Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Late summer cleaning

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a stasher; I'm dreadfully disorganised, and tend to keep things in piles, plus I'm an impulsive spender, so if I come across extra cash, I'll stash it. My home office filing system could only be described as a 'deep litter' method, akin to a forest floor, and the last year, since the focus of my work has shifted to my studio, everything has just got deeper and messier.

Well. I was meant to teach all last week, but the workshop in question fell through due to lack of many things, from institutional organisation to a quorum of students (I'm going to try again in June and call it a Winter School), so I suddenly found myself with a week up my sleeve.

I could have dashed down the coast for some R&R, or I could have spent the week printing and catching up on my commitments, but I decided to pretend I'm moving house and clean a whole lot of stuff up. To make it real, really real, I got out my credit card and hired a 4m skip for a week, thus giving myself a proper deadline and a big space to fill with crap.

The skip company delivered the skip exactly where I wanted it: a straight walk from the back door, but behind a large bush so that it was, if not exactly hidden, at least not obvious from the street. I didn't want my neighbourhood to use the skip for me (it's happened before). It was an open skip, as I needed to spend a whack more money if I wanted a lidded one.

And then the sky opened up. More rain than we've seen in years. It rained and rained and rained and I tried to peg a tarp over the skip but then it rained and rained and rained, and finally I thought 'f*ck it' and let everything get sodden. One of the appeals of the skip company was that they sift through your discards and send things to various agencies: recycling, tip shop, etc. But it came to a point where I knew that everything I was chucking was just becoming landfill. It rained so hard, at one point I thought the skip was going to be a swimming pool.

Oh well. We put on our heavy wet weather jackets and trudged between the house and the skip, the shed and the skip, the garage and the skip. We pulled open a rotting old cupboard in the garage, full of old art materials and textiles and paper stock that had been shredded by a large rodent. Then we pulled the cupboard apart and found the rodent, dessicated and skeletal. And beside it a chewed packet of rat poison that someone, maybe even myself, had thrown behind the cupboard. I guess it worked.

I threw out years of drafts of books that will never be republished, from back when I was a desktop publisher. Out went old disks, blurry photos, boxes of uni bricks and folders of notes and bad essays (I kept my favorite essays and articles). Weird plastic containers, etching plates that will never be reprinted (yes, I'd used both sides), bags of smelly things and old toys too brittle to pass on to the children I know.

It was brilliant. I found stashes of money so old that I can't remember when I stashed them. Today I bought a dress and had my haircut, using stash money.

I discovered that our spare room has a floor. For two nights we had the airbed up, accommodating friends in a space where they had a choice about whether the cats could be with them (the loungeroom doesn't provide an option). Now the floor is messy again, but it's the final push: putting the things that are staying into plastic boxes to store out in the newly spacious shed, and taking the office furniture out to be replaced with a modest desk (for laptop usage -- I'm picking up my Macbook on friday) and a bed for guests. A *real* spare room!

Next week uni starts, and this weekend I'll be learning how to marble paper, but sometime after my work schedule settles, I'll be ebaying all the stuff that needs to go: my old computer, the screen, my roller blades (only used twice!), etc etc. Which may go some way to replenishing my sessional-break-starved bank account. I hope.

In other news, Bumblebee is still loving high school, apart from the vaccination he had yesterday when he swears the nurse hit his armbone (he doesn't have much flesh). Next week, CAMP! Fun for him, and a rare free few weekdays for us. No timetable fretting. Bliss! We went to his year 7 class tour last night and met all his teachers. I like his science teacher as much as he does. He's started youth theatre tonight, which should make his happiness complete. Ooh, look at the time. Have to go, time to pick him up.


Susan L (lily40au) said...

A purge ... how I long for a purge, but I just can't bear to part with anything!

dinahmow said...

I live in a jackdaw's nest.
But I MUST have , at the very least, a mini-purge soon or Sara will not get into the spare room. (Also must get The Man to re-hang rain-swollen door or cats will torment her.)

dogpossum said...

Just saw this and thought you might like it:

Ampersand Duck said...

Oh! oh! OH!
They are so beautiful!
Thank you, Dogpossum!

dogpossum said...

Glad you liked it!

naomi said...

Spare bed!

Anonymous said...

I have not been on your site for awhile. But I am very "Annie" proud of you for having your purge.
With your new studio and laptop you are having quite a life change.
I cant wait to get over there and see it all. We arrive in Canberra on the 24th May for the week. Aunty Jan is excited also. I hope we can see a litle bit bumble bee as he will be at school and we wont be there on the weekend. I want to see all I can of your work. I have the plane tickets in front of me. Aunty Jan and I doing the round trip from Sydney, Blue Mountains to Bathurst for a wedding then down to you and then up to Sydney Yes! to stay at the Mary MacKillip village for three days bliss! then move over to the centre of Sydney to a hotel with views 2 blocks from the big, is Queens building shopping centre and fly home broke! Love Aunty Lou