One of Dad's super-powers (in addition to the power to show up absolutely on time to anything, anywhere, no matter how late he leaves, whether he gets in an accident, or whether the universe itself conspires against him) is the ability to organize, reorganize, and pack more stuff than you would ever believe into impossible spaces. Personally, I think that during his years as a mathematician and number theorist (not to mention avid reader of classic science fiction), he has somehow developed a theory that enables him to open a hole into n-Dimensional space and he just sticks all the stuff in there.
But I haven't been able to prove it yet, so let's just pretend we believe that he just measures really carefully.
Dad had spent the last week reorganizing his den, his office, the closets in his bedroom, and various undisclosed locations in the house to make room for this massive influx of entertainment media. All week long when he wasn't teaching class, he could be found with measuring tape in hand going purposefully from room to room, adjusting this, measuring that, putting these things over there, nudging that thing a little to the left.
The day before the movers were to come, he came to me with a beatific expression, and announced, "Well, I think I've finally figured out where everything is going to go."
I eyed him somewhat skeptically, but congratulated him nonetheless. I still wasn't sure where all this stuff was going to fit, but if Dad said it would fit -- well, I'd give him the benefit of a doubt.
Moving day dawned, and while I slept in a bit, Dad went over to Uncle's house to help with the packing and moving. I knew that my favorite aunt (and one of my all-time amazing, super-fantastico favorite people) Sarah was to be there supervising, I decided to drop by and say hello. I don't get to see Aunt Sarah nearly often enough, and as long as she was in town, I wanted to take the opportunity to get my hug.
"I'm going to run by Uncle's house just for a minute," I told Charlie who was just finishing his coffee. "I want to say hi to Aunt Sarah as long as she's here."
"All right, have fun," he replied, not looking up from the computer.
The moving van had already arrived when I pulled up to Uncle's house. Dad was involved in a discussion with them, and he waved me into the house where I found my beloved Aunt loaded down with boxes and looking a bit harried. "Oh good, you're here," she cried. "Where's Charlie? Tell him to pick up one of these boxes."
A bit startled, I explained that Charlie hadn't come with me, and that I'd just dropped by to see how she was doing and say hi. Luckily, Aunt Sarah is not the type to get mad about something like that. She just said, "Hi, sweetie, glad to see you! Here, take this box over there."
I took it.
"Now," she said, "If there's anything around here that you want -- something you can use, or reminds you of Uncle or Great Grandma, you take it. You know he's got lots of books, and I know you like to read, so you just go through them and see what you want."
I was a little surprised, but I thought about it for a moment. "You know, I already have the books of his that I would actually read," I said. "I hate to just take stuff to take it because ... well ... I've got so much stuff already. About the only thing I can think of is maybe if there's still some of Great Grandma's clothes around, I'd like those."
She led me downstairs into the basement, where the clothes and books were stored. I hadn't really looked around Uncle's basement for long time, but today, the stacks and stacks of boxes and filing cabinets seemed loom ominously from the floor. They were everywhere! It seemed there were hundreds of them! I believe in my Dad with all my heart, but ... did he know? Did he really realize the extent, the very mass, of Uncle's ... Collection? My mind boggled.
"Yeah, I might even be able to fit into some of Great Grandma's stuff now," I told my Aunt.
"Oh, NO, honey, she was a size 18!" she exclaimed as we made our way across the basement.
I stopped for a moment. "Great GRANDMA?" I said. "Was a size EIGHTEEN? But I always thought she was tall and thin! I remember her being really thin, like no one in our family was ever thin!"
"Well, sweetie, she was six feet tall. Size eighteen was kind of thin on her," my aunt explained distractedly as she started unzipping one of the many large, hanging, clothes containers.
"Okay, here," she said, "If there are any clothes, they'd be here, and then maybe up in the closets. I don't think there are any of Great Grandma's things here anymore, though. Mom always said that the only thing Uncle ever let her have of her Mom's were some of her clothes."
"Okay, thanks," I said, and commenced looking through things.
It soon became obvious that she was right, and that all the clothes in the clothes bags were Uncle's. Suits, jackets, pants, ties ... nothing much that I would really want or use. Until suddenly, I came across a rack full of beautiful cashmere cardigan sweaters.
Since I'd recently lost so much weight, and had replenished my wardrobe during the summer, I found that with winter coming on, I didn't have anything but nice summery clothes to wear. Over the last few weeks, I'd been searching eBay and thrift stores for nice, warm, neutral colored cardigan sweaters that would take me through at least fall. Here was something that I not only needed, but could use, and would also remind me of Uncle! (He was always wearing these cardigans.) And since Uncle was always thin as a rail, the sweaters were just big enough on me to be comfortable, and not big enough to make me look sick.
"Ohh, how about these sweaters?" I asked Aunt Sarah.
"Oh, let me see. I need to take some sweaters over to Uncle for the winter, since he gets cold over there and his sweaters keep disappearing. What's that one made out of?" she asked, coming over to the clothing bag area.
I examined the label. "Brooks Brothers 100% two ply cashmere made in Scotland," I read to her.
"Okay, put that one to the side, that's a nice one," she said, and went back to bustling around the basement.
I shrugged. Hey, if Uncle needed his sweaters, well, hell, they were his! I only wanted stuff that he couldn't use or wanted to get rid of. Finally, I found one that said, "100% Acrylic."
"Hey, Aunt Sarah? I found this one that's 100% acrylic. Can I have this one," I asked.
She was shocked. "Oh NO, honey! I'll take that one over to him. You take the cashmere and wool ones. If we took those over to the nursing home, they'd disappear, or those people would wash them and they'd get ruined. No, I'll take the ones that are cheaper or synthetic. You take the good ones."
"Are ... are you sure?" I asked her incredulously. I mean, these were ... well, I don't know how much these sweaters cost, but they sure as hell weren't cheap. 100% Scottish lambswool? Two-ply cashmere?
"Yes, if you want 'em, take 'em," she said with a note of finality, and went back to what she was doing.
"Okay, thanks," I said calmly. I was rather happy about the fact that I managed to keep from shrieking, "BONUS!!!!" at the top of my lungs.
As Rob pointed out later that day, getting free clothing is one of MY super-powers.
Of course, I was going to have to worry about where all these would go in my already overflowing closets, but I couldn't worry about that just then. Suddenly, a potential wrench had been thrown into the works -- a wrench that could conceivably ruin all of Dad's most cleverly laid plans for the organization of the stuff.
A voice rang out from across the basement, "Oh my God, we've got another cabinet full of records!"
And another voice, "Hey, there's records in these boxes here too!"
A hush fell over the house as we all felt the chill of dread. I wondered if even n-Dimensional space would have room for the extra?
It was too late -- there was no going back. We were about to find out.
[to be continued]