Things I’ve Learned This Morning



Dan and I are doing what we always do when he has vacation: household stuff.  This is why staycation never works for us.  If we want a vacation, we have to go away, even if just to a hotel in town.  Otherwise,either we get into projects, or things break until we do.  So, this time we just decided to move everything around in basement, clear one room at a time and floor it with wood.  (Older son and lovely fiance already did half the great room down there.)  At the end of this — next week — is putting up the amazing library system so I can actually find my research books and actually, you know, write.  I’ve been screaming that I can’t access my tools of the trade.  Well, now I can.

But right now it’s phase one, which means clearing out older son’s office (his dad is TG handling the computers) so that we can floor that, and then we can move stuff from the library there, and then we can… yeah, like that.

Phase one involves finding space in the library.  Which means moving the forty boxes of books that appeared on the floor (from my perspective) when husband and younger son cleared the garage to put younger son’s stuff in when he moved to a smaller apartment a year ago.  Apparently the movers ignored things like “library” and just piled boxes of books in the garage.  What else is new?

Anyway, turns out not all of those forty boxes should be in the library.

For instance did you know that for movers comics and “manuscripts” are the same thing?  I didn’t. But I’ve been enlightened.  Apparently marked up manuscripts, print outs and research notes are all comics.  I confess I never even guessed at this, but now I know, right?

Other things: Apparently I didn’t lose my mind (who knew?) and donate my research books on WWI and the space between the wars.  They’re just in boxes marked (not by me, by the packers) “comics, family room.”

I don’t even understand this as this is the first house we’ve had a family room, we never had comics in the family room (mostly in boys’ rooms, honesty, except for the stack by my bed, which I pilfered from them when ill) and more importantly STUFF LIKE “ELIZABETHAN TASTE” “CHRONICLES OF WORLD WAR I” & “TECHNIQUES OF THE RAPIER” are not now nor have they ever been comics.

But apparently there is a parallel universe in which they are comics for the family room (which has NO bookshelves.)

The brag shelf is more or less marked brag shelf, and oooh, boy, do I have more books to sell.  (In time.  We need a system of organization.)  However I’m 99.9% sure that half the things marked brag shelf were not in the very large cabinet thus marked in the other house.  Why?  Because I’d have to be completely crazy and possibly stoned to put David Drake’s work on my brag shelf.  ALL OF IT.  Maybe they thought I was David Drake?  Or maybe they were going by the rocket on the spine.  (In which case, I know where my John Ringo and Correia hard covers went.)

Other things I’ve found out: I’m a compulsive buyer of research books.  No, seriously.  I thought it was bad my Elizabethan shelf was six feet wide and floor to 14ft distant ceiling. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  Yeah, no.  There are probably another ten boxes of books.  (To be fair I’m including all Tudors and Tudor biographies in this. Because it’s all linked.)

France in the time of the musketeers?  Another half that.  And then…. Well, let’s say it’s a good thing I bought fourteen board feet of library system, 8 feet high.  (Yes, that’s wasting vertical space, and when I have money I’ll have floor to ceiling matching the others built.  But this should hold us for 5 years or so.)

This completely explains say the 10k I used to spend a year on history book club before Amazon.

I probably should ask the help of a power greater than myself, but the first rank of that, for “we need to clear clutter” is husband and he just says “But hon, are you going to write a book set in that time?  You know you like them to be accurate.”

As for Himself up there, He’d probably laugh at me.  He does that A LOT.  (I’m the plucky comic relief.)


So, I just want access to my books, and I’ll be able to finish a bunch of historicals.

The way to that is paved with moving the fricking boxes and laying down floor.

Back to the exercise.

Ah’ll be back.  And if I learn more interesting things, you won’t be able to avoid hearing about them.


144 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned This Morning

  1. “the plucky comic relief”?
    Doesn’t that make you effectively immortal for as long as the series runs?
    (As long as it’s not written by Joss Whedon.)

  2. Well, I packed all my stuff, but I too have found many things in very odd places. I am starting to get too ADD, so I really need to figure out what the heck I am going to do, or nothing is the house is going to be finished. I think kitchen cabinets and a new sink, for the winter indoor project. 8 feet or so of counter, a vent hood, should do to bide the winter.

    1. I’m too ADD too. Several boxes of old Dragon Magazine. A dozen different campaign boxed sets. Most of the old version I books (including the Monster Manual with the Cthulhu mythos in it. Boxes of painted miniatures. Oh, and how many bags of polyhedral dice do I really need?

  3. OK, my soon*-to-be-conceptualized webcomic, whatever it’s going to be about, will be titled “TECHNIQUES OF THE RAPIER.”

    *Soon on geologic or cosmologic timescales.

    1. Probably not a good title in this era when “niggardly” and “snigger” cause palpitations.


      1. Not like an Epee is gentle . I often had dime size welts from where the epee hit body even though I wore a heavy cotton duck fencing jacket and a standard 3 layer plastron on the weapon side (right in my case). Though admittedly better than a 1 1/2 inch hole or long draw cut…

        Amazingly HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) is slowly becoming popular. Which means that reprints of most of the famous fencing manuals and compendiums like Egerton Castles “Schools and Masters of Fencing” are readily available instead of something you have to go to a University Library to find a copy of. It also means that bated Rapiers and Main-gauche can be gotten although I bet they make modern fencing gear look cheap.

  4. “(I’m the plucky comic relief.)”
    It’s important to know who you are.
    I am the straight man/butt of jokes. 🙂

  5. What’s this “library system” you keep referencing? Is it commercially available? (Asking for a friend.)

    1. it was original saunders, but we bought it third hand (there are signs it’s been “adapted” twice. Total crap, and I’m practically resurfacing it before putting it up. BUT it’s the only 14 ft by 8 ft. of shelves I could get for under 1k I’ll post pictures once it’s up.

  6. I have only my office that I’m trying to rearrange and make-nice. First I boxed and labeled all double deep and stacked paperbacks into bank-boxes. Then I moved furniture once the shelves were empty. Then I took absolutely everything out of the closet. At this point I had paths to walk on. Oh wait! And all this after throwing the “guest bed” mattress away (cats!) and taking the bed frame apart. So far I’ve only put back into the closet things that are “keepers” which is five boxes of science fiction paperbacks and a box of “literature and history”, my keepsakes, pictures, and all my craft and gaming stuff.

    I still have stacks of crap nearly to the ceiling and paths to walk around.

    My “friend’s books to keep out” are back on the shelves along with “omg, where do I set this down” stuff that needs to GO.

    And a lot of the stuff that needs to go are books. I’ll admit it. I’ve finally come to the point in my life where I can look at a book and not start twitching at the idea of either tossing it or bringing it to the thrift store. My husband looked cross-eyed at me but some of them are so old and musty and nasty and *useless* that I would feel guilty bringing them to the thrift store. If a book isn’t in good enough shape to give to a thrift store, I refuse to feel guilty because I don’t keep it.

    I do fee *bad* about the box of Hardy Boy books… I may think twice about those and keep them. Maybe I’ll read them! It depends on what I find when I make it down to that box again.

    1. I’ve started to wonder if it wouldn’t make my life better to just pick a square yard of floor and throw everything on it into a garbage bag.

      Especially if that square yard is covers in things I’ve kept for architectural models.

    2. I do fee *bad* about the box of Hardy Boy books…


      First series I read like popcorn was those– had to be the 50s or 60s editions, the teacher had them and once he figured out that I learned the first time he said something, I was turned loose on those while he repeated stuff 500 times to get through to everyone else.

      1. Tom Swift Jr. series is what got me. Drove the school librarian crazy because I went through the entire series like 5 or 6 times signing them out.

        1. Ahh yes. Always wanted Tom’s Sky Queen aircraft. I ate those up in 4th and 5th grade as the full set were available in the public library children’s section as well as middle school library.

    3. > musty and nasty

      We found some that had apparently got wet before we had the roof replaced a while back. By the time we noticed… alas, what were expensive reference books are now more accurately classified as “wood pulp.”

      I’ve been disposing of them in the incinerator I built to get rid of scrap lumber. Oddly, books don’t seem to burn very well. When the fire burns out, there are book-shaped blocks of ash, like book ghosts…

      1. *Shivers* Sort of the opposite of the memorial in Berlin to the burned books. It is empty shelves extending into infinity.

      2. Anyone who believe books burn well has never had to deal with even a magazine in a wood stove. There’s a reason book burning types use accelerants – they need to.

        1. Since Oregon doesn’t take mixed paper for recycling anymore (non-shiny cardboard and glass is pretty much it for the while), when I have to dump magazines, I’ll just get the address page and stick that in the burn basket, and the bulk of the magazine goes to the trash. About once a week, I’ll take the accumulation to the stove in the barn and start a fire. It’s tolerable kindling.

  7. I recognise that feeling of personal inadequacy over finding the ‘right’ book in a pile of reference works. But I have it harder than you because I’m no longer physically able to reach up to highershelves, or climb ino the attic where so many are stored. On the other hand, being a non-fiction writer made it easier to resist buying 90% of the possible ‘essential’ references outside my prferred research period. And some of my reference stash are out of print but greatly sought after – hence valuable, so I’ve warned the family not to accept offfers to ‘just clear the house’ when I pop my clogs.

    1. Love ebooks. Even though I do want to have everything essential on paper – I don’t trust that the e-ones are going to be around permanently – they certainly do make it possible to use money on non-essential hey that kind of sounds interesting reference material. 🙂 Except fiction writer, in the worst scenario “interesting” can turn to essential research material sooner or later, in which case, yep, wants at least something on paper. Bit of a catch-22 there, right?

      1. I have a 20 year supply of one magazine that never was available in ebook format. If I get to a stopping point on my solar project, I’ve done an index of the articles. Scanning them to pdf format, then the mags can go to the mezzanine in the shop/barn.

        I have a smaller collection of another mag, several years of which predate the annual index concept. Urggh.

    2. They’re now reprinting some of the stuff that cost me a mint. Like the book known around the house as “the trout” (Trout is the author’s last name.) When I bought it ten years go it was more expensive than some of our computers.

      1. Sounds like the one semi-recent English-language geology book about Iran. Last I checked, a poor condition copy was going for $1300 or so.

  8. Just remember that your books expand to fill whatever bookcases you have, then spill over onto available tables, chairs, small animals and stray asteroids.

    1. Well, there is one suggestion for using books as part of the decor by, for example, piling them up and using that pile as the sidetable or whatever. Except what if you suddenly want what is under all the other books to read?

    2. When my church remodeled, they bought new bookshelves and gave the old ones away. (Alas, I was renting a room and couldn’t take any myself.) They did not appear to believe me that in the unlikely event one thinks one has too many bookshelves, what has actually happened is that one does not have enough books.

      1. “what has actually happened is that one does not have enough books.”
        Well said.
        I have no empty bookshelves, in any of the 8 rooms that have shelves (no room in the kitchen or bedroom for shelves; we have to bring them in one at a time and take them away againwhen read).

        1. Or electrical outlets.
          Once upon a time, my Dad, a very exacting woodworker, was harassing my cousin about having 12 outlets in his garage, but allowed as how he could use just one or two more himself (our 1950s home had a very small single-car garage in which he managed to fit a table saw, workbench, AND the car, but had only one outlet strung like a Christmas tree with power cords).
          Cuz offered to do the wiring if Dad brought him a plan of where he most needed them.
          A couple of days later, Dad sheepishly brought him a drawing — with 12 outlets marked.

          1. Not sure if it was a certain Uncle or someone else building a new house. Outlets every four feet, most walls. Quite tired of being caught short and needing long extensions.

  9. The U.S. Army likes to issue technical instructions in comic book form. Something about the average reading level being 9th grade iirc.

    Other people’s works on a brag shelf? First thing that popped into my mind was autographed copies from the authors. If I had an autographed copy by RAH, I’d sure have it on a brag shelf. Alas, all I have is a hard cover of “Oath of Fealty” autographed by Dr. Pournelle.

    14 feet of vertical space? Have you considered a motorized rotating shelving system? Sit in your chair, push a button, and the shelves roll up or down to you without your having to do a Vegas act on the high ladder.

    1. RE: US Army.

      I think you’re referring to PS Magazine (a monthly technical bulletin (TB), TB 43–PS–series, according to It was handy for hard to find stock numbers for items like batteries and a quick reminder of handy tips. My training as quartermaster didn’t prepare me to be a mechanic, but I was responsible for doing user-level maintenance on a M35A (with winch) three or four years younger than I was. It’s not as memorable as having the motor sergeant yell at you as you leave the motor pool, but it’s must more pleasant. (It turns out that wheels on those deuce and half’s have to be tightened weekly.)

      Yeah, it probably was Master Sergeant Half-mast who said that a slipping sear on your grenade launcher could cause an accidental discharge, leading the grenadier (or the armourer) to be “unpopular with what’s left of your unit.”

      See also:

    2. The Army gets a lot of heat for that, but current and potential allies or groups we might support speak English.

      1. WTF? “But not all current” somehow became “but current…”

        WordPress [something barada nictu]

      2. I had to do some work on an M35A on the local fire department. I figured that the manuals were well suited to a more-or-less literate 19 year old, but they had the advantage of being well suited to someone who never had to mess with one in his lifetime.

          1. And, not much leg room, and it’s a really good idea to wear hearing protection if you are going some distance. Trips into town to replace tires were an experience.

      1. First ran into them at a hospital that still used the old paper files. Thought it was really cool.

      2. Someday I’m going to write a story where someone gets done in by being crushed in the rolling stacks at [Big University Library]. Or so it seems…

        Yes, there are supposed to be safeguards. No, they don’t always function as advertised. Yes, the stack-levels of the U of OK’s main library are just as creepy as rumor claims.

        1. I’ve seen a variant of that where the Bad Guy delayed pursuit by trapping Goodguy in manually operated shelves. It might have been New Tricks.

          The carousel that big box stores use for carpet and electrical wire might also have some homicidal potential. Big gauge wire is damned heavy, and carpet rolls have some possibilities.

    3. I’d have loved to get Dr. Pournelle to autograph my copy of Mote. Alas, all I managed was to get Tom Clancy and Larry Bond to autograph my copies of Red Storm Rising…and the Harpoon rulebook.

      1. I think bought/have a signed copy of The Gripping Hand (I’m not at home, so am not sure), but Footfall was signed at a book tour by Jerry and Larry. That’s one of my cold-dead-fingers books. I got to talk computers with Jerry for a minute or two. Fun!

        1. OK I thought the signed copy of Red Storm Rising and Harpoon was making me jealous but a signed copy of one of my favorite Heinlein Juveniles takes the cake. About the only thing more thrilling to me would be a signed copy of Have Spacesuit Will Travel (favorite Juvenile) or Starship Troopers (first Heinlein I read, probably 3rd or 4th “Adult” Scfi overall.

  10. Good news! The roofer came today! Do y’all know how hard it is to find a roofer two or three months after your area has been hit by a hurricane? Flat difficult, let me tell you. We didn’t have major damage, but an old leak that I had tried twice to fix (it didn’t leak the first day of the storm) had gotten bad during Florence, and it leaked bad enough to short out an old CRT television. I’ve been trying to get this guy to come by the house, and he finally came by this morning.

    Also good news: the cable company cashed my check and enough other people wrote checks for them to agree to put in fiber optics in my neighborhood. Come March or April, our internet speed should go up by a factor of ten to twenty times; we’ve been having extended range DSL, which is a sight better than dial up, but doesn’t get the job done nowadays—it took me something like 40 hours to do my last major OS update (6 GB).

    1. “Do y’all know how hard it is to find a roofer two or three months after your area has been hit by a hurricane? Flat difficult, let me tell you.”

      About the magnitude of getting urban tree people after a major ice storm, in an area that doesn’t have major ice storms regularly. We got lucky, I got quotes from those I saw out & about in the neighborhood. Then the one we chose had a last minute cancellation & if we’d do it right away, he was available (yes!!).

      1. Yeah, we had to get the tree doctors out twice in last two years. One was such that a logger (like my late uncle who pulp-wooded in the winter, etc.) could have dropped away from the house, most likely. The other two were so close to the house that insurance company paid for a lot of the cost.

        1. We weren’t lucky enough for the insurance to pay to have the trees taken out. Trees didn’t come down, nor did the tops*. A lot of big limbs yes, but the trees appeared “sound”. They did pay for the limb clean up, & fix for the gutter, but beyond that, nope.

          *Next major ice storm would have taken the tops, because loosing the limbs weakened the tops. Not 2 tops for 2 trees, but as it turned out, 5 major (small trees in their own right – 12″ base) tops (Giant Sequoias known for this). Not only that, it was clear there was some rot in the base once the trees were down (no sign without taking the trees out). Plus trees close enough to house that roots were eventually going to cause foundation problems.

          Despite all that there was no case that those trees were in danger of coming down, short of a tornado (& the Willamette Valley has so many). Not with 10′ diameter bases & intertwined as they were. Loosing the tops, because: We just couldn’t know when/where they’d come down. Our house is a major path way for kids going to school, & parents parking in front of the house (can see grade school from house). Daycare across street, so traffic there … We are forestry trained. There is no way we were risking that responsibility when the limbs** came down & the tops became visible. Even tho out of the 8 local urban tree companies we contacted for quotes we had all 8 of them write that the trees were no danger to anything now or in the future; 5 declined to give quotes because they were too busy. We still had the trees come out.

          **That the limbs came down between the house & the trees & not on the street/sidewalk side, was a blessing. Those limbs were huge & heavy. It was already a joke, “don’t park your car there because the squirrels were aiming the cones for the road to break them open.” You know the golf ball sized, & harder than, cones … we had proof vehicle roofs got dented when hit by cones. That was the drivers responsibility. Technically the limbs coming down in the ice storm was too (act of god, unless visibly damaged, which they weren’t). First time in 28 years that had happened. But still.

          Trees were maybe 45 years old …

          1. So far, I’ve only had one major brach come down (the trunk forked several times, and this one was pretty vulnerable. If I have to have a tree come down, that one is the worst. Fairly easy drop, but I really don’t need the firewood.

            Not sure of the age; 30″ diameter Ponderosa pine. I had a (shaded) 12″ tree that ringed out to 70 years, but I doubt this is much over a century.

            1. Ages of the trees is known (ish) because ALL Giant Sequoias & Redwoods in the Eugene/Springfield & surrounding areas were planted by the same developer in the subdivisions he built one or more homes in during the ’70s. Given they are all well watered … Our subdivision went in early ’70s.

              1. We have a pine I want taken down professionally. It’s probably about seventy, with serious browning. It has a serious unbalance issue where the power company has cut it away from the lines. It could fall West and take out the lines and chain link fence, and with the right timing get a car on the road. It could fall North of East and take out six picture windows together with a chunk of roof. It could fall East or South and get chain link fence. It could fall due North and take out the girls’ playhouse

                Now convincing my parents that the pine needs to be taken out by people with insurance before it takes something out with it . . .

                1. Unless there’s a safe direction to drop the tree, there’s a couple of alternatives. A tree guy with a boom truck (I did this the first time we removed a bunch of trees, but had to search a bit) is one, or if you have a bunch of logging going on (or people who were loggers), a guy with climbing gear and experience is the way. Did that the second time we did a bunch of trees. At that time, there were a few folks who went from logging (because spotted owl) to commercial tree services.

                  The place where we live used to have several trees within feet (inches for the biggest) of the 7′ wide deck. The worst needed to be topped, and still dropped a biggish branch on the roof. That was the guy with the boom truck, but it still needed somebody to climb the tree.

                  Our place still has a lot of trees, but not so many right near the house.

            1. Giant Sequoias – size of a golf ball (actually a little bigger), twice as dense.

              Worse Sugar Pine cones. About longer than my forearm, & can be 6 or more inches in diameter. Extremely dense & heavy. They can ruin an RV* parked under them. Kill someone standing under them. Tents, generally will bounce them away, because not ridged hard material (don’t know for a fact, just speculating).

              *Very real possibility if you use the campgrounds in Yosemite NP.

              We didn’t hear the Sequoia cones come down. Sugar Pine cones, you hear those come down & hit (doesn’t have to be paved road either).

              1. The grey squirrels will drop and/or throw Ponderosa cones. They don’t like it when my wife picked them up, but mercifully the squirrels have rotten aim.

                There’s a stand of Sugar Pine trees on a nearby mountain, but locally we get Pondo and Juniper (no cones, just berries and occasional drunk birds from fermented berries). The Lodgepole pines were logged out locally, but there are big stands 20-30 miles away.

      2. Rumor has it that local contractors are starting to take the jobs that were discussed early Spring. Not a lot of fun if your job wants dry dirt/surfaces, but some things just can’t wait.

        I need to get an electrical trench inspected along with the solar array posts. The inspector told me that I didn’t have to get the empty holes inspected, but I want to get both inspections done to reset the 6 month activity doom clock. ‘sides, I think the structural guys would bet miffed if I installed the panels before they bought off the earlier phase.

        I’ve had a good relationship with the building people; it gives me some slack if I have to do something odd. And a project like this, there’s aways going to be something odd.

    2. those roofers are easy to find.
      Just drive around and there they are, on some roof!
      Oh, you mean find them to be on Your Roof?

      Well they were just 2 doors down here (Nothing like Roofing in December in Michigan, no?), but I guess they went for it as Temps are warmish (except the day they finished it was 17 for a low), and they had 3 days without rain or snow.

      Huzzah for fast introtubes!
      when I was in Alvarado all I had was WiFi. A bit laggy for gamers unless you got the Biz version, but I got 2mbps most of the time and some times as fast as 5.
      I would have gone with a different provider if I’d stayed, as a faster, more local company expanded into the area, and I had far clearer line of sight for them.
      To get faster internet, Penn Jillette paid the cable company to run fiber into his area of Vegas, way way back when (iirc he was on then called ZDnet TV Screensavers telling the story). He didn’t care about the TV service, but he asked them what would it take to get them to just run a loop out his way and the cableco tossed a rather large number at him and he said “Sold”.
      The Electronic Music artist DeadMau5 got his part of town(a ‘burb of Toronto?) to change the zoning so he could erect a large tower for his ‘net. He thinks they likely had no clue what he was talking about, but he paid a ton of bucks, got zoning changes done somehow, and got it installed as soon as he could before they realized what was up . . . hundreds of feet of tower

  11. I feel your pain. Between Christmas and New Year, my daughter and I absolutely HAVE to sort out the garage, in preparation for getting a new garage door installed sometime in the spring.
    It has to be done, and at least a third of the cr*p therein will be going to the thrift store, just so that we can get to the shelves along the walls.

  12. When I was a kid I really loved those cheap little puzzles consisting of a frame with fifteen out of sixteen representing a picture or array which required you shuffle the open space about to get all of the pieces in proper order.

    It sucks doing that in three dimensions in real life.

    1. Day before yesterday another trailer load of equipment left my shop. Crank grinder, balance machine, block broach, and a pickup truck full of smaller machines and tooling. A bit over three tons…

      I have actual empty spots on the floor now instead of narrow paths between machines. And there’s more equipment leaving next week. And after that, the storage building full of engine parts will go, hopefully.

      It took quite a while to finally admit I’m not physically able to do that kind of work any more, and more time to let go. But the pangs have been shallow and almost negligible compared to the feeling of… relief, I guess. Besides, the new owner has granted visitation rights.

      1. You sound like my BIL. Mechanic for 30 or 40 years. Last years of his career he worked for a company where he didn’t have to supply his own tools. Meanwhile he had all his tools he owned at home. Been mentioning that he needs to get start getting rid of them because it’s not like he has the machines needed to work on current vehicles & no desire anymore to work on the older ones for others.

        Then there are all the wood working tools, that were moved packed from FIL home when he died to ours, that not only haven’t been unpacked here, but they were originally his dad’s equipment. Can’t just have it just by gosh disposed of either, because it is rumored that it originally came from HIS dad (so hubby’s great-grandfather, 1870’s ish, if it was new then). It is old enough that there could be hand tools that are now worth money. Hubby’s making noises about cleaning stuff out. Fine. Told him there is a shop in town that specializes in wood working tools & the manager/owner also looks at stuff people have stashed, just like this, gives his appraisal, & will make an offer (not the appraisal). Depending on how much work you want to do or not …

        Then there are the old wood ammunition boxes. They are worth something, not much each, but more than what we “paid” for them, & there are more than a few. Although those we are likely to keep, just empty & restore something else in.

      2. I had a Murphy experience with my barn. Late summer, while I was waiting on a contractor to get to my solar mount, I saw that a piece of insulation partially came down (there was a reroof a few years back, the the original roof had no sheathing. That made for some interesting problems). In addition, I need more light in the barn and I’m not stupid enough to do the wiring on an extension ladder.

        So, I compressed the machinery in one place so I could get some scaffolding in the right areas. Then, the contractor freed up, and I looked at the supplier for the panels. Good news/bad news; the panels were on sale ($100 off, each(!)), but that precise model was being discontinued, and if I wanted to avoid redesign hell, I had to buy them now. So they went in the space for the scaffolding, and I have to be careful to avoid breaking that glass.

        The insulation is still hanging by one edge. I’ll get to it this Spring, honest.

    2. That is my Christmas cleaning. Because too many bookshelves and I really need to move a couple to a different spot. Which means moving this bit there and that bit there first so I can get room to get them out of their current spot and then it is needed to move that another thing over there so it is out of the way so I can move this bit where it should go and then…


      1. I feel the pain. When I did a shop in the barn, the area above a workroom seemed a perfect place to do a library. It was OK, but getting up there on a ladder got too annoying as I got older, so I’m trying to get those shelves in a more suitable location. That mezzanine is far better suited for long term (need it > several months) storage. Of course, now I have to lower a small library worth of books by rope. A dumbwaiter would be nice…

        $SPOUSE would like to build a house some year. A room big enough for all my books would be nice, along with one big enough for all her sewing/knitting/quilting projects, not to mention the loom. Hmm, two big specialty rooms with a house joining them. What could possibly go wrong?

  13. When I was small, and we moved from Utah to Texas, it was the one and only–and the last time–we used movers. Because along with mislabeling stuff, and mixing our stuff up into someone else’s stuff (we lost at least two boxes), they also did things like…pack the trash. Not, y’know, grab the nearest person who lived there and ask a sensible question like “Do you want to empty this before I pack it?” Nope. They just packed it…

    1. We used movers once. Company paid for it. They were moving 2 households at the same time & were short of movers, so they hired us. I mostly just packed & marked, hubby helped move bigger items. Avoided those issues. Helped that all the expensive electronic & gun/ammunition stuff we packed into our truck (before they arrived), including the animals* into their kennels, so they were out of the way.

      *At that time we had 2 hand raised cats who loved vehicles, loved ladders, & all 5 loved boxes, they were sooooo helpful … yes, corralled & contained.

      If we ever build our dream home. Better bet, don’t care about the cost, we are using movers. We will glean as much as possible before moving.

  14. And here I thought you might be writing… *ducks flung flooring* One of my Winter Break projects is to re-arrange my office so that no-longer-in-use books get shifted back and the “in use at the moment” books are closer to hand. And go through papers and magazines to sort trip notes from Day Job notes from Non-Fiction notes.

    That is, after I figure out how to buy hard-copies of an e-access-only textbook so all the students will get a copy of the thing. [Looooong and complicated story].



    By who? What year? Olympic/sport style or more dueling/fighting?

    1. Duelling. Rapier was never an Olympic fencing weapon.

      Having said that, there’s been a tremendous amount of research published on rapier fencing in the last 15 years. I’ve got a whole shelf-full myself.

      1. Sure, an is it not a clear and studied insult to the Scots that the Olympics have never had an event forrrrrr the claidheamh-mòr?

        1. I have a dream. I dream of a world where international sports contests have an event for shaped charge command detonated anti-personal mines.

        2. Saber is as close as you get to that.
          Epee is as close as you get to the rapier; and it’s point only, no cuts.
          Foil is just an immature epee that hasn’t been fed enough.

  16. Reference books? What need would one have for such when Wikipedia is just a mouse click away?
    Please don’t hurt me, you know I play a snarky curmudgeon online. Or so I most desperately hope.

    1. I play a snarky curmudgeon online

      To date, the snarky curmudgeon seems to be getting the best of you.

  17. Merry Christmas, Mrs. Hoyt and fellow Huns!

    I’m running off to Tucson until the end of the year and taking a blog and social media fast.

    1. If you have any interest in aircraft, don’t miss the Pima Air Museum.
      Also, the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley. ’50’s technology, with some ’60s and ’70s tech updates.

  18. At least you got all your stuff there. My inlaws are still looking for all their power cords (stereo (also the speaker wire), keyboard, basically anything that doesn’t have it physically attached), because they weren’t in the boxes with the items. Never found the hardware for the dining table, either.

    1. Keyboard, unattached items, table hardware.. those I understand. Power cables? They don’t have a surplus as the things multiply when left unattended? (Those socks everyone else seems to lose… I suspect they eventually into power cables and appear in the machine room closet.)

      1. Every few years I throw away power cables. Sometimes brand new in the packages,

        I have no idea where they come from, but I’ve decided more than half a dozen spares have to go.

        I hate throwing away brand new, perfectly good stuff… but everyone else I know has a superabundance of the things, and they’re not worth trying to sell on eBay. [sigh]

          1. Phone cables, TV coax cables, Ethernet cables, USB cable for every device owned past, present, and future. Probably need fiber cables too; but they haven’t run any to the house so that’s off the table for now.

        1. It not power cables for me (though I have plenty; just not always where I want them to be), but phone cables beyond belief. I still have one sneaking out from behind a bookshelf, because it went to a dialup modem.

        2. DadRed was looking for something else (of course) and found a 21 pin to 17(!?!) pin cable. Even Sib and Sib-in-Law have no idea what it was for or what it went to.

  19. Ah’ll be back. And if I learn more interesting things, you won’t be able to avoid hearing about them.

    So, moving boxes brings out the Terminator? Arnie!

      1. ..and Czeching it twice.

        “Bedřich Smetana was a Czech composer who pioneered the development of a musical style …. After Liszt gave a series of piano recitals in the city, Smetana became convinced that he would find satisfaction only in a musical career.”

  20. I have to admit feeling intimidated by the size of that reference library. (And I know that wasn’t your intention.)

  21. When we moved from Texas to Utah we had at least 100 boxes of books (yes, I have a list of the contents). Reshelving books at home was always a hit-or-miss proposition (except paperbacks, which had their own dedicated shelf, alpha by author).
    When we unpacked, I put a spine label on the back of each book with the Library of Congress classification number (usually either on the title page or at the LO website). I continued with each book purchased since then.
    Makes it a snap to find something now, so long as it actually gets reshelved (the stacks under the bed, next to the TV, and out in the car don’t count).
    A few years later I discovered LibraryThing and now have an on-line very interactive highly usable catalog to take care of noting unusual shelving locations (did I mention I have shelves in 8 rooms?), books lent to friends and family, and lots of bibliographic information.
    If you are OCD about data, which I am, you can spend hours getting all the details input correctly (it’s my equivalent of watching TV or playing solitaire).
    You probably don’t want to spend that much time.
    At the very least, you can at least get the titles and locations stored.
    Sometime after the New Year, I plan to unpack the 6 boxes from the last library book sale, and go through the 10 we just inherited from my FiL.
    I think I’ll go read a good book…..

  22. Hmm, something happened to the “C” in “LOC” — probably hiding under the bed with the books.

  23. My big issue is I have more than 3 houses worth of stuff in my one house. With all my stuff, all my Mother’s stuff, all my Grandparents stuff (now passed on). Then I got custody of my two younger daughters, so stuff. And then my older daughter and her Fiance moved in so that they could save money and (hopefully) get a place of their own (Eventually) so even more stuff.

    I’ve found that there is a level of too much stuff where in gains a certain kind of “Stuff momentum” that makes it difficult to manage (get rid of). Add to that I have NO IDEA what to do with most of it since so far, the stuff I think “get rid of” in a lot of cases are the things my mother is sentimental about.

    1. Ah yes, inheritances.

      First bequeath as much as possible to all the remaining relatives; preferably the ones not also living under your roof or the stuff stays there.

      Usually takes at least 3 yard/garage sales per family member to move the stuff that people will buy that way. Tough to get a decent price for any of it because they’re all looking for pennies on the dollar.

      You can do the eBay route, which involves more work and takes longer, but better ROI.

      After disposing of as much as possible those ways, I usually just itemize everything else and donate it to Goodwill or Salvation Army and realize the tax deduction value that way.

    2. Mom (the last of her generation in my extended family) downsized before moving to a 1 bedroom place, then sharing a house with one of my brothers. I expect $BROTHER and $OFFSPRING will get any of the residuals; she already sent out memorable items when she downsized.

      Note to self; see if any of the next generation would be interested in any of the books; I got a lot of hardcover SFF when a) HC SFF was still interesting, and b) when I had money to spare. Lots of book club editions, but a chunk are first editions.

      There’s also a coffee table book that my dad found used–from the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, with a frontispiece drawing and dedication from a brother to his sisters.

      1. Our son is an only child.

        From hubby’s side he will get an antique oak phone, technically works, but no way to use it even on a land line. A lot of antique wood tools (which will be sold one way or another, hopefully soon, but I’ve heard that before). A painted straight misery whip saw. A whole lot of fishing reels, some of which hubby’s dad made.

        My side: Two 30/30’s, one with an hex/octal (without looking at it) bore that is over 100 years old. I believe it is what is called the 1890 model. Don’t know if great uncle got it new in 1910’s or used. The other one is dad’s probably purchased late 1940’s. A dozen or so, plus the ones I get from mom when she goes, original oil paintings done by my grandfather (unknown artist, unless you are from Drain OR, so not “worth” anything). Four original charcoal & chalk paintings done by my great-grandmother, who (rumor) was an acknowledged Montana artist in the early 1900’s before she was married (Jewitt, I think), but never been able to confirm it (Sisters & cousins are not happy that I ended up with 4 of them, & no, I’m not sharing). Beyond that not sure which set of either very large mounted Elk & Deer racks sisters & I are fighting over; I don’t care which set, just want one of them … note, knowing their spouses, I’ll get all of them. Kid can share with cousins later should he choose. Beyond that. We don’t collect. We have some nice pieces but if the kid wants them, great, otherwise, he can do whatever.

    3. One good suggestion I read in a decluttering book, with regard to memorabilia that has sentimental associations but no practical use — take a really nice picture of it, put it in a scrapbook, and accidentally lose or break the item.
      We did that with a lot of the kids medals and trophies from school, which were meaningful for memories, but no place to store them, and not worth displaying (mostly HS music competitions).

      1. Yes. I took all the engravings from the participation trophy & put them with the team & individual picture, into a scrap book. There are less than a dozen scrap books in the book case. Could build some more. Lets see: Disney, age 4. Disney World & Kennedy Space Center, age 7. Sports k – 12, including letters. Eagle Scout. Philmont. National Jamboree 2001*. National Jamboree 2005*. Scouts, general. School pictures. ??? That’s just for the kid.

        *What was the big difference between 2001 & 2005 national jamboree? Ans: $250 worth of film development between the 2 of us (I staffed both times). 2005 we both had digital cameras …

        Hubby needs to get off his assets & work with his photography, just because he keeps saying he’s going to. Which means more scrap books.

        I’d like to do one of all the pets. Which means getting scanning done.

        1. I’d like to do one of all the pets. Which means getting scanning done.

          You’re considering a Pet Scan?

          1. He He Ha Ha 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Scan slides from ’78 until hubby got his first digital SLR camera. NOT all of them; not that wealthy. We have file BOXES of them. Just the ones featuring the pets & the kid. Scenic ones hubby can pick & choose …

            1. For a number of years our household had an annual family ritual of Spring photo of cat and his pet human standing together on front steps when the crocuses bloomed, but Daughtorial Unit eventually outgrew it and cat went to where cats go once they’ve served their term on Earth.

            2. A flatbed scanner with transparency capability can make fairly short work of those slides. I have a circa 2003 Epson, and after the Epson software didn’t transition to Win 7, I got Hamrick’s Vuescan software. This includes nice features like color correction (I had a bunch of Ektachrome, both mine and a bit of Dad’s.)

              I did a spreadsheet with the particulars of the photos, assuming I had any. This started when I got the remnant of Dad’s slides, in cassettes for a long gone/obsolete projector. That turned into DVDs for family. Then I did my own slides and negatives. This wasn’t an expensive scanner, and it took several evenings, but wasn’t all that hard.

              1. Current printer/scanner doesn’t have that capability. Last decent negative/slide capability flatbed scanner didn’t make the transition to Win10.

                Already had transferred a number of more recent slides & negatives to digital (all the Scouting stuff including Philmont & National Jamboree 2001). Plus a few from kid’s childhood for his Eagle Court of Honor. How could we pass up finding the one where he is holding up a steelhead salmon that is almost as big as him, or the year he insisted on going as Barney for Halloween? I mean really!!!

                Eventually I’ll go through the slides & cost out Costco VS dedicated scanner & doing it myself. Problem with scanning slides is scenic stuff comes across darker than appears on the slides. For the kid & cat stuff, generally not a problem. But would like a scanner with more adjustment ability for all the national park stuff. Although as we repeat trips, that is getting less relevant, though there are some darn nice bear pictures we want to convert eventually.

                Already converted all the early video tapes to digital. That was fun. Setup & run (for as long as the tape was so 120 minute tape = 120 minute convert). Then break into small enough for (then) CD storage. Now have those backed up on to multiple PC’s & USB GB drives. There is a lot of footage.

                1. If you still have that flatbed/transparency scanner, check out Hamrick’s Vuescan. It’s intended to be a universal (mostly) replacement for older scanners with newer operating systems. There should be a list of supported scanners and operating systems on the website.

                  It’s fairly powerful, with both custom and preset tweaks available. IIRC, you had to pay a bit extra for the character recognition module. I stopped using it when I shifted to Linux (Xsane does well enough for my needs), but it was pretty much the way to go for legacy scanners.

          2. An aside about actual PET scans. The tracer for them is Glucose with one of its oxygens swapped with Fluorine(18). It decays by negative Beta emission. A Beta particle is just a high speed electron, Negative Beta is high speed Positron. Tracking is due to the positron hitting an electron and emitting Gamma. So if you get a PET scan you have (minute) amounts of antimatter in your body for a short while . Something I found fascinating, although no the gamma radiation does NOT turn you into the Hulk…

  24. Doing research is why I pay for borrowing privileges at university libraries. The UC Riverside Library has the complete Virginia Edition on its shelves; I’ve now read all of RAH’s writing advice to Niven and Pournelle on The Mote in God’s Eye. . . . And years ago, when I was setting up an RPG campaign about fencing students under the regency of Philippe d’Orleans, the SDSU library had a biography of him by C.S. Lewis’s brother Warren, which I thought was better stylistically than anything by the more famous brother.

    I do have several shelf feet of books for research, mostly on obscure or specialized topics that I can’t count on finding on a university’s shelves, or on topics I’ll want to read about over and over. But I need libraries; my personal library has already expanded to fill the space available.

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