Squirrel hair and other debris

Indian summer has started after a few very cold days and nights, including a near frost. Everyone was out in flip-flops, shorts and tank tops and I was happy to follow suit. I ahd asked the girls and their mates to come to help us clear out the attic. We started late and first had to go through the Afghan treasures so we didn’t quite finish the job.

We filled three enormous fisherman’s boxes with paper recyclables such as rejected artwork, books, homework from 9th and 10th grade and miscellaneous artifacts from earlier decades of our family life. The girls made these decisions pretty easily; their father had a harder time.

To compensate for these losses the girls filled their cars with afghan embroidery, Ibrahim’s patchwork sheets, the small stools and tables that are too low for our living room and several books on how to speak Dutch. And then they left stuff with us for safekeeping – something we are trying to avoid but failed at. Now all the empty spaces in our house are filled again with things in transit – a process that seems without ending.

It was lovely to have the girls and Jim around for the day. I get a kick out of watching them having a good time together commenting on each other’s old writing, drawing, stuff that was important a long time ago that now make us laugh. Axel didn’t quite have such a great time because I keep wanting him to throw things out and he can’t.

Axel reminded us to clean the squirrel hair off everything that left the attic. Dog hair in the house, mold in the cellar and squirrel hair in the attic: it is nearly as bad as Kabul.

One of the treasures we found was a wind chime that Axel’s dad brought back from the war. It is a rather naughty wind chime that cleverly combined several male body parts into a bizarre statue that includes a voluptuous woman. We can’t quite hang it outside our home to catch the wind as it would make all our visitors blush. I suggested we bring it to the Antique Road Show when it gets to our neck of the woods – it certainly would create a stir. Some clever statue maker in Italy must have sold a few to the troops stationed there and made a killing.

And then there was Axel’s early artwork, letters from his 8th grade students when he was ill several decades ago, pictures and personal messages from way long ago girlfriends – that’s the problem when you can’t throw things away.

We just scratched the surface of what’s in the barn’s attic and one day I hope we can make our way to the end and open boxes that contain treasures we have forgotten about.
We celebrated the successful disposal of a few cubic yards by not cooking and going out for dinner. It was a lovely day and I am so happy to be home.

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October 2011
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