-sized notebook, and put down my coffee cup without fear that it will fall off a teetering pile of papers. I can see (most of) the floor! I can walk in a straight line from the door to my desk chair without running an obstacle course. Woo-hoo!!

There's still more to do, of course. I have a big box of papers to shred, the two bags of junk to take out, and the vacuum to run. There are also a few more boxes of things lurking under the far back corner of the desk. But it's enough for me to declare victory.

Sometimes, you just take what you can get.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



KKTSews said...

Don't stop now! Anything that isn't really garbage but you can't donate (half used boxes of stuff, used folders or binders) I suggest you dispose of via freecycle. A NOVA friend turned me on to this and I've used it to get rid of several things that were too good to toss, but not of any use for other purposes.

Debbie said...

Bilbo, it's time to move! You wouldn't believe what other treasures you will find and how much can be bagged for the dump. While cleaning house, remember the Domestic Violence Shelters. (they get real busy during the holidays) Those women and children often walk out with just the clothes on their backs and need everything to set up housekeeping. And you can deduct the value of the items as a charitable contribution. So keep cleaning!!!

Bandit said...

Just watching the morning news as I was reading your blog. Looks like the weather is going to slam you againn today.

Mike said...

"I can see (most of) the desktop!"

You dog you! I'm jealous! But I have to admit when reading and seeing the picture a your grandkid, I was thinking, HE FOUND A KID IN HIS STUFF!

Anonymous said...

And I was delighted to discover a new and useful word on your desktop. Both my workshop and my house are full of mathoms (now that I know what they are!). The workshop because you never know when you'll have to plug a leaking natural gas line with that left-handled veeblevetzer you removed from a 1948 Crosley automobile in the year 1954. And the house because foragers (women) never throw anything away.

Thanks for the new word. The English speaking world needs this word to be promulgated throughout the realm. It might even displace the word currently used to describe most "mathoms." In English it is a four letter word starting with "s." For example, upon discovering a lurking mathom, most husbands, say, "Honey, what is this s...?!"

Eminence Grise

KKTSews said...

and here I was thinking that "stuff" is a five letter word. [smacks forehead] I get it.

Leslie David said...

I thought mathom was used in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. I need to go through all my floppies when I get home and either keep, move to a flash or trash.

65 here and sunny although I think colder weather is moving in.

Mal's Team Gherkin said...

It's a never-ending task, is it?

Nice photo - thanks for sharing :)

Amanda said...

I love the feeling at the end of such a huge cleaning day. Sounds like you had lots to enjoy while doing it too so....good on you!