Purging Books and Tchotchkes

Since last October, I have been gradually taking over the formal dining room, turning it into my “work space.” Using the wireless laptop in the dining room seemed innocuous: we don’t entertain much, and the clean horizontal service was beckoning me to put junk on it. After the laptop found a cozy place to park, there soon appeared a pair headphones and the heaps of cords and cables to the doodads I plug into my laptop. Eventually the table became home to my biking stuff, unread mail, sourdough starter drying, library books, and recipes.

It’s worse than it looks.

It became a mess, but it was my mess. Whenever we had company over, I’d dump everything on the nearest horizontal surface in the study — which has an interesting geologic layering effect — and as soon as the guests left, the mess would re-appear. (I now see where the kids learn this stuff.)

The sweat-soaked cardboard boxes, food wrappers and burnt-out mattresses finally got to my spouse, because she suggested that we could move her stuff into part of the master bedroom, leaving the entire study to me. (Or maybe this is just how I chose to remember it.) I could move back in and, with the formal living absent of squalor, we could once again invite friends over for dinner.

So, with the yellowjackets otherwise disposed, I have spent a goodly portion of the last week getting my study back into shape. In principle, this was straightforward:

  1. Get rid of a lot of books
  2. Move my spouse’s stuff and computer upstairs on a new bookshelf.
  3. Install a real desk, with drawers, not just a wide-open horizontal surface
  4. Dispose of, sell, hide all the random clutter

Yellowjacket followup

Total body count: 137

Although the exterminator sprayed on Saturday, yellowjackets were still finding their way into our bedroom. All were punch-drunk and easy to kill, but we weren’t too keen on sleeping in the bedroom until we were sure they were gone. (Let’s just say I’m squeamish about bugs crawling in my nose at night, and doubly-so when bugs with stingers are involved.) We slept on an air mattress on the living room floor — it was just like

On Wednesday morning, I left a voice mail with the exterminator.
I was in our bedroom, folding laundry, when I saw a sickly yellowjacket by the baseboard under the window. I waited, hoping it would stumble far enough into the open carpet that I could whack it. Instead, it hobbled along the baseboard to the corner of the room, climbed up, then wriggled into a tiny hole I had previously not noticed. This meant there was a much larger presence inside the wall. (shudder).

Hotter than a master bedroom full of yellow jackets

Last week was our week of “summer,” and in a very bad way. It hit 97°F at my house on Friday, which is a record. Saturday was almost as bad at 95°F. My friends in Texas are probably wondering what the big deal is. Here’s the big deal: we don’t have air conditioning. Fifty weeks of the year, we don’t need it, but last week, sitting around the house this weekend was oh, so unpleasant. When weren’t bitchy, we were lethargic.

By 3pm Friday, I couldn’t take it anymore and suggested we go to an air-conditioned mall, any air-conditioned mall, where we could find something to amuse the kids. Later, we’d find an air-conditioned restaurant. Then, we’d find an air-conditioned bookstore. At some point, we’d run out of money or things to do in air-conditioned environments and would go home. By then, the house should have cooled off.

All your home are belong to
us, Blog Boy!

All worked to plan. When we got home, I put box fans in the bedroom windows to pull in the (now) cooler outside air. In my bedroom, I saw a bee/wasp/hornet — something with a menacing stinger — on the screen. It, too, looked lethargic, so I took my time getting downstairs to find the fly swatter. I killed it. Then I saw another one on the same screen and killed it, too. I walked into the bathroom to give the carcasses a burial at sea when I noticed a dozen dead ones in the tub underneath the bathroom window and a third one buzzing on that screen. Yipe!

Four Sinks for 2004

Another quarter, another plumbing project: replacing all four bathroom sinks because the overflow drains have rusted out. These weren’t that important until my kids reached the magical age where they easily become mesmerized by rapidly flowing water. I can’t come down on them too hard because I want them to wash their hands.