Some notes from my "roadtrip" to do physical labor in Union, NJ...
The basics: my other grandmother (Dad's mom) is living in a nursing home in New jersey now, and is happier there, so my parents have been cleaning out her house in preparation to sell it. In case I hadn't mentioned this before, I come from a long line of pack rats (anyone who has seen my house won't be surprised at that detail.) Grandma was no exception. My parents told me stories of their first few trips up there, throwing out boxes of receipts from the 1950's, jars full of rubber bands, etc.
This was one of the last trips up there: to clear out the house of the larger furniture, and drag some of it back here in a rented truck. (Incidentally, locals, next time you need a moving truck, call Melvin Motors in Bowie. Great prices!) I wasn't exactly looking forward to 8ish hours in a car with my father, who is, uh, well let's say he's not terribly social. But actually, it turned out fine. I mean, I had to speak really loud in the car the whole time, because he has bad hearing, but I came back with just a sore throat, a couple cuts and bruises, but otherwise fine.
Let me note that while Fritos might seem like a fine and salty breakfast, it's not the best idea, especially when you're starting the day sleep deprived and a little sore from drinking the night before.
And my dad lied to me, but in a good day. He was saying the trip was five hours, one way, but he was figuring in traffic and the like, so the drive took just under four hours each way. Quite a bonus.
The house was relatively empty, but still plenty to go through. There was a lot of stuff I will probably regret not taking. A kids' writing desk from approx. the 30's. A freakin' Electro-Lux vacuum! (It was titanic and scary. Very hard to resist.) In one of the boxes full of old, rusted tools (many of which would have been worth keeping, were they not entirely made of rust at this point) was a wrench. And not just any wrench, but I'm sure it is the original wrench from Clue. Giant, heavy, and keen.
But I was very proud of myself for resisting. Y'see, I could say to myself, I'll take this stuff back to my place, sell it on eBay or whatever, but I just had this vision of *my* grandkids coming to clean out my house and finding the exact same stuff. I can say I will sell it to an antique dealer, or whatever, but I probably would just chuck it in the basement, along with the rest of my belongings, and find it next time I move.
But don't fear, I made sure to get my household some goodies. Most notably, a couch. The blue sinking couch is soon to be gone, and this *awesome* brown plaid *thing* has taken its place. Dare I say, Dona Quixote, you might just enjoy it's seventies-ness. I also got a handful of new silverware, and from the boxes of old, rusted tools, I got an awl and a HATCHET. Which RULES. If you need anything HATCHETED, let me know.
And it was nifty seeing where my dad grew up, and New Jersey diners have cool names (we ate at the Huck Finn Diner, which was across town from the Tom Sawyer) and *extensive* menus of tasty cheap food.
So, the lesson is: it's OK to be a packrat, but know your limits.