Sunday, March 19, 2006

How could three small people produce so much junk?

Yes, it was a roadtrip weekend as LittleBrother and I headed to the homestead to help pack up Pop. The Old Man called a few weeks ago to announce that he had sold his home and was moving to a condo. LittleBrother and I were summoned home to take anything that we still wanted - otherwise, it was landfill city for all of our childhood artifacts. We did not have much time to act, so it came down to a last weekend before the move do-or-die effort for Team Cupcake. Personally, this was not the way I wanted to spend my weekend, not by a long shot, but I still had a lot of books at home and while I was sure that my father would probably not throw out old family photos or my clothes, I come from a home where a book was considered an excellent way to mop up a spill, and there was no way I was going to let my hardcover collection of Nancy Drew books get torn up for rags.

On Friday night, my brother and I discussed what a bullshit hassle this whole scene was. Going home to help Dad was not a big deal, but neither of us was particularly thrilled that he was selling his small house to move into a smaller, two bedroom condo. "What will we do when we both come home for the holidays?" I asked Pop. Answer: the spare bedroom would have my brother's childhood bedroom set complete with two twin beds in it. Ta-da! Ironically, this was the sleeping situation my brother and I had 18 years ago. I'll give it a shot, but this time around I'm not checking under the eaves for monsters and I will not be reading aloud from 365 Stories About Jesus for Children to LittleBrother, no matter how many times he may ask.

Moving out of this house was really not a big deal for me, since I was 18 and just graduating high school when we moved here, but LittleBrother did spend a lot of time there. Also, my brother is the kind of person who says things like, "I can't believe this is the last time I'm going to stand in this bathroom. I can't believe this is the last time I'm going to stand on this porch. Will you take a photo of me?". Cupcake did not have a lot of patience for this brand of waxing nostalgic, especially since she had been forced to wake up at 7:45am on a Saturday just to get this thing done (Sunday I woke up at 9:00am and walked into the family room to a call of, 'well, look who finally decided to join us!').

The good news is that Team Cupcake really pulled together to knock this one out of the park. The bulk of the work was done in a six-hour push on Saturday when we tackled my room, my brother's room and the dreaded basement. A lot of the work consisted of just pulling things off shelves and throwing them into a giant junk pile in the middle of the cellar. The junk pile grew to be something truly spectacular. Most of it was stuff we hadn't touched since the last time we moved seven years ago. We threw away stuff that Hipsters would kill for- vintage stereo speakers and wall art from the 1970s. We probably could have cleaned up on eBay, but there was no time, I tell you. I got my father to say he would consider hauling of the used books to a women's shelter, but I believe this was a euphamism in the way he told me that my beloved 1988 Chevy Cavalier went to live with another girl who loved it very much. It's actually quite difficult to find a place that will take boxes and boxes of unsolicited used book donations. To my embarassment, the bulk of the books I was dumping were feminist texts and political theory treatises and studies. Glad that phase of my life is over. At least all of the clothes we got rid of will be sent to the Salvation Army.

The biggest miracle of all was that this process was completed over zero fighting about what should stay and what should go and who got what. Some of my things will be moved to the condo, and other things that I wanted are in storage at my brother's place until I can figure out a way to sleep on the ceiling and thereby free up much needed space in my Brooklyn apartment. And yes, if you look closely in the photo below you will see the vegetable crisper drawer from the redrigerator at our old, old house and no, no one knows why we felt compelled to save that for seven years. What can I say? A family is funny thing.


AJWP said...

I love your stories about your dad and brother.

Cupcake said...

Thanks. They are really special guys. You really can't get the full experience of the move unless you've witnessed my father skeptically giving an item the once-over then pronouncing, "Shitcan it."

My brother and I are eagerly awaiting his next move when he tells us that he's selling his condo and he's just going to sublet a shower stall inside another family's home.