she who keeps this diary

14 November 2003 - 12:01 PM

Grandparental Packrattery

As of this moment, the movers should be at work at Grandmaman's flat. May God have mercy on them.

It's mindblowing, verging on nightmarish, what was stowed in that place. The fact that Grandmaman is (1) a packrat and (2) a drama queen and Southern belle to end all drama queens and Southern belles does not help with sorting, distribution, or packing at all.

As I mentioned, Maman, Sis, and the Avuncular One were there on Monday, sorting and pre-packing. Wednesday the professional packers came and boxed up most things.

Yesterday, Maman and the Viking put in a full day finishing the fragile stuff and cleaning out the kitchen cupboards. I went over once school let out to lend a hand.

I arrived just in time to hear 'you never tell me anything,' screeched in vitriolic tones from the back of the flat, followed by 'Mother, you know that's not true, we have kept you informed from the beginning and don't blame me if you forgot!' thundered back with injured righteousness.

Well, hi, everybody, and it's so good to see that things are going well.

The Viking was hiding in the kitchen, sorting through tinned foodstuffs and throwing out the out-of-date ones, which were many. I'm not sure how many trips he had to make to the chute with bags of poisonous soups and vegetables, but I'm probably happier not thinking about it.

My job was to go through what remained of the glassware and pack up anything I wanted. I also sorted through some of the booze, though I limited myself to unopened bottles. Maman had already packed up a dozen hollow-stemmed champagne bowls for me (though the box seemed strangely heavy for something which was only supposed to contain champagne glasses), but there were still cocktail and cordial glasses, brandy snifters and many other things to be considered.

I packed another two boxes of glassware (limiting myself to only a dozen of those things I chose, as I don't foresee needing 3 dozen brandy snifters at any party I am likely to throw) and also loaded a few small pieces of furniture into my truck. Among other odds and ends, I have inherited a sewing box which I don't think I ever saw Grandmaman use. I haven't taken full inventory yet, but just on first glance, it looks as though I have several dozen spools of real silk sewing thread in various colours.

I found out why the box of champagne glasses was so heavy once I got it home. Maman had scarfed up the remainder of the silver flatware (Lancaster Rose, and no, it's not in the Zodiac of Southern Belle Silver Patterns, so don't go rushing off to look it up) that Grandmaman gave me at my wedding and packed it in the bottom of the box. Grandmaman had given me the dinner knives, dinner forks, and teaspoons. What I didn't realise was that there were also luncheon knives and forks, salad forks, ice cream forks, and indeed many specialised and obscure kinds of cutlery still stashed away. I have no fewer than six distinct kinds of forks, and I'm not even sure what one of them is for. Apparently I don't even have it all, yet -- Maman carried some out in her purse on Monday and that's still at her house.

But don't go feeling sorry for Grandmaman, whose ungrateful offspring are making off with the family silver. She still has two complete sets of silver flatware (in different patterns) and a high-quality and elegant stainless steel set to her name.

I'll be going over again after work today, though by the time I get there the work is likely going to be unpacking and getting Grandmaman settled. Tomorrow, we go to Maman's house to help her empty the furniture she is giving to us to make room for the furniture she inherits, and probably Sunday will be spent moving things around our house so that when the furniture from Grandmaman is delivered on Tuesday, we will have places to put it. Once that arrives, I may perhaps have places to put some of the stuff that has already taken up residence. Right now my house is so full of half-unpacked boxes, it looks like I'm the one who's moving house.

verso - recto

The WeatherPixie

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