Random Thoughts

On January 13, 2018 my mother-in-law passed away.  We got the call that morning and were on a flight that evening.  We spent the first week we were here assisting with funeral preparations, attending the services, and visiting with the many family and friends who were here for the services.  My mother-in-law was a wonderful person and will be very much missed.  I encourage you all to read her obituary, which will give you just a taste of what we have lost.

On Sunday, we started on the long, slow process of sorting through her things.  We started with a pile of boxes in the basement.  Most of the boxes contained things like old checks and bills, as far back as the 1940s.  My husband and his brother have been sorting things to save, shred, and recycle.  I’ve been working my way through the shredding pile.

We have two shredders.  One is a small one that can only handle a few sheets at a time and the other is a more robust machine.  I’ve been shredding on the small one until it can’t take anymore (which takes 15 minutes) and then switching to the big one.  Since the machines are loud enough that it’s difficult for me to hear while I’m working, I’ve mostly been left to my own wandering thoughts.  The rest of this post is a sampling of those thoughts.


99 duplicate checkbooks to shred

99 duplicate checkbooks

Take one down, grr grr grind

98 duplicate checkbooks to shred

(I counted.  That particular box actually had 100 duplicate checkbooks)


1980s hair band music is an excellent accompaniment to the sound of the shredder.


We’ve filled 7 thirty-gallon trash bags with shredded paper.  Each bag holds about 4 of the shredder bins.  Each shredder bin holds shredding from 1/2 – 3/4 of a banker’s box.  That means we’ve shredded 14 – 21 banker’s boxes worth of paper.


My hands are so dry. The forced hot air in the house dries my skin out. The humidity here is so much lower than at home. Handling all this paper dries out my hands. I’m washing my hands A LOT.


We’ve recycled at least 5 banker’s boxes worth of paper.


My mother sometimes tells the story about the New England winter when she had two kids in diapers.  The cold and low humidity always dry you out and she was washing her hands A LOT because of all the diaper changes.  My parents were on a very tight budget and hand cream wasn’t something they could afford, so her hands were cracked and bleeding.


Just glancing around the basement, I can see at least another dozen boxes my husband and brother-in-law still have to review.


I’m very happy that I have hand and body cream that I can deploy against the dryness.


Lanolin would be even better.


Mmmmm lanolin.  If I were at home, I could just go pet that beautiful Corriedale fleece in my office.  It’s got lots of lanolin.


I think I might spin that Corriedale for the Sweater Spin along / Knit along Beth Smith is hosting on her Patreon.


Alice Starmore’s Raven costume, from her forthcoming book Glamourie (Amazon affiliate link), which I’ve had on preorder for several months, would be stunning in that glossy black Corriedale.


Am I that crazy?


My degree of crazy may be dependent upon how much more time I spend shredding documents in the basement.

3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts”

  1. I just read your MIL’s obituary, and what a wonderful asset to her community she was! It is so nice that her early work was appreciated and she received a college scholarship.

    I will be doing the shredder thing when we eventually face down clearing out more things from my husband’s cousin’s house. I loved your countdown song! My hands have been dry enuf here during our cold snap that my hands needed the GOOD hand cream; I remember the Maine winters and can imagine how her hands must have hurt when the boys were little–especially as she would be using cloth diapers and do even more washing!

    That Raven costume is amazing! It might take the entire fleece to do it. Or two fleeces….

    I hope you have had a chance to do some knitting on one or more of the projects, and that the guys have found a few treasures to make them smile while sorting through things.

    I

  2. You have inspired me. While I’m not as old as your MIL and have no current serious health issues, I AM old enough to die. (Shhhh… we all are.). We have a shredder and lots of boxes in the garage. Why should the kiddos get al the fun?! I think I’ll start that journey myself. Of course there is way too much for me to finish (and weave and knit and spoil grandkids and see the world) but fewer boxes might be a good idea.
    Life is full of magic moments. Many of them are disguised and not readily recognized.
    Thanks for sharing with us. I treasure our friendship.
    Sending love, Diane

  3. “Am I that crazy?

    My degree of crazy may be dependent upon how much more time I spend shredding documents in the basement.”

    I totally understand this line of thinking.

    I suggest O’Keeffe’s Working Hand Cream or Mary Kay’s Extra-Emollient Night Cream if what you already have isn’t working. I rotate between them when my knuckles crack during the dry Indiana winters and cover my hands with either socks or gloves over a thick layer of the cream on my hands while I sleep.

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