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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cleaning Up

I've been on a mad cleaning jag since we got back. Bags and bags of clothing, toys, and nicknacks have been donated and loads of other useless junk trashed. My goal is minimalism, with only one place for necessities (as opposed to looking for pens in either the junk drawer by the phone, the art cabinet in the garage, or among the office supplies in my bedroom closet) and necessities in their logical place.

There has been a big bonus to this reorganization, aside from the peace of mind simpler living brings, and that is the discovery of gift cards. Some of the people I try to reason with before December's holiday asset exchange actually either pay attention to our replies for gift suggestions or out of pure frustration at not knowing what to give shower us with gift cards. And since I despise hanging around in stores, unless there is an online option for purchasing items or a some specific object I need immediately, sometimes I put them away and forget to use them.

Yesterday we treated ourselves to a stop at Einstein Bros. Bagels (a rarity here on the west coast which meant a trip up to Sarasota after Sarabelle's almost-in-Sarasota dental appointment) and stocked up courtesy of an '07 Christmas present. Two old Books-A-Million cards warranted a stop there too.

A funny thing about BAM, and maybe it's less a fault of that corporation than the local store management, or possibly just indicative of the status quo, but there were forty sections of books classified either Christian Living or Bibles versus two sections for Philosophy. The Science and Social Issues shelves were noticeably scanty as well. After much searching I did manage to dig up two books from my wish list, Christopher Hitchen's Thomas Jefferson: Author of America and Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason (which serendipitously opens with Jefferson's quote, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."). Elle, starter of so many chapter books of late including Nancy Drew's The Bungalow Mystery and The Mystery at Lilac Inn; Poppy; Little House in the Big Woods; A Series of Unfortunate Events The Bad Beginning; and many more, found a book she could not put down and will most likely finish, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Not great literature, not a classic, not even close, but I will take what I can get at this point. Sarabelle snagged the latest issue of Vanity Fair, I got my educator's discount card updated and we were off. But not before thoughtfully reorganizing some of the shelves, relocating The Nude Bible from the paltry Art section to its proper place among those other forty sections of Bibles.

On the way home we spied this monstrosity and along with the fistful of play money Sarabelle picked out as a prize for her good behavior at the dentist (at the behest of Elle) we documented life in America for our Aussie friends.


Becky said...

40?? As in "days and nights"? Sheesh.

I haven't read the Hitchens book, I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about it.

Sarabelle is my kind of gal. I love my VF once a month at the supermarket :).

Maureen said...

Nancy Drew! I loved Nancy Drew!
I got my supply from ML & P at Nana's house. We also read The Bobbsey Twins and I remember the books were from the 1930's - probably our mothers'.

L said...

My supply came from you guys, which either means they were recycled from ML & P's or were from the Boston Public Library (your sisters weren't very diligent about returns...)

Reading them with Elle brings back memories of how intensely suspenseful I used to think they were and of the smell of those old books and being curled up somewhere in your house with a whole stack.

I also remember them saving me from the tedium of Dolphin games back in FL...

Maureen said...

I believe it was in 1972 the Boston Public Library had a time when they had a forgiveness program and you could return all of your overdue books without having to pay the fines. My mother rounded up a carload - I'm not kidding - of my lovely sister BA's overdue books. BA would not get out of the car to return them so I took them in with my friend Terry. We went to Roslindale where no one would recognize us and we kept running back and forth with armloads of books. I think BA's picture is on a wanted poster somewhere. I, on the other hand, always brought back my books on time....

I know what you mean by the smell - any time I open an old book with that musty smell I think of Nana's house.