This week was our daughter’s February vacation. Normally, we’d go on one of our adventures for a few days, but instead opted to do some pre-spring cleaning. It’s amazing what three people can accumulate over twenty years. All of the pictures, journals, greeting cards – it was more like “This Is Your Life!” than a typical week off.
It feels good to clean, clearing a room of items that are of less significance now than they once were. Being a person who’s dealt with physical limitations more often than not, it’s never been at the top of my priority list.
I do projects like this in little bursts of productivity. Then it stops. Then it’ll happen again. Like last fall. Our local library had their annual book drive. I’ve missed the donation deadline every year since forever. Not this time! I was determined. So, with a level of nearly-psychotic focus, I went through every bookcase in the apartment. We have quite a few. And most of them were built by me, many years ago.
[Sidebar:My husband and daughter know that I love building things and taking them apart. It’s one of my weird quirks. I’ve disassembled fans to clean them or repair them. Take great joy in deconstructing the faucets in our kitchen and bathroom to mend a leak. It’s the little things.]
Anyway. Over 200+ books later, I gathered all of them into 6 massive Ikea shopping totes. Admittedly, it looked outrageous. After calling for a car service, I loaded the bags, two small luggage carts, and myself into the car and headed for the library. Naturally, after strapping the bags to the carts with bungee cords – yes, it was ridiculous – I realized the carts wouldn’t be balanced. But it couldn’t be helped. So, I plowed ahead. Pushing one cart in front and pulling the other behind me, both carts tipping the entire way up the long and winding ramp. The security footage must be hilarious. I was laughing, which didn’t help my appearance at all.
And, as the universe CLEARLY loves me and constantly strives to prove it, one of my students happened to be walking up the ramp with her mom and little brother, who was riding a scooter. He was trying to pass me. When she and I locked eyes, I did the only thing a person stuck in such an awkward situation could do: I smiled and said hello. That kid must have thought I was just…. who knows? It was seriously embarrassing.
Arriving at the doors of the library, I was near the finish line! I’d made it! But the electric door wouldn’t open. So the security guard walked outside and attempted to fix it. I stood there, with my 6 giant bags, undeterred. Those books would be donated or I’d die trying.
Finally, I walked to the returns desk and began to disassemble my MacGuyver bungee cord situation. One of the librarians approached me and commented on the pristine condition of all of the books, even the children’s titles. I pride myself on taking care of books, being a teacher’s daughter and all. We are readers and love to pass books along to other people. As we were chatting, he then asked how many families had contributed to my massive donation. I was so confused. Then I realized he thought this insane amount of books had come from more than one family. “No,” I said, “this is all from my apartment.” He just said, “Wow, (long pause), well, thank you.” and walked away. But as I put the last book into the bin, I actually said, “I did it!” out loud. Unintentionally. A woman said, “Yes you did!” It was a perfect end to yet another ludicrous situation.
In the course of the clearing out, we rediscovered lots of momentos that brought back happy and bittersweet memories. Certain significant items, long thought to be gone, were here all along.
We’re not done yet, nowhere near. But a dent has been made, and that’s the important thing.
I’d better get back to it, before this round of energy gives way to “let’s take a 6 month break” mode. 😉
Peace & painlessness,