The first major task of my retirement has been the preparation for moving. Not much fun. If I did not believe the task had an end, I would have kept working.
Some people believe we should clean house in Washington every 4 years. I am starting to believe we should take the clean house thing more literally. What did I ever think I was going to do with all of this stuff. I have so much stuff I cannot even find the new stuff. I did find several pairs of pants and some shirts with the tags still on them. Unfortunately, I must have purchased this clothing with I was 30 pounds lighter and Hawaiian shirts were in vogue.
I attempt to play mind games with myself to find some enjoyment as I do what must be done. For example, if I must make a large number of trips into the basement to carry up boxes of this and that, I use my FitBit to note just how many more stairs I have climbed than would be the case on an average day. All of that exercise must be good for something (see previous comment regarding extra weight).
I have also decided that I am discovering many interesting things from my past. I had more interesting experiences than I realized at the time. Digging through my desk, file cabinets, closets or basement is very much like an archeologist digging through the levels of time. The most interesting things are buried deep and give a glimpse into personal history. Some things even require a few minutes thought (which also provides a nice break) in order to remember what some object is and what it was used for.
For example, I found what I eventually determined was a PDA. At first I was puzzled because the object was obviously a technology tool of some type, but it seemed to have no way to connect to the Internet.
Regarding technology, I seem to have collected a large number of phones. I think I have unearthed half a dozen. The number confused me. Why would I collect this number of phones. This is one of those questions requiring an understanding of the history of the period. I decided the number grew because as I purchased a new phone, I learned that if I lost the phone I could use my old phone again and did not have to immediately purchase a new one. This was likely what I thought was a way to get by until the required delay had passed and I could purchase another subsidized phone. Of course, I did not lose any phones and the temporary storage location for the “just in case” phone was buried under additional layers of stuff resulting in the accumulation. I even had a Blackberry at one time. It must have been during one of my tours of duty as an administrator. The Blackberry was buried pretty deep, but I found a Treo in the deepest layer of debris.
Early on, I also seemed to have a fascination with paper. We all made use of paper and probably still have a legal pad around somewhere just in case we might want to use a pen or a pencil. This is not what I mean. I seemed to like specific kinds of paper. For example, I have several reams of what I remember being called engineering graphics paper. It is this peculiar yellow paper with lines going both vertically and horizontally dividing the page into a grid of sort. In addition, every fifth line or so was bolder than the rest. This resulted in kind of box within box pattern. I seemed to like to take notes on this kind of paper and I also seemed to always use a pencil rather than a pen. Perhaps this indicates I lacked confidence and felt I needed to always be prepared to make adjustments.
I found some onion skin (paper). Pretty wimpy looking stuff. This was for making copies when you entered text with a typewriter and needed to generate a second copy using carbon paper. The paper, carbon paper, onion skin sandwich got pretty thick so the onion skin was made thin. It would take too long to explain using a typewriter so I will skip the description. You can Google “typewriter” if you have an interest in history.
I found this other strange pad of paper. It also was ruled both vertically and horizontally with 80 vertical columns. I immediately remembered what this paper was for. My earliest tech experiences involved a mainframe computer and the need to enter data on punch cards. There were a limited number of punch card machines so you had to go to the computer center ready to input your program or data. To prepare, you first entered data on paper so you were ready to focus on data entry when a machine became available.
I gave the data coding paper away to a colleague who thought he might use it. I kept the yellow, engineering graphics paper. There was something nice about writing and sketching on this paper and I might give it a try the next time writing becomes a chore or I am experiencing a writer’s block.