Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You down with OLP? Yeah, you know me!

What I have come to dub "Operation Longterm Project" is officially underway.

And I feel amazingly good about it -- even though my body is protesting wildly from all the manual labor.

Sometimes my vision gets way ahead of me, so it was nice to put the first phase into action instead of anxiously creating to-do lists in my head. More than once over the last few days, my thoughts have kept me staring at the ceiling long after the two sleeping bodies next to me have settled into rhythmic breathing patterns. And, twice, I even suffered through toxic Toby farts -- something I'd much prefer to do subconsciously.

The first step was to clean out our third floor to give me a work space, and let me tell you, that was no easy feat. At one time, we had envisioned turning the main room into Jerry's man cave -- even set up his poker and Foosball tables -- then we considered a play area or even our master bedroom.

But all of that came to a halt when the space turned into a glorified dumping grounds for baby crap as soon as Allison outgrew everything. Pretty soon it was clogged with a bassinet, a swing, a Bumbo, a Boppy, my breast pump, bottles, pacifiers, toys and mountains of clothes. Not to mention the futon, coffee table and random chairs from apartments past and anything else we didn't have an immediate use for.

Before we knew it, my once organized system for storing holiday decorations turned into a gigantic disaster because what was the point? Just shove it anywhere. Nudge that box aside. Shove that other thing over there. Wedge it ... just a little further ... Good.

I had plans to clean out the third floor sometime this spring and have a yard sale, but Operation Longterm Project got me moving a little more quickly than I otherwise would have. And it was a good thing because if someone had crammed in one more box, I wouldn't have any space to move things around. Imagine those one-dimensional games that you have to slide the squares around to form a picture, only my attic wouldn't have had an empty square.

I started with the smaller of the two rooms, which was mostly filled with junk left behind by the former homeowners. There were random pieces of '70s linoleum, yards and yards of lacy window drapes, a lamp base that was so big it probably has its own gravitational force and some sort of strange mixing contraption. Perhaps a torture device. Oh yeah, and lots and lots of dust.

Cleaning that half of the space took almost an entire day, but by the time I was done, I felt accomplished. Jerry helped cart down the garbage, and pretty soon I was able to sort through all of our stuff and put it in our newly reclaimed room.

But that presented a whole new set of challenges. I had no idea how much shit I've been carting around with me since I graduated from high school. Like a poster of ballet slippers I had on my wall when I was 12. Why would I keep such a thing, you ask? Because I'm stupid. I'm a stupid sap who can't bear to part with something that creates even an inkling of nostalgia.

In my defense, the ballet slipper poster was behind a few others. So it wasn't like I was intentionally keeping it. The poster just happened to be there, so why create extra hardship on my garbage can when I could just leave well enough alone?

I also found sorority T-shirts, my sweet mood-setting college lava lamp, tons of old craft projects and a collection of celestial items so vast that all I would need was a little incense to open a hippie shop.

Then I found the incense.

God, I was such a shit.

Then, moving right along in my boxes o' crap timeline, I discovered enough newspapers to fill a recycle bin up to my boobs. Which I did.

Apparently I thought it vastly important to save every story that ever had my byline. Like that one about the crow problem being debated at city hall nearly a decade ago. Or how gas prices hit $2 a gallon for the first time and everyone was complaining about it.

Then I got to a pile of pages I designed. It's a good thing I saved the one outlining children's costume options for Halloween. Because cartoon characters like Buzz Lightyear never go out of style.

Eventually, I came to a few worth saving. Like the Q&A article with Jerry on the day we met. And a few opinion pieces I wrote that had me laughing so hard, I had to run for the bathroom. Lets just say my thoughts on kids have changed vastly in five years.

In the end, Jerry helped me haul out a pile of trash to the curb that was so high, I thought it should come with a plate of brownies. Mostly because our garbage men would deserve a treat for heaving so much into the back of a truck, but also because I was afraid they would reject some of it. And, well, a little bribery never hurt.

Now I have a big open space for my big ideas.

Only 9,999 things to go.


gorakagaz said...

There's nothing like the refreshing optimism of embarking on a new, big project that you've been thinking about for a long time. Here's to hoping you don't run out of steam! And if you ever do, you should come back and read this post. Good luck! I hope you'll give us more details =]

Timberly said...

Yay on getting started. That's half the battle!

the_plainsman said...

LOL, Look what turned up on google ads next to your graphs!

Trash & Rubbish Removal
Dumpsters Call xxx xxx xxxx

When you showed you home to us years back, I always wondered how big that third floor space was. Two Rooms!

I'm glad you saved some of your archives, otherwise, decades from now your biographers are would have a tough time researching Kelly's early words!

But a good feeling to toss out the trash, especially someone else's too, and step one towards OLP!

Ray said...

It's funny how when you're throwing old stuff out and finding things along the way that you haven't seen in a long time, how you can't help but reminisce. It's impossible not to. And also hard not to have sentimental attachments to things that you don't necessarily need but, can't bear to throw away.

I'd LOVE to see that newspaper article on your Q&A with Jerry the first day that you met. So great that you kept that to show Alli. ;o)

On another note: I cannot wait to finally found out about this big project of yours!

Fit Mama said...

I love that you compared this to that little sliding-block game. Definitely gave me an awesome visual! Way to get on the ball, can you send me some of your motivation? We've lived in our house for 3 years and aren't even entirely unpacked.

Kristin said...

Good for youu!


Erica said...

Good luck!

aj said...

I'm DYING to know.

Jaclyn said...

While it's CRUEL to taunt us by not naming OLP, I'm glad you've started putting your plan into action.

Good luck!!!