We got them off the shelves pretty quickly. Larry was sure he'd never seen the big shelf empty, but that's not true. I'm pretty sure I've cleaned it a few times in our 25 years of marriage! Sometimes I just do one shelf at a time, though, and maybe he wasn't here when I did the big clean like I did today.
Then I got sidetracked. A friend and I are writing a storytelling grant together and it's due Monday. We have a lot of pieces to put together to make the grant application together and we did a lot of it over the phone and by email. Of course, phone calls to people who are involved always means a longer conversations because we have to catch up. I tweaked documents, figured a budget and a schedule and put together plans. We got a lot done and I think we can finish tomorrow.
Miss Charley thought she was helping with the grant by staring at me.
That inspired me. I recalled that another grant opportunity was available for a professional development grant for artists. I downloaded the forms and got to work on that grant, one I had not really planned on applying for but since I had time today--and didn't want to get back to work on the big shelf project--I decided to give it a try. Two hours later the application was complete and now it's ready to be mailed. Will we get either one? Who knows? I expect there will be plenty of competition this year with money as tight as it is now.
By 9:00pm the grant was finished and the books were staring at me. I had to get back to it; who would want to look at that mess in the morning?
I cajoled Larry off the couch and we dug into the pile.
The thing is, it's not just putting them back--it's establishing some kind of order. I'm a librarian but I'm not fanatic about my own books being in Dewey order (actually, I prefer Library of Congress cataloging, but that's a different story). I try to organize them loosely into categories: books about storytelling process, folklore, mythology, storytelling for children. Collections of stories from different cultures, ghost stories, British stories and folklore, music and ballads, poetry and writing. Gardening. History. West Virginia (although the bulk of that collection is in my office, I don't have room for all of it in there). Larry's masonry and carpentry books. (Cookbooks are in the kitchen). Et cetera, et cetera.
I ended up with two piles that will not go back on the shelves. One pile is for Goodwill, the other is books that I need to give away to someone. Some of the second pile already have homes--I know who wants those. Others, I'll have to think about. Only 2 books hit the trash, books so far gone and falling apart that they weren't worth saving, and one of them I'd already replaced anyway.
We finished at 11:00pm. The shelves look fine, organized and tidy. I think I know where everything is, although time will tell. One thing is sure: there is no dust anywhere on those shelves or books and that is an accomplishment indeed.