Monday, July 20, 2009

First Day

I assigned myself to look through papers, of which there was quite a bit, as I was the best judge of what to keep and what to toss. Jeremy operated the one measly little shredder to start making a dent in the boxes of stuff I deemed valuable enough to shred but not to keep. Alix got started on the kitchen, putting anything we thought worth selling in boxes and hurling everything else into the dumpster, including all the old boxes and cans of food, and all the old food out of the refrigerator. In my Mother’s baking cupboard, bags of flour and sugar from before her death rubbed shoulders with crusted baking powder and spices. The kitchen was a grimy mish-mash of survivalism and hand-made Mother’s Day gifts, still hanging on the walls where my Mother had placed them. Her collection of antique and unique bottles were displayed on two shelves, and the top of the refrigerator teetered with old cookie and biscuit tins. A griddle, thick with old grease, rested on top of the defunct stove. Every appliance my mother had bought or been given filled the cupboards, drawers, and some of the countertops. With one finger I sifted through the old muffin cups, plastic pickle picks, and egg cups filling a bottom drawer. Alix was going to be in here for a while.
Steve and Christian started moving furniture, throwing out anything broken or moldy, and began going through the closets, checking clothes and bedding for anything usable. I assigned Theresa to the piles of mementoes I knew I was keeping. She began packing them carefully into plastic containers. She would then move to the family room adjoining the kitchen containing the wall-long closet that served as a hybrid office/pantry for my Dad. Within the dusty louver doors lurked ancient bottles of cleaning and laundry supplies, as well as a few random cans of paint. On the floor sat several large plastic buckets with tight-fitting lids that served as a testament to our family’s brief flirtation with stockpiling food for a potential nuclear war, or cataclysmic stock market crash, or a rare shortage of canned food. The shelves closest to my Dad’s filing cabinet safe were packed full of more papers, bills and the home-made computer that gave out electric shocks when touched. We were off.

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