There's a cardboard box in the living room, filled with photos, and another one with knicknacks from my parents' breakfront that there is no place for in our house. Partly because of Bruce the Bold, our mighty climber of a cat, partly because there is no shelf where we could put them.
There's a huge suitcase, full of photos. Antique albums from my grandmothers, with faces I may never be able to name. Faded photos with inscriptions, some in English, some clearly in Polish, even if Daddy always claimed the family were "Austrian" Jews.
Hatboxes of my Grandma Eda's hats, too small for me, but childhood treasures. There's a delicate concoction of flowers and white netting which may well have been my mother's wedding hat.
Tablecloths from Grandma Esther's holiday tables. Long and lacy, with napkins to match, that have been sitting in my mother's breakfront, unused for going on 30 years.
All this and more is all over my living room. Along with a huge box of the Man's tools, stuff for finishing several kitchen projects, a new ceiling fan he was supposed to put in LAST weekend, and other odds and ends.
And then there are his books. Piled on the floor as it extends into the dining area. Piled on tables. Piled in front of bookcases. Thousands of books he will never read, that pile around him as he sits at the table, using his laptop.
In our bedroom there are more boxes. He's cleared some of the 10 odd that have been blocking his side of the bed, but there's still a pile there. He can't get into his closet because of the things piled in front of it, and because of the bookcase, turned sideways. Full of more books he hasn't used in years and never will.
This doesn't even allow for 10 odd more boxes of slides and photos at my parents house that I need to bring down here to Virginia. They will need to be organized. The slides will need to be scanned and cataloged.
And there's no room for any of it.
My house looks like we are in some stage of moving. My house looks like a college student's house. Actually not--when I lived with friends in college, our house was pretty well organized and the furniture may have been better, and there was wall space for our pictures!
I am drowning in the Man's stuff and my parents' stuff and I desperately want to move into a house where I can toss all his things--and theirs--into a basement and have a living room that looks like a living room. A bedroom that has bookcases, but only a few.
But the housing market and our finances and our attachment to this house are making that unlikely.
And I go on, drowning in all these boxes.