Friday, February 21, 2020

Personal Gas (and Other Oddities--and treasures)

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I confess. I organized my dresser drawers. Probably because I was supposed to be writing, and throwing stuff away seemed easier.

I found money! And a necklace I thought I'd lost. And a bunch of gift cards. And about fifty million pencils and pens. 


But at least I didn't have to tackle the completely impossible task of moving. Ah.  The fabulous Alan Orloff (you know him right? One of the absolutely nicest and most talented authors you will ever ever meet, and his new novel I Know Where You Sleep is unique and wonderful) faced this mind-boggling obstacle--and succeeded.

How? And what did he learn from it? Listen to this. Hilarious.


Personal Gas (and Other Oddities)
 



We’re moving. 

After twenty-eight years living in the same house, my wife and I are moving (I’m NOT retiring, just moving!). We’ve had it with the cold weather and obnoxious traffic of Northern Virginia.

We’ve never really moved before, and we’ve certainly never gone through 28 years’ worth of…stuff (to put it kindly). Our strategy was simple: we’d go room by room together, evaluate each item, and try to agree on its fate. For the most part, it went fine, allowing for differences in communication styles. For instance, when I saw something and said, “It’s going,” I meant that it’s going with us to Florida. When my wife said, “It’s going,” she meant it was going into the trash. As you could imagine, hilarity ensued.

In the end, we decided not to take much with us. Our furniture is old (old, but not old enough to be antiques. Just old enough to be worn out). Our kitchenware is old, too. As is our clothing, and our knick-knacks. Even my golf clubs are old (not quite wooden-shaft old, but old).

So we were pretty ruthless about paring down our belongings. Most of the stuff we donated, a few things we sold, a couple of things we gave as gifts (not the old stuff). We ate all the Thin Mints in the freezer, no matter how old.

Throughout the process, we discovered some interesting things!

A sampling:

  My old bowling ball and spiffy suede bowling shoes (gave the ball away, kept the shoes—maybe they’ll be my new “convention” shoes).

Some truly hideous green and gray pottery we bought from a local artisan about twenty-five years ago (we purchased multiple pieces from this collection). Right now, right here, publicly, I’d like to apologize to the handful of people we gave this pottery to as WEDDING GIFTS! (Did I mention they are hideous?) I have to apologize here, publicly, because those people severed ties with us about twenty-five years ago. I have no idea what we were thinking. I’d post pictures, but I wouldn’t want to cause embarrassment to the artist, if he/she stumbled upon them. (Hideous!!)

A four-foot sword of the Excalibur genre. (My younger son is an actor. Hopefully the sword was for some role of his. I don’t remember for sure.)

 My old sports trophies. I peaked in sixth grade, and it’s been downhill for me ever since.

  A paper mache bear I made in school. It looks like something a third-grader might have made (no offense to third graders!), but I think I was actually in eighth grade. Other things I made and kept for all these years: a sheet metal toolbox, a bookshelf, and a Plexiglas recipe holder. I was good in shop class!

 A science fair-type poster created by my younger son. When he was about eight, he went to a science museum and one of the activities consisted of devising some sort of invention. He came up with a system where people could extract gas for their cars directly out of the ground. The best part? The name. He called it Personal Gas. (I call it hilarious.)

Sifting through twenty-eight years of stuff was exhausting, interesting, cathartic, and emotional, but we managed. Without too many disagreements. For the most part.

And the fate of that paper mache bear?

“It’s going,” we both said simultaneously.

So blog readers, what’s the most interesting or unusual item you’ve found going through old stuff?

HANK: First, I like that papier mache bear, but it probably loses something in the photo translation. I also found a vintage Beatles T-shirt and a note from my Mom. Awww.  So, let's hear it for sorting days! And I love this question, Alan! What have you found, Reds and readers?




     I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP

“I know where you play,” rasps an ominous voice on the phone at Jessica Smith’s gym. “I know where you pray,” whispers the same voice at her church. The police are no help, so Jessica, tired of fleeing and unwilling to be cowed into hiding, turns to her last resort—PI Anderson West. West dives into Jessica’s case, pro bono. With some overzealous help from his loose-cannon sister Carrie, he unearths a horde of suspicious men in Jessica’s life—vindictive ex-beaus, squirrelly coworkers, skittish boyfriend wannabes. But are any twisted enough to terrorize her?



After the stalker breaks into Jessica’s bedroom—I know where you sleep—and she goes missing, West must find her before the stalker does. Or before Jessica tries something foolhardy, like facing up to the tenacious bastard on her own, armed only with a handgun and a prayer.





About Alan

  Alan Orloff’s thriller, PRAY FOR THE INNOCENT, won the 2019 ITW Thriller Award for Best E-Book Original. His debut mystery, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, was an Agatha Award finalist; his story, “Dying in Dokesville,” won a 2019 Derringer Award (“Happy Birthday” was a 2018 finalist); and “Rule Number One” was selected for THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2018. His first PI novel, I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, was released from Down & Out Books this month.

Alan loves cake and arugula, but not together. Never together. www.alanorloff.com

89 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the book, Alan . . . now that I’ve read the blurb, I’m sitting here wondering where Jessica’s gone and who in the world is stalking her . . . I’m definitely looking forward to reading your book.

    As for the moving, we’ve done it a few times, but I’ve blocked most of the process out of my mind . . . it’s probably far too traumatic to remember. Although I have to say, I chuckled and nodded in agreement when you said you ate all the Thin Mints in the freezer!

    The only best part about the process of moving is finding something that’s been lost for a while . . . cards from my Mom or the children come immediately to mind. I’ve saved all those little things the children made in school, and they move right along from one shelf to another shelf to the fireplace mantle because they make me smile. Most interesting find? The lost [and long searched for] microscope the children used to look at moonrocks . . . alas, the slide projector has managed to stay lost no matter how hard we searched for it . . . .

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    1. So funny! How do things hide like that?

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    2. Thanks, Joan! Yeah, it took a lot longer to sift through everything because we kept stopping to reminisce! BTW, were there actual moonrocks with that microscope?? 'Cause I would have kept those...

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    3. The microscope was mine, but I borrowed the moonrocks from NASA . . . .

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  2. I have been in my condo since 2003. I really need to go through stuff and throw things away. But I'm kind of scared and a bit overwhelmed with the idea of even starting that process.

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    1. Yes, it's a terrifying process. In fact, we talked about getting a stranger to go thru the stuff for us, but...

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  3. The last time we moved was almost 32 years ago. I shudder to think what the process of moving would be like at this point, although I've been entertaining some thoughts that I might want to do so. Every once in a while I go through some drawers and cabinets and weed out some items, but I know, even if we don't ever move again, that I need to do some major downsizing of all our "stuff."
    Books remain my biggest challenge to weed. And, I still have several tubs of items I saved from my parents' house over twenty years ago. I'm way too sentimental.

    It's interesting that my daughter, who is married with two daughters, is the exact opposite of me. She goes through a weeding out spree just about every month. I joke with my ten-year-old granddaughter and tell her she better hide what she doesn't want to end up in the donation box. My daughter does not believe in superfluous "stuff." My single son is a bit more like me, although I think he could be whipped into shape by the right significant other. Hahaha!

    I'm thinking the most unusual item I found when trying to sort through things was when going through items from my parents house that I brought home with me. I came across an envelope with my pigtails that had been cut off in the second grade. No, I haven't thrown them out yet. I mean, they've survived for 60 years. Can I really just toss them now? One of my favorite items I found was my Annie Oakley outfit I had at about the same age, or maybe a year or two younger.

    Alan, I admire you and your wife for being able to make this big move and get rid of the superfluous. Congratulations on your new book. It sounds deliciously creepy.

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    1. OK, Kathy, that is a weird decision to have to make. The pigtails. Whoa.
      And having just done it on a grand scale here, I can tell you that getting rid of stuff is amazing! It changes everything in your house, and it is really worthwhile! The Annie Oakley outfit, not sure of that either :-) I so agree, the sentimental stuff is the hardest.

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    2. Thanks, Kathy! Books were also the hardest things to get rid of. I think we donated about 2000 of them to the local libraries.

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    3. Hank, the pigtails are indeed a weird decision. It's not like I can google "Do you keep sixty-year-old detached pigtails or toss them?" Hahaha! Alan, I did just donate around 150 books to a senior citizen care facility, but I could probably work up to 2000 and be so much better off. Kudos to you, Alan, for that major weeding.

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  4. Oh, man, moving is exhausting. Love the Personal Gas, Alan. I hope you kept that. Although a photo is almost as good.

    We just moved after living in the same house for 34 years. There are several boxes of mementos I still need to go through, that I couldn't bear to pitch without a good look at them. Lots of hilarious cards and things from the kids when they were growing up.

    But even worse was clearing out the house used by Steve's dad starting in 1962. (We had it torn down to build the new house in the same spot.) Steve went
    to work with his dad in about 1972, after college, and took over the business in 1979. Years of accumulation, you see, crammed into every nook and cranny of that house, including the basement and attic.

    We found 50 years of correspondence, tons of original artwork, and artifacts and carvings from Africa, the Northwest Territories, and Alaska. I found a brass bed way back under the eaves in the attic, behind umpteen boxes of old magazines and Christmas decorations. There was a fabulous Art Deco dressing table under a pile of old carpet, and, so help me God, a pair of canvas spats from the '30s. There were several sets of beautiful crystal glassware, and an Art Deco dining set with six chairs. My brother-in-law had been using the table as a desk, so it's a mess, but eventually it will get cleaned up to live in our dining room.

    A friend who sells stuff at various events like antique shows took all kinds of stuff to sell for us. Old film reels and canisters, ancient fishing creel, old metal pans, even the original bathroom sink from 1937.

    We still have boxes and boxes of stuff, plus a ton of furniture, that we need to get rid of, but we just ran out of gas on the project. It sure cured me of buying stuff, that's for sure!

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    1. Karen, the canvas spats remind me of my father's lederhosen, one of his many treasures:)

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    2. Dressing table under old carpet? A bed hiding in the attic? Wow, did you have to use any heavy machinery in your excavation?

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    3. We had so many dumpsters, took so many loads to the metal recycler, and donated so much stuff, plus hauled old film to storage, it's astonishing there is anything left, but there IS. My husband has never met a piece of scrap lumber he wasn't convinced he would use someday.

      Hank, it was the bathroom sink! White porcelain with chrome legs. Not very big, but so retro cool.

      I also sold a dozen interior doors, which went mostly to a young woman fixing up a house down the street from the one Steve grew up in, a couple miles away.

      Roberta, lederhosen are really treasures, if they're the heavy leather ones!

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    4. Karen, we have my husband's childhood lederhosen, bought when he family was living in Germany when he was a preschooler. They are a treasure!

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    5. How wonderful.

      My mother-in-law bought a beautiful little Austrian dirndl for my now-35 year-old daughter when she was a toddler. I think we still have it.

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  5. I have moved twice in the past ten years, and still I have so much stuff! I blame this on the fact that at least half the stuff belonged to my late husband, and I found going through it emotionally exhausting. Instead, I talked my nephew into packing it all up and sticking it in a storage unit until I was ready to deal with it. When I moved into my current house I had the space for all that emotional baggage, so it's here, and I peck away at it as I have the time and energy.

    I frequently find what I call "Oh, Honey!" boxes. These are boxes of varying size and origin where he dumped the stuff he couldn't get rid of and promised he'd deal with it later. He's gone, the boxes remain, and now, when I stumble onto one and see what's inside, my usual response is, "Oh, Honey, why on earth did you keep that?" "That" could be old bank statements and credit card bills--from 30 years ago! Or it could be a jumble of letters and photographs that should definitely be kept. Once I opened a battered old shoe box and found his military medals. I never know what will ambush me next.

    Not that he was the only hoarder in the family. I was putting canned goods away when I first moved into this house, and discovered more than one can that had survived both moves. The contents had been past their "use by" date before the first move! I had carted expired canned goods more than 100 miles over five years, and never bothered to check the dates.

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    1. Gigi: I have some of those same expired cans on my pantry shelf. Or did have. I've now moved them into a bag...to be dealt with I'm not sure when... The emotional baggage attached to our stuff is weighty indeed and I wish for you that fond memories outweigh anguish as you sort through all those boxes. Be kind to yourself.

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    2. Wow Gigi, you are a champion for going through all those boxes! But there are too many treasures amongst the trash to risk throwing away. Good luck pecking away!

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    3. Love the "Oh, honey" boxes! When I worked for a large corporation and got transferred, they would hire a moving company that would come and pack up all my stuff for me. One time, as I unpacked in a new location, I discovered that the movers had packed up the contents of a trashcan! (ie, the trash!)

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    4. Oh, that's funny that they moved the trash! Was it at least still in the trash can? Just be glad they didn't pack up that plant on your desk, and allow it to die in transit.

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    5. We also had old utility bills--from 50 years ago. The house was a firetrap, just waiting to go.

      Aren't you glad for recycling? Otherwise, what would you do with all that stuff?

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    6. Oh, Gigi, I have those "Oh, Honey" boxes, too. Ross's law textbooks from 1985. Assorted stuff he jammed into a box when I threatened to get rid of it. I found a box of paid-for bills and junk mail from the early 00s! And then there are the classroom supplies - every summer, he'd pack up worksheets, posters, feltboard figures, etc, etc, all of which he swore he'd take back to school that coming fall. Did he? No. (Most of them have gone to a local homeschooling organization.)

      Usually, however, instead of saying, "Oh, honey..." I exclaim, "Really, Ross? Really?"

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    7. I love "Really, Ross? Really?" Made me laugh out loud. I can totally relate.

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  6. So your son invented fracking, Alan! Brilliant.

    Gosh, "stuff" - I'm terrible at getting rid of it. Unlike Hank, I'd rather write than deal with it! I recently came across my hanko - it's a custom made stamp about a half inch in diameter that is used as a signature in Japan, with red ink. My adult students had it made for me before I left the country - in 1977.

    By the way, Alan, I'm exactly halfway through Pray for the Innocent. It got lost on my kindle and I just found it. Not my usual genre to read and ... I'm loving it!

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    1. You might say he was fracking brilliant. (Or you might not.) It's cool you found that stamp more than 40 years later!

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  7. I'm sure I'd find lots of stuff worth talking about if I went through all the various things in the house. I just haven't done it. While I'm slowly working on paring down the DVD collection and the books from my mother's collection, everything else is just taking up space and I lack the willpower and/or focus to put forth the effort to get fully on board with getting rid of stuff.

    Congratulations on the new book. It does sound extremely intriguing so I'm adding it to my list.

    But I must admit the most impressive part of this post was learning that you somehow managed to hold off eating boxes of Thin Mints long enough to put them into the freezer in the first place. That would never happen in my house.

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    1. A little bit at a time! I didn't have many DVDs, but I got rid of my entire vinyl record collection, about 800 records. As for the Thin Mints, they'd fallen behind something so we didn't know they were there until we cleaned out the freezer!

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    2. Okay, that sounds more realistic. I, too, was thinking - they managed to NOT eat Thin Mints?!?

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  8. i don't think I've found anything momentous in any sorting I've done, but I do love finding a $20 bill in the pocket of a winter jacket when I pull it out from its summer storage place!

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    1. That's a great feeling, isn't it? Found money! We checked the pockets of all the clothing we gave away, but all we found were crumpled up tissues.

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  9. I just remembered— when we moved into this house, 20 years ago? The old owners had left stuff in the basement. Which we never looked at. Until eventually, I thought, why do we have this? And I started going through it and found an entire set of gorgeous Havilland China.

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    1. Nice! Whoever buys our house might find a crafty little bear...

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    2. When Hugh was renovating our house, when he tore out a wall he found a single gorgeous woman's high heel shoe from the thirties or forties, and a pair of pink baby moccasins. All I could think about was the Hemingway micro story. I put all three shoes in a book, of course.

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    3. Oh, Edith, that's wonderful story fodder. So mysterious!

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  10. I have been helping my brother move; recently older nephew found a photo of his dad. "You gotta see this," he exclaimed. Add curly hair and a few pounds and it was like looking at his younger brother. As for my stuff, I've sorted things down to the bare bones, but funny how stuff creeps back in when you aren't looking. Alan, best wishes for the success of your new book. It's creeping me out just thinking about the whispering!

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  11. Thanks, Flora! Going through old pictures was one of the more emotional aspects of cleaning house. So I left most of that to my wife (I'm not real good with emotional stuff.)

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  12. Alan, you're hilarious.

    I found my old high school and college graduation gowns going through the attic. And every letter my grandmother wrote to me when I was in college. I think I kept all of it (well, of course, I kept the letters not sure about the graduation gowns).

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Old letters are SO fascinating! It's amazing how things change over time!

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  13. This is so timely for me— I’m seriously thinking about moving into a newer place but then I look around at how much junk/treasures I would have to go through. . . and I convince myself that here is fine. On the other hand, I partially cleaned out a closet the other day and found a jacket I thought I’d lost so there are advantages to clearing out!

    I Know Where You Sleep sounds like the kind of suspense I like— added it to my list!

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  14. Congratulations on your new release and good luck completing your move! When the water heater leaked all over the finished basement, it soaked our collection of science project show boards. My husband reviewed them in detail, I took photos, and out they went. The science project apparatus, including a working catapult, remains, with a box of beakers and test tubes. This is just the beginning of the purge of 2020...

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    1. Thanks! We found a paper mache baking soda-vinegar volcano! Ah, science!

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    2. I thought I had gotten rid of all the science fair/ display project tri-fold boards, until I went to haul something out of the barn. There was a stash, including not one, not two, but three "State of Maine" themed posterboards. Third grade assignment for all three kinds in turn.

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  15. Love that bear... we've been in the same house for decades and my husband isn't great at throwing out or giving away. I cheered when the chimney in our basement had to be opened up and everything down there got coated with soot. A little throwing-out ensued. I dream of being able to get rid of stuff but I'd have to be rid of my husband first... which is sort of the premise behind MY last book. Alan, the premise of your new book is SO creepy. Right up my alley.

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    1. Thanks, Hallie! I have to admit, I'm a semi-hoarder. Hey, you never know when you might need that, that, thing, right?

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  16. Happy moving, Alan. We have been in our California home for 43 years and the children say “don’t you dare die and leave us with all this stuff!””
    John keeps everything! That’s why I live our Arizona house. No stuff

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    1. Thanks, Rhys! Yeah, we used the "we can't leave all this for the kids" rationale, too. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't!

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  18. The new book sounds delightfully tense.

    We've moved three times in the last 15 years and are contemplating our next - which we say will be the last. It's always a trial. I'm the woman who threw out an unopened box that had been stuffed in the back of a closet on the premise I either didn't need the contents or had replaced it. My husband, on the other hand, still has artifacts from his cub scout days. You see the problem. Turned me into a stealth tosser.

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    1. Thanks, Kait! I love "delightfully tense"! You are impressive, throwing away an unopened box! Wow! "A stealth tosser" Love it!

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  19. How odd that this topic comes up today. I'm dealing with being the primary point person for my neighbor who was admitted to home hospice yesterday, and I'm looking at all the stuff in their home where they've lived for almost fifty years, and one of them is a hoarder. Going to be interesting.

    The best thing I found was a ring that I'd thought was lost. I was moving, and I was cleaning out a huge walking closet. Way in the back, tucked into a corner, was the ring. Needless to say one of the three cats had put it there.

    The most interesting thing we found when we had a complete roof tear off a few years ago. Tucked way up in the rafters, put there when the house was built, were a newspaper, a magazine, and a Sears catalogue, all from 1923. We gently put it all in a plastic bag, added the current Sunday NYT plus the local paper, and tucked it back for someone to find during the next roof tear off.

    Also, when we renovated the kitchen, I tucked a paper in a corner dead space for the next kitchen remodelers to fine.

    I love these little time capsules.

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    1. With all those time capsules, I want to move into your house! Cleaning out is certainly a melancholy experience.

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    2. Ann, you reminded me of an artifact I found in our old, 1939 house. We'd lived there several years before I found a black full slip and a matching pair of panties, stuffed up into a dead corner in the ceiling of the basement.

      My imagination went rampant on that one!!

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    3. Oh Ann... nominating you for sainthood

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    4. Ann, sorry to hear about your neighbor. And I second the nomination...

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  20. I have never found anything special when I moved or helped someone else move. But I had always hoped, when we cleaned out my mother's attic, that my collection of "movie stars" would come to light. Never happened. Not sure when she got rid of them and it is even possible she asked me about them at the time and I said I didn't care. When I was around 9 I would write to TV and movie stars and ask for their picture. I had several nice ones; at least 3 different ones of John Wayne as he was my favorite and I wrote and asked him more than once. I wanted to ask Marilyn Monroe but didn't know how to spell her name. I guess no one understood what I was talking about because I ended up sending my letter to Maryland Monroe, Hollywood, California. I received a very nice picture! Most disappointing to me was the reply I got from Roy Rogers - I had to send in a quarter for each picture I wanted.

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  21. Someone, somewhere, is wondering who the heck Maryland Monroe is, and why there's a framed picture of him or her hanging on the wall! Ha!

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    1. SIgh, true...SO funny! I used to do that, too, and told the movie stars my name was Rita Capri because it sounded cooler than my real name.

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    2. Rita Capri fits you perfectly!

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    3. RIIIIGHT. My mom went crazy when she saw the mail--she came into my room, holding a brown envelope containing photos of someone, and asked: "WHO is Rita Capri?" Typing cannot convey the level of derision in her voice. :-)

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  23. I found two old hand guns years ago while cleaning out my grandparents house after they moved. Old as in the type of guns used in westerns, with the cylinder that held six bullets. They were tuck up on the shelf of Granddad's closet, in heavy plastic bags. I very carefully put them back and called my uncle to remove them. I figured the judge would be able to dispose of them correctly. I doubt either one had been fired, let alone cleaned, in years. I didn't even know if they were loaded, just needed them gone. They were almost as good as finding that Vietnam era grenade while cleaning out my brother's room when he was on hospice.

    Your book sounds intriguing, Alan. Going to add it to my bursting Kindle. I am in awe of your ability to dispose of your vinyl collection.

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  24. Alan, congrats on your book. It sounds, as Kathy Reel so aptly put it, deliciously creepy! And congrats on your move! We've been in our house twenty-five years and I can't even contemplate dealing with all this stuff. I moved my parents/mom five times during the last few years of their lives, and I thing I did enough clearing out and sorting to last ME a lifetime. I'm not a big hoarder, but my husband still has his collection of high school t-shirts, if that tells you anything!

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    1. Debs, I've been here 26 years, and at this point, my plan is to die and leave the problem to my kids. #NoShame

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    2. I’m with you, Julia. Advise the kids to hire one of those estate sale companies, pay them their fee, and split the proceeds

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    3. Thanks, Deborah! It's a daunting task. For what it's worth, I found a t-shirt from Junior High! Still fits, too!

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    4. SO great! I love those old--er, vintage--t-shirts!

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  25. Good for you, Alan! A cool-sounding book and surviving a move. Just this morning as I was looking for something I was thinking about buying my own place, moving what I want, and telling my husband to do what ever he wants with everything else! Aaargh. We do not have a basement in our current house and it is too hot to keep much in the attic. But that doesn't cut down on the junk accumulating. After his parents were gone my husband had to clean out their place. It temporarily reformed him, but not enough to pitch out very much of his own stuff. And this is really evil but when Harvey hit our town I actually half-hoped our storage units flooded so all that junk could be tossed. No such luck.

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    1. Well, I hope a calamity hits your storage unit!

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  26. LOL! "It's going." Hilarious! I like the bear - I vote to keep it! Your book sounds excellent!!! Can't wait to read it.

    I am a thrower outer of the first order. I have zero sentiment for stuff - except the stuff the Hooligans have made for me. Everything else - clothes, tchotchkes, random stuff - gone, baby, gone. We've been here 20 years and it's pretty barren except framed photos, houseplants, and Hub's guitars. Just the way I like it!

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    1. Thanks! We got to where we were pretty ruthless. (And really, how many plastic pot scrapers does one need?)

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    2. Jenn, I think you and my daughter are of the same mind. She doesn't let sentiment interfere at all with her constant weeding of "things," and I know better than to give something to just sit out and look pretty. I can give her candles, but then, they are used and not just taking up space. We have had yearly garage sales for the past ten years, and I have bought back several precious items she's selling. Hahaha!

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  27. 2016 was a year of hell fo me. My parents died within 6 weeks of each other, my father in September and my mother 2 weeks after the hellish election and I had to handle the estate. Cleaning our their 4 bedroom house was going to be a nightmare until my attorney suggested that I have the beneficiaries take what they wanted from the house and then I could call in junk haulers to take the rest to the dump. Made it a lot easier on me. So if you plan on leaving your junk for your child to deal with, be prepared for it to be dumped­čść

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  28. Sorry to hear about that year--sounds awful! I agree, getting junk haulers helped for that last to-the-dump stuff.

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  29. My family moved to this house when I was one. Now retired and still here. After I retired, I did clean out a little but as long as I stay here, I use or might use the stuff. Really hoping I die in the house and leave it to my estate to deal with.

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  30. So hard to part with "stuff." I have put a "Room of Requirement" sign on the extra bedroom, and often can find whatever a younger family member is in need of . . . I did not manage to find the title to the 2002 Prius, however, so I had to order a replacement and wait in order to donate it to public television. The hybrid battery is kaput, and would be about a $5000 repair bill. :-( Parting is hard, so many adventures. My neighbor's friend had a 2010 for sale, so that was as painless as could be, and life goes on. May the move go smoothly. <3

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    1. Thanks! You know, I've always had a lot of misc. stuff. So far, I haven't missed it!

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  31. I loved this thread so much! I read everything and thought about the things I've found that I feel sentimental about. I have a 50's green gravy boat that belonged to my mother that for some reason I can't bear to throw away. But here's the best thing I ever found. I adored my mother-in-law and when she died I was the one who had to go through all her stuff and figure out what to do about it. Many, many stories. Many, many tears. Finally I was done and my husband and I were congratulating ourselves with a glass of wine, when I glanced at a huge cabinet that we were leaving for the new buyers. I noticed that there was something under it. I pulled it out. A sawed-off shotgun! So top that, Reds and readers!

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  32. A sawed-off shotgun! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

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