Despite my earlier assertion that my head cold-turning-sinus-infection was sapping my will to live I still departed work a half-day early on Friday the 8th. Alas, it was not so I could go home and recover! No, sadly not. An hour and change after I left the office of $EMPLOYER I arrived at the estate of lady_curmudgeon's parents, which was left to her and her brother when her mother passed two years ago. As soon as I changed clothes and introduced myself to all the gathered relatives I was put to work by Curmudgeon's brother. My task? Help him haul heavy things out of the house and into the garage. Once things were hauled my task list changed and my entire purpose in life was to help put price tags on everything that was in the garage. Once everything in the garage was priced I went on a whirlwind review of the house, slapping price tags on everything that remained within. We worked well into the evening but by 2100 hours it seemed that we were ready for the estate sale to start on Saturday morning.
Saturday the sale started. I talked a lot. I blew my nose a lot. I heard my ear drum pop several times as the sinus infection continued to rage in my forehead. Curmudgeon's brother thought he lost his wallet, which resulted in an hour of high-tension hilarity. A lot of things sold, but by the end of the day I couldn't speak above a coarse whisper. My head was pounding misery when we closed up the garage for the evening and drove back to the World's Smallest Flat. I used Curmudgeon's Neti Pot and was unsurprised to find that almost none of the water would pass. Cursing and desperation resulted but eventually I was able to flush my sinuses and I was given a brief respite from the pressure that felt like it was going to make my head explode. My throat remained wickedly sore.
Sunday the 10th was the final day of the two day estate sale. Curmudgeon's brother gave the edict that we were to bargain on any item that people wanted to bargain on. His goal was, more or less, to sell every single item in the garage and house. Quite a bit more sold and by the end of the day we were able to consolidate three tables of stuff into one and a half. Quite a lot of the antiques went at well under their due value but I can understand the position that 'mudgeon's brother held. His stance was I don't have time to sell it on eBay/dicker at an antique store/research the price... just make it go away. The less that is left on Sunday night the less that I have to pack into a box again for transport to Good Will. This resulted in some friction between he and Curmudgeon. As much as I love her I found myself aligning with the "Tough love" side of the arguments. Pragmatic as he is about most things her brother has been dealing with the estate for the last two years and he's just exhausted -- I can understand very well how he "just wants the hurting to stop," something I say with frequency at work. He's coming from the practical side of things and Curmudgeon is coming from the memory/emotional side of things. Fireworks of some sort are bound to result in situations like these but fortunately things were kept to a minimum on that front. Sometime in the afternoon Curmudgeon thought she'd lost her purse (it had been helpfully stowed away and covered by one of her aunts), which seemed a natural compliment to how her brother had "lost" his wallet the day previous. Again there was forty-some-odd minutes of high-tension hilarity before the missing item was located and properly secured for the rest of the day. By the end of the sale I couldn't speak and when we got home to Curmudgeon's apartment I was dismayed to find that I couldn't get any water from the Neti Pot to flush through my sinuses. No matter what I did there was nothing passing through -- I knew I was in deep trouble and doubled my dosage of Mucinex-D after dinner. I went to bed exhausted and hurting.
Flash forward through my work week. It sucked and I have nothing constructive to say beyond that. The evening of Friday the 15th found me once more in Kenosha. After I arrived I collected Curmudgeon and went over to the estate to claim one of the items that had been left there after the sale for us. As a thank-you for my work over the weekend, her brother had given me the ringer washer machine he'd moved up from the basement (I'd mentioned interest in it since the one my parents have for the farm is about to die). He also gave Curmudgeon her mother's computer desk after I remarked on it Sunday night. The one her mother had is much nicer than the one she has right now and likewise is nicer than the one that I planned for her to use once she moved in. So Friday night I hauled the washer out of the garage, loaded it into the back of the Expedition (despite Curmudgeon's pleas to call somebody for a helping hand) and dropped it off in her storage unit. That's where it will stay until one of two conditions are met: either my parents will come down with dad's truck or I will take my truck up to the farm. As my mother is still trying to settle my grandfather's estate and I'm currently still being victimized by $EMPLOYER neither option seems terribly likely. The good news in all this is that the washer is out of the garage and out of Curmudgeon's brother's hair, which is all I think that really matters at this juncture in time.
Saturday morning we were back at the estate. I finished dismantling the computer desk, which mostly considered of me using my cordless power drill kit to break the behemoth down into as many smaller components as I could before I tackled the task of hauling it out of the house. What is important to understand is that this is meant to be a self-contained unit. There are two upper and two lower doors that open, revealing the "center" upright housing. Each of the upper wings holds CD and DVD cases, while the bottom wings house a filing cabinet and a desk where things like scanners might reside. I got the unit's various wing doors off and removed the built-in filing cabinet, which left me with six pieces of desk to move -- four "doors," the removed cabinet drawer and the main "upright" housing that held the monitor and the like. The upright housing presented an interesting challenge... at three feet wide and 5'8" tall the darn thing made it clear to me that it was made to break into even smaller pieces -- but dammit, I couldn't seem to figure out how the various screws held the thing together. Finally I decided to just move that main hutch all in one piece, exactly as it stood in the room. Again I astounded Curmudgeon by moving what amounted to the desk's largest portion out of the house and into the back of the Expedition all by myself (while I was working she had called ya_wot_aver to see if he might be available to help but he didn't return the call until well after I'd finished my work). Since I didn't feel like risking the chance of falling down the steps into the basement I went out the front door of the house, bringing the desk's largest upright portion safely down the three steep steps and out into the driveway. Once I had it out in the driveway the rest of the work was easy. I parked the Expy in front of it and just tipped it directly into the cargo area of my truck. I grabbed the feet of the hutch, shoved it all the way forward and BOOM! My biggest task was done. The remaining parts were quickly loaded in and the two biggest chores of the weekend were completed (incidentally the back of the Expedition is where the desk is still resting... I'll unload it tomorrow morning before I leave for work since the temperature is so horrid outside).
More errands were run (mostly picking up beer and light bulbs for the house. The light bulbs were purchased because I'd managed to burn out the last light bulb in the house when I was taking apart the desk. The beer was so that Curmudgeon's brother wouldn't think I was a beer-mooch... I'd drank quite a few of his barley pops during the previous weekend) and lunch was had at the local Red Robin. When we got back to the World's Smallest Flat I installed the air conditioner into the bedroom window (hey, I didn't bleed this time!) and promptly took a nap so I could sleep off my burger and beer. We celebrated the completion of the weekend's three biggest chores by having dinner with brianblackberry, wolfbrotherjoe and donaldson at Villa Di Carlo, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the Kenosha region. The food was great and it was particularly nice to see Donaldson again, as he and I haven't crossed paths in recent months.
Sunday was Father's Day, so we visited Curmudgeon's father at the cemetery. Then we drove up to Milwaukee to spend the day with ya_wot_aver and his wife taking pictures of the various cool and creepy things that they knew about in the area. Visits were made to the Marquette University campus as well as some abandoned warehouse buildings scheduled for demolition. Lunch and drinks were had at the Milwaukee Ale House, where I discovered that mozzarella sticks are better wrapped in an egg roll/wonton shell. I also learned that when you fry macaroni and cheese into little triangles for appetizers you have something quite delicious. Once we'd stuffed ourselves with food we got back on the road and drove around Milwaukee some more, taking more pictures wherever we went. Speaking of pictures! chebutykin, you will not believe what we saw while we were down at the lake front. I'm hoping I'll have the pictures for you before this week is through.
This morning I got up later than I wanted, loaded a few boxes of books out of Curmudgeon's spare room (stacking them in the passenger seat, as the cargo area was completely full) and then and drove back down to the office. The only good thing about my day at work was that I spent an hour on the phone with our primary ISP (to get our new /20 netblock announced to the Internet) and the news that my new PDA-based phone has arrived. I'll undoubtedly be writing a review of the device within a week or two.
Of the skeletons in the closet