Saturday, July 10, 2010

Closing a Chapter

We've been working on purging our house, making more room. We won't be getting a new au pair next year. Our current one departs in October. RocketMom is still working for my firm part-time, about 8-10 hours a week. She's getting a new laptop next week, to facilitate more working at home. We really don't need full-time childcare. Yes, we're home schooling, but the boys are mostly self-directed in that regard. We plan to hire some part-time help to cover the hours Rocket is in the office, some time for her to get away and be herself during the day, and some time at night or weekends to cover for both of us so we can have a date every so often.

We'll be reclaiming one small bedroom once M leaves. We've been listing things on Craigslist and Freecycle: a weight bench; a second mixer, a couple old kitchen cabinets. We're thinking of unloading our piano (the first piece of furniture we bought together), and getting a smaller electronic keyboard. In the dining room there are still two large bookcases covering an entire wall, that hadn't anywhere else to go. They cramp the space, and are less than half used at the moment. Over the years, we've discarded, sold, given away, or donated, on the order of 500-1000 books. One (even larger) bookcase remains upstairs in the hallway, packed to overflowing. I've got a full bookcase at my office with just about everything related to my present vocation. There are also several large filing cabinets with articles and documents, as well as personal materials.

So, I was revisiting a bottom shelf of one of the large dining room book cases, filled with music: scores, xeroxes, handwritten manuscripts. About 60% now rests in a pile a couple feet high or so, to be donated, discarded, sold, or given away. I . am. no. longer... I... I am... I am no longer a singer! at least not professionally, at least not for a career. There I said it. It's done.

That was... difficult! More difficult than what follows, which to you who have been reading is not news: I am no longer an academic... at least not for now... not for the foreseeable future. What need do I have for obscure bits of music, that I don't plan to sing, or write about? None is what I concluded... and so they stand in a stack two feet high, awaiting another residence.


Lilian said...

So, is the next step a change in blog title? ;-) I've been waiting for that one for a long time.

About the piano... well, if your piano is good and relatively small, I would really urge you to keep it. We've had a Yamaha Clavinova for ten years now and it's really good -- BUT -- some of the keys began to stick and while it's very convenient (one can play with headphones so as not to bother other people in the house) and it does feel like the real thing, I don't think I'd trade the whole thing for it. It does take almost as much room as a piano because it has the same length. Of course it's much lighter and easier to move.

In the future I'd like to have a "real" piano in addition to the Clavinova. I have an upright in Brazil in my parents' home that I will never get to use since we aren't moving back.

In any case, it must feel pretty sad to realize that you're closing this chapter of your life. Sigh. Even I, just reading this, feel nostalgic thinking about your pile of "obscure" music.

What Now? said...

When I first left St. Martyr's, and D. and I sold our house and moved to Adventure City, I got rid of scores and scores of academic books, and it felt so liberating to close that chapter of my life. What has been a much slower process is to decide which of the other books I can get rid of; do I hold on to all of the novels I've collected in my years of being an English academic, or at some point do I allow myself to get rid of, e.g., the various Edith Wharton novels that I don't feel inclined to read again and will undoubtedly never teach? And if I were going to teach them, couldn't I get another copy? At the moment, my solution is to get them out of the house and into my classroom (which has wonderful built-in book shelves), and maybe at the end of next year I'll do more weeding out. I do find it satisfying to get rid of things!