Wednesday, September 30, 2009

penultimate paper pushing

Damn. I thought today would see me filing the last of the papers, but I guess it takes longer to shred 10 years of documents than I originally thought it would, because I am still not done. Granted, we had something of a mini-disaster here when I backed into the garbage can and sent paper dust and shredder leavin's all over myself, the floor, the table, the files, the desk, and the tiny dog. So I spent a good chunk of working time vacuuming that mess.

Which is fine, because at least that experience gave me something exciting to report. The rest of today's project session was terribly terribly boring.

Shredded many car-related documents. I kept receipts for anything more exciting than an oil change and ditched everything else. It's not like the car runs right now anyway.

Agreed with some previous Sub-Project:Papers incarnation of myself and kept most of the school transcripts and letters of recommendation I found. I figure it can't hurt to have those, plus it's good for a girl to read some letters of recommendation when she's feeling a little unsure of herself (ahem). Did you know I scored 1180 on my SAT?

Purged all the bills, receipts, fax cover sheets, physical therapy prescriptions, false diagnoses, and useless reports from my neck injury five years ago. I kept the very important things (like the actual diagnosis and the one where the radiologist suggested I had cancer) and all the worksheets for all the stretches I avoided. The pain of Degenerative Disc Disease sounds far worse than it really is, and I will live with it until I die, but today I feel stronger, lighter, faster, and braver for having come through that entire ordeal in one piece.

I'm gonna go move my body into some yoga poses or jog myself around the living room in celebration now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ouch, free beer, thanks, ouch

Today, the first injury of The Box Blog Project:


What, you can't see it? 

so ouchy!

Thank you so much for your concern. I'm pretty sure I'll live.

Truthfully, I was pretty excited about this step of Sub-Project: Papers, even though it's not very interesting. Going through the old file box and matching the new piles with the old files and then shred-shred-shredding tons of junk is a big part of what this project is about. See how excited I am:

woo! no really, woo!

There's probably only one more day left of this particular Sub-Project. Here's what I discovered today:

  • All the original Ladies in the Park paperwork, which Jess requested for reference a few months ago. Hey Jess, I put them in an envelope with your other envelope and your microscope.
  • My Honorable Discharge certificate from the USAF.
  • Another PS2 manual? What the hell? Didn't I just find one of these yesterday?
  • Rory's UNR graduation announcement. I love that I saved the announcement even though I didn't attend the ceremony. 
  • Printouts of emails from two of my favorite writer friends, Andy Dicus and Mark Bassett. Mark has been missing from me for five years now. I wonder where he went.
  • A coupon for FREE BEER from the Sparky's Carson City opening. I am kicking myself for not using this, trust me:

  • The "Dad" recipes: sausage rice bake, tomato mozzarella salad, marinated mushrooms, and the tortoni I made for the culture fair in grade school.
  • This:
  • bonus points to anyone who knows what I said
  • Day planners from 2002, 2003, and 2005. I was planning to toss these, but then I thought it might be better to add them to the notebooks and other personal writing stuff, at least for now. I can always throw them out later.
  • My stamp collection. I have a stamp collection?!?!? I had forgotten all about these. Star Wars, Winnie the Pooh, and, get this, PRINCESS DIANA. Stoned college kids need chaperons to open their mail, I guess. I wonder if they are worth anything now.
  • Several of The Sister's craft projects from morning latch key which I have RUTHLESSLY thrown away. And feel kind of bad about. Here's a real cute one:


  • One of Randy's open mic sign-up cards, cartoon-style. I still miss him. The bastard.


  • And because that last one was kind of sad, here is a link to Haikus for Jews, by David M. Bader, excerpts of which I also found in this box today.  My favorite is:
Left the door open
for the Prophet Elijah
Now our cat is gone
I also found a file of sentimementalos from 2004 labeled "Etc." Incidentally, sentimementalos is only six syllables, Jess, but you will probably think it's cool that I just added the word to my browser dictionary. Anyway, it was full of writing and cards and ticket stubs and things I have just tossed into the newly appointed "sentimementalos box" for future digging, because The Sister needs a burrito and I'm ready for a break.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Continuing Sub-Project: Papers now that Shredder has recovered, and I've actually gotten all the way to the end of the piles! This doesn't mean I am finished with this Sub-Project, but rather that the next step is to sort through the filing box itself and then file everything useful into it.

During today's excavation, scientists at Box Blog HQ enjoyed:

  • A notebook with nothing except lyrics to Johnny Cash songs, presumably from trying to learn them for the Halloween 2004 Coverup show.
  • Pages and pages of print-outs of advice for independent musicians from people like the founder of CD Baby. On the surface, this seems like a find, but since all the articles are from 2003 or earlier, I have serious doubts about how they would hold up in today's social network-dominated media atmosphere. Not that this current atmosphere is a bad thing! I have many excited thoughts on the subject that aren't really relevant to this project, just like these articles aren't relevant to the current media age.
  • A Polaroid of Eric Foreman, some guy, and a big-ass snake:

  • Tons of Immersion Composition Society stuff, including unopened compilations from other lodges. I suppose I was remiss in my duties as co-head of Urchin Lodge. They would be taking away my fuzzy hat right now if a) I had one and b) we had convened in the past five years. Sometimes I think about starting a new lodge here in Carson City. Then I get distracted by something shiny and forget the thought.
  • Oh wow. Several Passion Party catalogs. Glad I found these before someone else did; going through The Drawer should provide for an interesting project report. Are there places one can donate one's unused unwanted personal items? 
  • My PS2 manual! I don't need it, but finding it makes me happy.
  • This tracing of Emmit's hands, probably from 2005:

  • A postcard, from the Worst Case Scenario series, written to Mike Dineen but never sent. Since I found this near the 2003 Tour Diary, I'm guessing the "thanks" in question refers to that trip, but I guess we'll never know for sure:


  • An envelope labeled stickers y patches, obviously created during my life in San Antonio, containing some incredibly cool shit. Here's a sample:

  • And finally, this example of how a simple gesture and a few simple words can make a girl feel incredibly special and loved. This is what real men are made of:


Sunday, September 27, 2009

i think i killed it

I have been trying to puzzle out what, exactly, might have caused the erratic course of the paperwork timeline, for tonight I unearthed:

  • Unemployment paperwork from my last tour of duty through the battlefields of joblessness in 2007. I'm only a little nervous about the similarities between that time and this one. And to answer your question, yes, this blog is totally made possible by the fact that I have very little to do with the time I used to spend hating my job.
However! Timeline weirdness aside, many entertaining, interesting, funny, or just plain weird items surfaced this evening, including a print-out of this Mike Doughty blog post (2007). If you are a writer, especially of fiction or poems or songs, do yourself a favor and read it, as it is written by one of modern songwriting's great writers discussing one of modern poetry's greatest practitioners, Sekou Sundiata. I think about the advice contained therein often, and like to remind myself that we "owe no allegiance to the facts." You should also watch the video of Sundiata that's posted there and feel inspired to create something. This print-put is getting taped to wall right... now.

One night, about three years ago, The Sister, Jewbles, and I traveled up to South Lake Tahoe to see our friends Broken Salvation play at Whiskey Dick's. Many strange moments occurred that night, as one might expect when one is hanging out post-rock show with fifteen people in a tiny sketchy motel room. This particular evening has come up in conversation several times, in several different environments, lately, but tonight I was reminded of one forgotten aspect: the Bible.

Drunk boys like to destroy things, and they also like to relive their destruction, so no one really bats an eyelash when one of them, say, puts a Bible in a microwave. And turns it on. And then takes it out, steaming from the microwave heat, and starts tearing pages out of it. (Now, I normally try to be culturally sensitive, and respectful of religious things, and I come from a Christian home, so I don't necessarily condone this kind of activity, but I will admit that destruction is fun to watch.)

That night, the drunk destructive boy handed me a page, saying, "This one's for you!"

Check it out (click to enlarge):


Yeah. The Bible hates me. That night was fun anyway. But I guess you should probably stay away from me, because apparently, Proverbs 5: 3-21 says I will destroy your life.

Other weird things I found:

A postcard created in the kids hands-on learning section of the Nevada Museum of Art during the "chair" exhibit.

enjoy my minimalist tendencies

A coupon good for free recording at Sequoia Studios:

what's the expiration date on this, Treb?

One issue of Highlights magazine from August 2007:


I have no idea why I have this, but I'm putting it in the bathroom reading drawer to confuse people anyway.

Oh wait... a vague memory... a hint of an idea... I think The Sister swiped the Higlights from a doctor's office or a daycare center to show me how dramatically Goofus and Gallant have changed since we were kids:

1980: I always thought Goofus looked like Eddie Haskell

2007: how's a kid supposed to tell which one is the bad one?

And, finally, these:

Is it wrong that I'm hungry now? And that I kind of want to make these recipes for fun? At the very least, I think Potato Salad Log deserves a shot. I'm putting these in the recipe cupboard where they belong.

I can only imagine that these recipe cards were either a gift-with-purchase from Archie McPhee or somehow related to Wendy McClure's blog about her experience with some 1974 Weight Watchers' recipe cards. These recipes aren't from Weight Watchers, though, so I don't think she sent them to me, and the link to her old blog is now broken, but if she ever puts it back up again you should read it, because it is pee-your-pants funny.

Tonight's session was cut short because I thought I blew out the motor in the shredder. As I was typing this entry, though, it revved, all by itself, with no humans guiding it or paper inside of it, like it was ready to go again.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

victoria's secret is that she sucks at filing

Things I adore:

  • Sitting down to write and hearing The Sister yell "Hey, do you want to see the world's most pornographic eggplant?"
  • Dedicating an entire Saturday to the Hitchcockathon (Strangers on a Train, Lifeboat, and North by Northwest) with the family.
  • Shredding paper in my paper shredder; seriously, sometimes I kind of want to hug it.

Having a shredder raises some questions, though, like: should I shred my expired Driver's License? I suspect that yes is the correct answer, but I can't bring myself to do it. The new licenses just look so janky and stupid and ugly! Irrational, yes. And the opposite of ruthless. I'm not ready for this.

What I am ready for is the shredding and shredding of useless documents. I'm even shredding some things I saved last week during the great "mom box" excavation, like report cards and CTBS test score reports. What's harder to destroy are things like playbills, notes from friends and family, newspaper clippings, birthday cards. Where do we cross the line from shaking off the baggage of Stuff (capital s) into eradicating all the mementos of a life? Ruthlessness has its price, I suppose.

Or maybe employing ruthlessness in ridding ourselves of unnecessary things leads to a reward instead. Maybe the things we hold have power over us in ways we don't notice. If I chucked everything in these boxes and piles into the garbage, I'd be done in a day. I could live in a van and travel, unfettered, in that manner of books and nomads, beatniks and folk songs. I often wonder: could I survive without the stability and the comforts of home? I can't be the only person who thinks about life on the road and chooses a home instead. Maybe it isn't the loss of security we fear, but the misplacing and erasing of our pasts.

Tonight, I can only whittle away at these bits here, remove a few to the garbage, and save the rest.

Moving along now...

... but still speaking of sentimental mementos (sentimementalos?), permit me to briefly brag about my friend Tamara, who is amazing. Among the scores of cool stuff she does, she also handcrafts birthday cards for people. I found two, one from this year and one from last year. The 2008 edition birthday is R-rated, and I've yet to decide if a parental warning will need to apply to this project, but the 2009 version is completely suitable for family viewing and makes me really really happy:

tokens from Tam-mark, 2009

And in other news, once this Sub-Project is complete, I can't wait to organize my notes from the various political conventions, caucuses, meetings, speeches, classes, groups, and functions I've attended over the last two years. And before you think the shredder is the only appliance deserving of praise, I'm so glad the scanner is a copier, because the CCRCC minutes from the December 2008 meeting are too crumpled to go into a binder when that time comes:

mmm, crumply

Abruptly, I penetrated a new stratum and reached papers from 2007. Or, at least, a mountain of Victoria's Secret receipts from that autumn. Before you get excited, please know that these many many purchases were of the tees-and-tanks-and-lip-gloss variety; turns out the men in my life are weirded out when I introduce lingerie into our interactions, contrary to what Cosmo would have me believe.

And so there I am, home on a Saturday night, contemplating life and romance and trash and trashy outfits, and thinking that I'd like to live in the house with the tree swing and a man who loves me and thinks I'm sexy. Or in a van with a dog and no idea about the next adventure.

What are the chances I'll figure it out by the time these piles are filed?

Friday, September 25, 2009

"make like paper sound"

One day, when I am a real grown-up, I will stop overindulging, and I won't have to spend entire days recovering from one evening's antics. One day. Not today.

Instead, today, I learned that three-and-a-half espresso martinis on an empty stomach is a bad idea. I'm a kinesthetic learner, which means I learn through experience, which means that even things that I understand conceptually to be dumb, I still have to actually do to learn to not ever do again. Huh? Exactly. Brain foggy. Tummy mumbly. Limbs rubbery. It took most of the day, quiet company and his generous coffee run, an egg sandwich, some cold noodles, and hours of Pokemon Puzzle League (N64) to get me even to this semi-coherent state.

So I gave myself a little break, and only started Sub-Project: Papers. And truthfully, here, by "started" I mean "sat on the ground with and stared at and contemplated for 20 minutes."

My plan was to start sifting these papers into piles and shredding things (I do love to shred things), but I got hung up on the first item, which made me want to write more than it made me want to organize. Plus, I really want to get into bed. So let's do this, shall we?

Before and after photos will be available during the after portion of our program, but let me attempt to paint the picture now: credit card bills, ideas scrawled on napkins, flyers from important shows, and tons of miscellaneous mystery sheets are piled into two semi-neat piles. On the very top of the first pile sit my notes from last semester's English 282 experience (wherein I decided "school is bullshit" and decided to drop out) and my notes from a 2007 Property and Casualty Insurance Licensing Course (wherein I became the "smarty pants" who passed the exam on the first try). Items like these pose several problems:

  • I worked really hard to pass the Nevada Insurance Licensing Exam, and I spent hours making flash cards and study guides and learning the difference between the different types of homeowner insurance policies. How can I dispose of the evidence of such hard work?
  • Inevitably, as soon as I shred any paper, I will want to reference it for something. My final paper for English 282 was something of a trainwreck, but I made some good points about media, disease, and the discourse of fear, and I might like to refer to myself or to one of my cited works someday. You know, to win an argument or a bar bet or something
  • So if I keep this junk, how do I store it? In binders on shelves? In boxes (grrr), taking up space in a closet? In a storage unit, because I know just how much "learning" is in these piles?
It's enough to make a girl give in and go to bed and try again tomorrow. A little sobriety ought to help...

p.s. Today's title comes from one of my favorite songs by Red House Painters. Sentimental girl I am, I always think of it when the season changes from summer to fall.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Since I'm having such a busy day, what with the job interview and the central committee meeting and the new freeway finally opening, I only have time to tackle another tiny item on the project list. This brings me to the final of what I have been considering the preliminary tasks: the things that must be done before the serious organization and throwing out of things begins. (At least, it's the final preliminary blue room task. There are some things that must be completed in my bedroom as well, but those things are for other days, when I feel like it.)

So today, I cleaned off my desk. It's not a box, technically, nor was it even covered with boxes, but it was certainly full of piles of weirdness and that qualifies it as a valid project task. Hey, my house, my project, my rules; if you think I'm cheating, please comment. I am nothing if not desiring of accountability here.

This was quick work. With most of the blue room segregated into piles of boxes by type, it's easy to place the photo albums with the photo boxes, the DVDs on the visual media pile, the odds and ends in the odds-and-ends boxes. I had expected this to be a snap, and I'd expected to finish in time to work out and shower before The Sister came home to take me for a ride on the new section of freeway.

Instead, my emotions got the better of me.

Now, I've been wondering what to do with all my old fortune cookie fortunes. I used to tape them to my Simon & Patrick acoustic guitar, but I've rarely played it the past few years, so the fortunes have just been collecting in little piles. During the initial days of the project, (you know, last week) the little piles coalesced into one big pile on my desk. This wouldn't be a big deal, and in fact the majority of the pile went into a ziploc bag and the bag went into an odds-and-ends box and I thought that would be the end of it for now.

Nope. Instead, a thud, a knife to the heart, and a swift twist of the blade, as I found the original whiskey vs wine fortune and its accompanying secret messages. A thud, as I found them. A knife to the heart as I remembered why I took them out of my wallet last April. And a swift twist of the blade as I contemplated their once-intended potential meaning. It would be unfair to disclose their contents here since I am not the one who created them. So instead I'll say this: sometimes, I think I'm the one who blew it. Two years ago. When he gave these to me. And if I did blow it, I don't know that I have the chance to regain what maybe might have been lost.

For several minutes, I was pissed. I wanted to throw stuff off my desk and storm out of the room. Then I wanted to cry. Then I wanted to smoke. And then I realized I wasn't going to have time to finish, process, write, and then do the other things on my to-do list. So I calmed down.

If this all seems a tad over-dramatic, well, that's correct. These are the moments I wanted to avoid when I was avoiding the boxes. There are more of these moments ahead.

For now, though, I'll skip the workout, buy some cigarettes, take a flask with me on the freeway, and smile when I see him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


When a person launches a project such as this one, one may not fully comprehend the concept of every day. I certainly did not, at least, not until tonight. Several days of cleaning culminated in one fun and friendly Tupperware party and then the realization that oh crap! I have to unpack something and write! Even though I have to get to bed so I can wake up early for a job interview! Damn!

Fortunately, I have several "big boxes with little contents" to help me out.

So this was more like I had originally thought this project would be like: one box, one day, one post. Today's box contained fireworks. Illegal fireworks (maybe... I think it might only be illegal to buy or sell fireworks in our county, but not illegal to possess them). Anyway, eight packages of sparklers, a few dozen ground blooms, a good-sized box of l'il dynamites, and one big-ass "torrential" something-or-other have been not nearly taking up all the space in a big office-type bank box, so I moved all but the big-ass one into an empty shoe box (bright blue Converse All-Stars, worn in The Sister's wedding, if you're curious) where they now take up far less space.

I tend to buy fireworks (in Schurz, NV, on the way home from Phoenix or Vegas) that are beyond my capabilities as a lighter of fireworks: ask the terrified people who watched me light a canister as it was still in my hand last New Year's. So this big-ass thing I got and had planned to light on New Year's, then my birthday, then the Fourth of July, but I kept chickening out. I'm partially afraid of blowing myself up, but I think I'm more afraid of getting arrested. So there it sits, now in the top of my closet, waiting for a national holiday to line up with my bravery.

For the curious, here are some after pics of the living room and dining, now 100% box-free:

dining room


living room

Compare these rooms to the same rooms just a few days ago and be amazed. I am.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

this bud's for you

I go back and forth. Today is one of those days when I want to live alone. After cleaning weird grimy gross gunk for eight hours, people are too much to take. So I lock myself up in the blue room and begin Sub-Project: The Bookshelf halfheartedly; will I ever plant myself somewhere I'll also want to plant my books?

Sub-Project: The Bookshelf (Stage One) involves taking things off the shelves. Time will tell what, exactly, goes back onto them. Books? Records? Photo albums? Gear? There's a Sub-Project: Organize Music (Media) in my future, but tonight I just group cds by shape (jewel cases, digipacks, no cases, and so on).

Here's a question for anyone who's ever created a tangible product for sale: what did you do with the hundreds of leftover pieces that didn't sell? In this case, I'm speaking of The Spark EP Sound the Alarm. I decide to toss the burned copies we distributed before the real discs were pressed, along with the spare jackets and inserts. I box the remaining legitimate copies and stare at the box for a while.Then I scratch my head and move on.

In fact, in keeping with the ruthlessness I've promised, I'm tossing lots of cds. Demos from people seeking booking. Stuff people gave me on tour. The Salvation Army's annual Christmas brass album. (Why did I have three copies of this? Why???) If I haven't listened to it by now, I probably won't listen to it later. If I can't sell it or give it away, I'm throwing it in the garbage. And hoping this doesn't mean I'm not a "real" musician.

I am keeping things such as discs marked "jen's mp3s 1-6-05" just to see what they are when I attempt Sub-Project: Organize Data. You know, sometime next year.

In the Venn Diagram of the total project, Data and Music overlap at that magical place, the mix cd, and I find more tonight. Are you the person who gave me Built to Spill, Hot Snakes, Lush, and Wire, along with a mix of things like Boss Hog and the Jesus Lizard? Oh wait! I bet you are Bob-Robert. Bob-Robert, if you are reading this, I ignored these gifts when you gifted them to me, but I am so so so excited to see them now. Thank you.

 Why do I have so many of these? 
Why can't I throw them away?

Whoa. My microscope. A gift (possibly a hand-me-down) from an aunt and uncle, several years before I was old enough to use it. And then, suddenly, I was too old to use it. I've thought about hunting it down and busting it out before, but now that I've found it, I kinda don't want it. Hmm.

Needing space to navigate has become a problem. The closet is occupied, but it is, by no means, organized. Simply tidy. I keep cramming things into it to make room to work, but this strategy has reached the limit of its usefulness. Large items, like my Boss GT-3 guitar effects processor, have no home. Smaller items, like the cassettes I've just unearthed, can't be shelved because the cassette boxes are stored behind something I just crammed into the closet. Grrr.

This is the second time I've found this envelope addressed to Jess in Dominica. The first time I found it, she'd already moved back to the States. She's been to my house at least three times since then. FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL (hey Jess, remember to pick this up next time you're here, ok? It's only Sister stickers and such, but maybe the note inside is cool? Probably not.) 

The other night, Amy found a certificate for "two hours of my time." There's no expiration date on it, so I told her it was still valid. Tonight I find this gem, which proves that a promise from a friend really has no expiration:

she came all the way to Carson City to make good

Once upon a time, way back in the year 2000 or 2001, Eric Foreman and I were drinking at The Zephyr (shocking). We weren't dating at the time, and we were both celibate, so it was pretty funny when he peeled off his beer label, intact, and handed it to me. (You all remember what this means, right? Check out what the kids aren't really doing these days instead.) Anyway, I saved it, and had planned to present him with it on our wedding night:

this bud's for you, eric foreman

It breaks my heart a little to throw it away now, but I know that we weren't meant to be together forever. Besides, it's been almost three years, and we're doing just fine as friends. He's happier, and at least I feel better knowing I'm not making him miserable.

Sub-Project: The Bookshelf (Stage One) complete:

before and after

Monday, September 21, 2009

i'm surprised you got rid of so many

A short day here at the box blog project headquarters, as I'm feeling under the weather and have many non-box tasks to complete before the Tupperware party on Wednesday (yes, that is the impetus behind this insanity, and please shut up now). All today's goals were living room-related, and have since been accomplished:

  • Put yesterday's boxes of Tupperware in blue room closet
  • Move yesterday's boxes of books to corner of blue room
  • Pack rogue Christmas decorations and tree stands
  • Consolidate empty milkcrates and non-cardboard containers in one place
  • Consolidate suitcases and purses in one place
  • Move card table into blue room
  • Break down empty boxes
The stacks of empty boxes around here are surely a sign of boxy insanity, and I thought it time to dispose of the useless offenders. Anything bent or with a weird shape or without a lid saw the business end of my box cutter (a tool I'm rarely allowed to employ) and can now be found in the driveway waiting for Trash Night. I kept anything that had styrofoam inside (like the box for my beloved PS2) and the sturdier models, like bank boxes.

Of course, The Sister has already pilfered two of these boxes and I'm worried I won't have enough. Enough for what, I don't know, but she walked by taunting "I'm surprised you got rid of so many." Have I been too hasty? If we had packing tape, I'd probably be outside right now, rebuilding boxes and freaking out over where I'm going to put them. But no. This project is about "ruthlessly disposing of the unnecessary." Or something.

With all the preliminary box-jockeying out of the way (most of my stuff is now here, in the blue room, with me), I can start on the real meat of the project. I think tomorrow I may begin The Bookshelf.

Would you believe that I've seen nary a box-dwelling spider yet?


Sunday, September 20, 2009

fancy at a party

Oof. What a long, funny day. All dining room boxes have now been moved into the blue room, but to do so involved some tag-team sister action on the "mom boxes." Which is to say we spent the better part of the afternoon looking through elementary school papers.

First, The Sister was inspired to start work on her own box-room-project, to make room for her dining room boxes of crap.

say hello to the internet, Amy

Snippet of conversation you would have overheard, had you been lurking outside our house today:

Amy: The green one is mine; he's the one with the penis.
Jen: The blue one is mine? He's the one with the butthole?
Amy: Yes.
(In response to a query on which Doodle Dinosaur belongs to whom. Don't trust a roomful of dudes alone with your Doodle Dinosaur or you risk an NC-17 rating.)

With two bouncy girls and one tiny chihuahua (rolling his tiny chihuahua balls at us as we passed) roaming the halls with full hands and decreased vision, it's amazing no one was seriously injured. Some things were broken, yes, but no one bled. Our dining room box adventure yielded:

  • One early-80's Cookie Monster costume (the plastic dress / plastic mask combo kind).
  • One newspaper dated January 26, 1987: no indication why we saved it.
  • One giant plastic trunk that holds every sappy, sentimental, boy-related object I've ever owned (1976 - 2000), to be opened and reviewed at a later date.
  • Four folding chairs and one folding step-stool.
  • A bunch of crap that wasn't mine. Woo!
  • Three garbage bags of Tupperware, now semi-neatly packed into two boxes, waiting to be washed and stored. Note to self: remedies for "sticky tupperware" include baking soda paste, bleach water, and oven cleaner.
  • Two boxes of books, mostly of the elf / magic / fantasy variety. It was a phase, ok? But if you've been searching for the collected works of Terry Brooks, I can make you a sweet deal...
  • A box of video tapes, to be consolidated with the other VHS relics at a later date.
  • A pile of mom's writing, letters, cards, and etc. We'll present her with it on Wednesday when we see her. I plan to let her know that she can't start dumping her crap on us until after she's dead. She gets to decide what's worth keeping, though Amy and I are considering stealing and framing the Valentine's Day card she signed "ho(r)ney."
  • And, of course, the aforementioned boxes of elementary school papers, some of which prove that Amy has been a compulsive liar since preschool (we've never gone fishing and she'd never seen snow before 1991). She won't let me scan the incriminating documents, but here are some things of mine I found and enjoyed:

amazingly cool valentine from "Joshua"
featuring the Green Arrow and the Black Canary

the saddest book report ever

no caption can explain this

cigarette ash was the official story.
remember when you could smoke in your kid's classroom?
yeah, me neither.

it's a personal letter from Clifford the Big Red Dog;
aren't you jealous?

a duck hatched in my hand
(it was probably the greatest day of my life)

the scratch-and-sniff sticker still smells like
black licorice 27 years later

I always knew I was cool; here's proof

mating season? wtf?

some things never change
(well, no one calls me Jenna anymore)

I especially enjoyed rifling through all the purple mimeographed pages. Sometimes I tell people that I went to high school before the internet existed, or that I remember life before ranch dressing. But the fact that Xerox technology wasn't yet in effect in my elementary school? Cheers to you, Mrs. Robinson.

However, I wish I had been the middle or youngest child so I would have had less crap to sort and throw away.

And though I feared spiders would assault us at every poke and prod, the only arachnids we encountered today were in the kitchen. And at least two of them were the same spider, crawling back up the drain with his superspider powers just to piss us off.