Posted by: Valerie | August 25, 2010

A Dirty Weekend!

That tweaked your interest, didn’t it? It’s a long time since I had one of those, I can tell you! However I’m afraid it was a dirty weekend in only the most literal sense. I have just done the laundry – and it was really filthy! Rather than a clandestine romantic escape, we were sorting and disposing of garbage. Joe the collector has been collecting around here for about 27 years and he hasn’t thrown a thing away. Then there are all the auction bargains that are stuffed in every corner of the house and his workshop.

 If you read last week’s blog you’ll know that we are contemplating a move and this pushed Joe into renting a skip (“dumpster” here but I like the term “skip”) to be delivered on Monday. So frantic sorting of rubbish from the shop and the basement ensued. Can you imagine that Joe has saved every Sears catalogue that was produced since he arrived in Canada? Old magazines and newspapers.

Our skip - busy day

 Oh, the horror! The horror!

 Fortunately we had some help by co-opting Joe’s son-in-law to help with dragging heavy objects around. Thanks, Howard. Would you believe that afterwards Joe went and inspected what Howard and I had put out from the basement to see what should be reclaimed? So we still have that rotten old exercise bike that is too uncomfortable even to sit upon!

So the day dawned and the monster arrived. It seemed huge and enormously empty. Not for long though. With the help of Jon the skip guy and Nikolai the lad we employ for odd jobs around the yard, it rapidly started to fill. First to be emptied was the rotting old chicken shed which stank of mouse droppings. I stayed outside. Actually I was rather hoping that after they had finished dragging all the carefully stashed old windows and panelling, bedsteads and broken chairs, that they would take an axe to the shed itself and add the debris to the load. Shed still standing.

I have absolutely no doubt that we will be renting that skip at least another couple of times! I guess Joe has to get used to the idea that downsizing is going to require a lot of shedding of extraneous stuff.

It is a measure of the excitement that goes on around here that dealing with junk is the best I have to write about. The “dog days” of August have certainly lived up to their reputation. It’s a big month for birthdays in the family – Joe’s granddaughters are now 15 and growing up, James’ birthday was last week and Joe’s is next week. However we haven’t been present to celebrate the birthdays. I shall have to do something for Joe, even it’s just to cook something special. We had a tradition when I was growing up that the birthday girl or boy got to choose what was for dinner that day and I carried it on with my kids. I’ve never asked them if they do it too. Anna and her family have been in Puglia in Italy for most of the month. No postcard yet, or email either, but young Rebecca (13) has been making entries on Facebook. I believe they are in London right now prior to coming home. No email from Anna is, I hope, a good sign. She was concerned that her new employers were expecting her to take her laptop on holiday. She seems to have joined a company that expects long, long hours and total commitment. Knowing my daughter she will work herself to the bone. No half measures there.

My daughter Anna

Our Alberta vacation seems a long time ago but Joe has already started planning next year’s trip to Hungary. Another “last trip”. I have been once in 2004 and I will go with him next year on the promise that we will spend a minimum of time sitting around in relatives’ kitchens. It is difficult when one hasn’t a clue what is going on but you feel obliged to smile and nod a lot. Boring too but it still isn’t possible to read a book without seeming rude.

It’s getting late and I am encroaching on my reading-in-bed time which is a treasured half-hour or so before my eyes cross and my dreams start getting mixed up with what I am trying to read even though the print is jumping all over the place.


  1. I remember flicking through Sears catalogues!!!

    How about a first and second trip to New Zealand??

  2. There is nothing like the prospect of selling your house to inspire a real cull.
    I have been doing the same thing, but it has been spread over a longer period than a weekend, having no plans to move, yet. It started with my junk drawer.
    Elastics from the newspaper, a couple of oil paint brushes, tools that belong in the tool drawer. Coloured plastic netting that might be useful, parts of things that have long ago been turfed, a couple of lengths of cord. Such bits and pieces as are no longer identified as belonging to anything, one green crayon. A spoon holder off the stove. The second garage door opener. The list goes on.

    Time to tackle the other kitchen drawers and cupboards. At one time I counted 54 tea towels. For some reason it became a popular gift item for me at one time. I rarely use one since getting a dishwasher, but some are pretty and hang on a cupboard door now and then. Why am I writing this at this time of day? Back to bed.

    • Get rummaging, Betty. It’s so satisfying when you’ve finished. I once read an article on de-cluttering that advised throwing away seven things every week. I think I even did for a short time. Consistency is my nemesis.

  3. Lovely shot of Anna . I remember her well.
    I can sympathise with Joe and him being reluctant to throw anything out.I am off at the weekend to Liverpool for my annual trip to the Beatles Convention.I thought this year I might sell some of the memorabilia I have collected over the years. After wallowing in nostalgia and searching through I find it is too hard to part with any of it! Maybe next year?

    • Have an excellent time! Did you know that John Raiswell was in the same class at Quarrybank as John Lennon? I believe he still dines out on that story.

      • No, I didn,t know about John ,s Beatle claim to fame! I wish I,d known before when I could have bombarded him with questions about my idol.
        I,m off to pack my little bag now for my trip minus any of the vast amount of saleable memorabilia which no doubt my kids will get their hands on some day!

  4. 54 tea towels. Gack. I have lots but not that many. It’s the basement and the clothes that don’t fit that are my nemesis.

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