I’ve got several hundred CDs spread across my office in the process of being sorted, because a week or so ago we had the carpets cleaned.
No, wait. Hear me out. It makes sense. Or at least there’s a clear thread of causality, which is often all you get in this world. Especially these days.
A week ago Wednesday, Kim informed me that the carpets were being cleaned that Friday morning.
On the one hand, it probably needed to be done – we usually try to do that about once a year and last year somehow got away from us. We have a bumbling little robot that vacuums them whenever we set it to work or nudge it by accident when walking by or even think too hard about it even in a derogatory way, but apparently this is not the same.
On the other hand, this gave me exactly one evening to get my office cleaned up enough for the cleaners to have access to the carpet. My office is full. There are books piled up pretty much everywhere, there are other piles of paper waiting to be sorted, and there are at least two long-term projects in boxes waiting for me to have the time to focus on them. All of this had to get moved into a non-carpeted room (i.e. the dining room) along with everything from the living room as well.
So we had basically no meaningful access to anything on the first floor of our home outside of the kitchen, but hey – it’s just for a day, right?
This is when Kim suggested painting the living room.
I’m not sure why it needed to be painted. It’s been the same inoffensive off-white since we moved in a hundred years ago and I’ve been happily not noticing it ever since. But apparently it needed to be painted and it needed to be painted immediately since all the furniture had already been moved.
Meanwhile I’ve got my advising job, my online class, and three major work projects to try to complete in the near term, Kim is up to her ears in her various jobs – including spending that following weekend in lab for a summer class – and the girls are both now gainfully employed at my old museum, keeping up the family interest in the place. So nobody had any time to do this.
Kim and Tabitha came back from the store on Monday night with all kinds of paint, and then suddenly we were painting in between all the other things we had to do. This took until Thursday, but now the living room has three walls that are a kind of flowerpot brown and one that’s light blue. I am given to understand by people much hipper than I that this color combination is featured in a video game called Portal, so perhaps we’re just being cultural these days.
I got my office put back together this past Wednesday, but because of the painting project it took me until Friday to reclaim the living room and dining room. It’s all usable space now, which is a relief.
Except that the big IKEA shelf thing that we use for our various entertainment gizmos got edited.
We took down the analogue speakers that we haven’t actually had plugged in since 2009. I took the stereo receiver to the basement, since we live in a dead zone for radio signals anyway. And the giant CD storage unit / shuffler that nobody listens to since music went digital got put away too.
There were a lot of CDs in there. We have a pretty comprehensive collection of popular music from the time before we had kids, back in the 90s and early 2000s. There are some older things, though not many since CDs came later than that, and there are occasional forays deeper into the 21st century as if we were trying to reassure ourselves, against all evidence, that we were still cool. But those peter out pretty quickly. Mostly it’s 90s and early 2000s.
I took all of the CDs out of the shuffler and sorted them into alphabetical piles and I’m putting them all into books where we can access them if we want to. My car, for example, is old enough that you can’t use any Bluetooth devices or streaming services, so if you want to have music in more varieties than Oldies, Country, and Top 40, you need CDs. And perhaps at some point I’ll import the ones I most want into my computer.
The joy of sorting a dead format is that you don’t have to leave room for future growth. You can just put them away.
I’m sure I will hear from all the streaming mp3 Spotify Alexa music people about how this project is both quaint and incomprehensible and that I am wasting my time in this digital age, and that’s okay. I’ve never had a corporation reach into my home and steal back a CD that I paid for, though the same cannot be said for digitally downloaded music. So I’m happy to have the hard copies.
But they are heavy.