Excavation 2012 – Day #46 – The Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza (part 1)

Long before I was a professional photographer, I was a photo fiend. I’ve always loved photographs. My own. Other people’s. Simple snapshots or gallery worthy. I love holding them, flipping through them, looking at them, studying them, trying to imagine the moments that led up to the one frozen in time, and trying to imagine the moments that came after.

Today, as I headed down to the cellar to see what new treasures I could find and dig through, I came across this dusty old bag…

I don’t remember exactly where the bag came from (could have been one I picked up somewhere, or maybe it was Mom’s), but I had no idea what was in it. Mom brought it to the house several weeks ago, along with the stack of bins and boxes from her basement. Since then, it has been sitting in our basement, quietly waiting its turn. And here’s what I found inside…

I thumbed through the contents of a few of the envelopes, finding all sorts of old photos in no particular order. Knowing that we have several boxes and bins of photos that we have been meaning to get in some sort of order for several years now, I decided it was probably wiser to tackle the project when I was properly prepared. And prepared means finding the photo boxes we purchased nearly four years ago at Ikea, but have still never used.

Brace yourselves, people. Tomorrow, the Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza begins. Until then, I’ll leave you with this…

Proof that, at one time, I was both cute and willing to wear a dress. ūüėȬ†Tune in tomorrow¬†to see what¬†else I dig up.

Excavation 2012 – Day #44 – There’s Something About Mary

So, I’ve had a couple nights where it has been hard getting to sleep this week, and inevitably I have found myself watching reruns of Hoarders. It’s somehow becoming my newest obsession. I can’t help myself. If I’m flipping through channels and see that it’s on, I immediately tune in. And even when I am absolutely mortified by what I see (like the lady named Mary whose hoarding had caused serious structural damage to the house, and who had resorted to sleeping on one small section of her mattress which was covered in cat feces and soaked in urine), I can’t look away. God help me, I can’t look away.

The opening credits of the show say that 3 million people in the US are compulsive hoarders. 3 million. That’s a whooooole lot of hoarding going on people. And even if I am nowhere even close to Mary’s ballpark of hoarding mania, this Excavation project has certainly opened my eyes to some of the more ridiculous things I’ve been holding onto.

Case in point–Cadence’s birth announcements.

For those of you following this blog, you know that Cadence celebrated her 2nd birthday almost 2 weeks ago. Yet, somehow, these announcement postcards have survived two years and two moves, following us from place to place. And honestly, I can’t even tell you what my rationale was to hang onto them this long.¬†Obviously we ordered way too many, but I just couldn’t bring myself to toss them right away.

By the time we were packing to leave Arizona, Cadence was already 10 months old, so it would have been the perfect time to trash them, yet somehow they made it into a box instead of the garbage. I guess maybe I thought I should hang onto them just a little longer, in case we accidentally missed someone when we mailed them out. At this point, that excuse is more than a little moronic.

S0, it’s time to say adios.

I am a birth announcement postcard hoarder no more! Woohoo! I feel so liberated. Onto the next.

Excavation 2012 – Day 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 – What’s Hiding In My Jewelry Box? (part 1)

Now that my daughter has celebrated her 2nd birthday and the annual re-telling of her crazy birth story is behind us for another year, it’s time to get back to work on Excavation 2012. And what better way than to dive right back in with a whole plethora of randomness that I am getting rid of.

I’ve never been the type to wear much jewelry, which is why it is sort of odd that I’ve actually saved my old jewelry box for so many years. Granted, it has been packed away in a box in my parents’ cellar since I left for college in 1998, but I still can’t believe it survived this long.

Well, maybe “survived” isn’t quite accurate, since the door fell off and the glass cracked the minute I pulled it out of the box.

Looks like the whole thing is headed for the trash. But first, let’s have a look at some of the treasures I tucked away over the years…

Ah, Silly Putty! Who doesn’t love silly putty? You can squish it, flatten it, roll it into a ball and bounce it, knead it around in your hands. It’s just hours of mindless fun.

Apparently, it also has a shelf life that is less than 14 years. I took one look at the nasty white stuff growing on my old Silly Putty and threw it straight in the garbage.

Next, I found a bunch of old school photos. Let’s see, there’s me circa 2nd grade (behold the mullet!), some kid I don’t recognize,¬† another kid I don’t recognize, a baby I don’t recognize, me again, a girl named Crystal (aka Cricket for short), and another girl I don’t recognize. Seeing as how these photos have been sitting around since the 80’s, I think it’s time to let them go.

I’m pretty sure that I have worn earrings less than 10 times in my entire life–to proms and Homecoming dances, to my wedding, and for the required 8 weeks after first getting my ears pierced at age 5. For all the years that I haven’t worn earrings, I’m really quite shocked that the holes haven’t grown shut, but they haven’t, which means I can still shove¬†a pair through my ears when necessary. And, if you ask me, it’s never really necessary. So, it’s time for these to go.

Random broken hair clip I wore exactly once to prom…goodbye!

National Physical Fitness Award patch. Yeah, I only scored well enough to get the red one (since I always hated running). Finding this tucked away in my old jewelry box, I immediately had two questions…

1. Why the hell do I still have this?

2. What the hell are you supposed to do with this anyway? I mean, a patch? Really? Was I supposed to sport this on my favorite jean jacket and wear it with pride or what?

Lame, and time to go bye-bye.

And, my random assortment of pins. Everything from Awanas, which I attended for a short time before my family left McCook, NE when I was just 5-years-old, to the 4-H pins I received as a member of the G0-Getters 4-H club in Bird City, Kansas, to my band pin I received at Holdrege High School. I gotta admit, I’m a little torn on what do do with these since a few of them do have some sentimental value so I’ve extended their sentencing for another week to decide if I actually want to keep any of them, or just get rid of the whole lot.

Maybe I need to watch an episode of Hoarders to get myself motivated.

Tune in tomorrow so see what else I found! ūüôā

Excavation 2012 – Day #5 – All Hail the Grill Master!

One of the most exciting things about being a newly engaged couple is beginning to plan your life with your partner. Sure, you’ve had discussions about things like where you want to live and who is in charge of making coffee in the morning and how many kids is too many, but nothing makes your impending nuptials more real than heading out to a store to set up your gift registry.

Ever been in a Bed, Bath and Beyond when an overly excited young couple is given free reign with a barcode scanner? It’s like watching a sudden death laser tag tournament. The best thing you can do is to put on some protective eyewear and hope you make it out alive.

The only thing worse is a pair of new parents-to-be let loose to register in a Babies R Us. If you somehow find yourself standing between a hormonal pregnant woman and the very last designer diaper bag she has been coveting since conception, the best thing to do is just drop to the floor, curl up in the fetal position and pray that she goes for the diaper bag and not your jugular.

Steven and I put quite a bit of thought into our registry when we got engaged. Sure, we had fun running amok with the barcode scanner for the better part of a Saturday afternoon (and for those of you who know Steven, yes, he did pretend that it was a lightsaber), but we also chose our registry items carefully, because we knew that any gifts our family and friends generously gave to us would be things that we would enjoy for years.

One of the items we chose was this awesome set of stainless steel grill accessories.

At the time, all we owned was a cheap little portable gas grill that we bought at the local CVS to use for tailgating at Mets games. We had lofty goals of one day owning a nice, grownup size grill, so we figured a great way to prepare ourselves was to make sure we had some nice accessories.

We ended up getting the accessories as an engagement gift, and a new Traeger wood pellet smoker/grill as a surprise wedding gift.

Woohoo, we hit the jackpot!

Our grill has been well broken in over the years, yet somehow all of our fancy grill accessories got packed away and forgotten during one of our moves, so finding them now was like getting the gift all over again.

Hooray for grilling!

Since we can’t really use the hardcore grill scrubbers on our Traeger, those pieces are going to find a new home via Craigslist or a local online buy/sell/trade group. The rest will be returned to their rightful place alongside our grill, where they will enjoy a long, happy life of barbecuing. Steven is going to look like one sexy beast with these fine pieces of equipment in his hands.

All hail the Grill Master!

Excavation 2012 – Day #3 – Under Lock and Key

Back when I was 8 or 9 years old, I was borderline obsessed with hiding things. Don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t a deceitful child, I’d just read way too many Nancy Drew novels. I had a couple of those little diaries that locked, though I was a little disappointed that the locks usually lasted an average of two weeks before they started to tear right off the cover of the book.

Damn that cheap manufacturer’s glue.

But even if the locks themselves were a joke, I had about a dozen hiding places to stash my most prized possessions. I dreamed of one day owning a house with a safe built in behind a swinging bookcase, or a secret compartment beneath the floorboards. And I loved the idea of a hollowed out book to stash things in, but I could never talk myself into actually defacing a book to make one for myself.

Yeah, I’m the type who will likely have money and other random things stashed all over my house when I get old. It’ll give the kids and grandkids something to keep them busy when I die.

When I was old enough to carry my own suitcase on family vacations, I insisted on getting one that came with a little lock and key attached. In my mind, I fancied myself something of an adolescent secret agent, using my family’s trips to Denver and Dallas and the Black Hills of South Dakota as a cover for my covert investigations. I had no idea what I should be investigating, but by God I wanted to be certain that my suitcase full of sketches and writings and evidence was safe from prying eyes.

Once I hit adulthood, I put many of my covert childish fancies aside, and one of the first to go were the luggage locks. I mean really, why do companies even bother to sell luggage with these cheap little locks attached anyway? Most are about the size of my thumb, and are hardly able to withstand a stiff easterly wind without falling apart. If someone wanted to get into your locked suitcase, it would take them all of 6.5 seconds. I mean, just look at this thing…

These days people can’t even make it through airport security with a red velvet cupcake, let alone a suitcase with a padlock on it. Want to guarantee yourself a strip search and detainment in airport jail? Slap a lock on your bag and refuse to open it at the TSA agents’ request. Go on, I dare you.

This particular little lock and set of keys have been hanging out with Steven and I since we got the luggage as an engagement gift back in 2006.

Over the years we’ve lost one key, both keys, misplaced the lock, found a key, found both keys, packed them all away, moved four times, and finally found all of them in the initial unpacking here at the new house.

Funny thing is, I said right away that we should get rid of them, while Steven argued that they were perfectly good and worked and we should use them on our suitcases the next time we traveled.

Luckily, good sense prevailed. I mean, sure, I would still love to have a hidden safe or a hollowed out book full of cash or Top Secret information. Who doesn’t?¬†But when it comes to these cheap little locks and their their false sense of security, I’m ready to draw the line, and this lock and keys will no longer be cluttering up our house.

Goodbye.