Saturday morning I got up...well, not early, but I got up, went to the hardware store and spent a few hundred bucks on garage shelving. Mid Saturday afternoon I cursed myself for not purchasing a drill with a gorddamn cord. Late Saturday afternoon I finished and stood depressed at how little shelving $369 will actually purchase.
Sunday we discovered how little of our stuff we could actually get on it. Slight spousal strife was encountered when it became clear that what I had earmarked to go there was entirely different from what she earmarked to go there. Sadly, what I really should have purchased was a work bench. Next weekend.
But I guess we can declare victory. Two closets have been entirely emptied and are ready for floor refinishing.
It's taking ten times as long as it could because we're organizing everything rather than just shoving it in. It's needed, because it's been a disaster, with all the "home improvement" stuff shoved in a closet. Depressing because half the stuff I've run to the hardware store for in the last few weeks we apparently already had.
I have discovered that cables breed. It's the only possible explanation. I have, no shit, at least 20 LAN cables and 20 USB cables. They were fucking everywhere. Just after I'd thought I'd neatly packaged them all up nicely, another would pop up.
The local real estate agent (wife of the contractor who is doing our addition) is promoting some block garage sale thing. Word to the wise: come by UCB's house on the 30th...there will be all sorts of computer crap for sale.
Especially power cables. Apparently, while I can throw away power supplies with no compunction, I am completely unable to through away power cables. (Either that, or all the power supplies are in the attic...I don't want to think about what's there.)
It blows me away the pure amount of stuff we have, all the more so when I realize that essentially 99% of it was aquired in the last fifteen years. When did we buy all this crap? The shear mass of it is astounding.
In economics, they talk about inflation, but I think that for certain sorts of stuff, deflation is the norm. At least, it seems to me that when I look at the price of "stuff" at the hardware store, it seems lower than I'd expect. Certainly anything dealing with electronics and computing has dropped in price, not risen. When I was a teenager, your basic fully equipped PC (an Apple ][) would set you back $4000. Now it's more like $1000 for a mid-ranged PC. It's even worse than it sounds because according to the CPI, $1 then is $2 now.
Much of it has been masked because manufacturers cram more and more features in to keep the price point the same. I bought a jigsaw last weekend, and it cost about what I suspect a jigsaw did in 1980. But this one had a laser.
Even the CPI itself is a bit misleading as they continually change the set of products they use to determine it. In 1900, they used things like "9 lb bag of rice". Now they use things like "Large box of cheerios". Over the course of the century, much of the price increase has been the move from bulk staples to packaged, processed foods.
It seems to me when I really think about it that the only things that are truly getting more expensive are land and fuel.
The upshot is that it seems like we have more stuff than I remember having as a kid. Not more luxury items so much as just more physical stuff. I don't think it's just us, either. Whenever we visit other people's houses, it seems like they are also bursting at the seems with crap. (Kids these days seem to have 10x the toys that we did as kids.)
I went through a pile of papers in a memento file last night. Lots of stuff I hadn't looked at in years. Cards from old girlfriends and such...not sure whether I should be keeping these.
One I found oddly depressing. There was this girl...call her L_. I went on one "date" with her...I doubt you could even call it that. It was a blind date...friend of friend. First generation American from Taiwan which I only mention because after the first date, which was a pretty chaste and dull affair, she invited me over to play backgammon or some such at which point, I met the parents. At the end of that, I got a chaste kiss.
At the time, I was so little in the "dating" space it wasn't funny. I was getting ready to go to the dorms at college, and I wasn't really into having a girlfriend. I'd been talked into the "date" in the first place and had been nothing but non-commital. I remember thinking not much about it all other then "why am I meeting her parents?"
After that, she went off to Europe before school started. I received a very odd card full of grammatical errors (sorry...I'm an elitist bastard) that seemed too...familiar. A letter in which she'd assigned me a pet name.
I pretty much ignored it...maybe I should have said something. Keep in mind my age...honestly it wasn't like I'd even *done* anything to give any sort of impressions other than show up at her house once.
Three weeks later, in the middle of my first weeks away from home, I received a card, which contained a long, rambling letter in which she "broke up" with me. I remember reading it thinking "she was my girlfriend!?" I read that letter again and found it intensely depressing. I hope she found someone and yet, I'm pretty sure I'm glad it wasn't me.
Anyway, that was my "first girlfriend", though I wasn't exactly aware of it at the time. (Half my relationship history could be ended with "though I wasn't exactly aware of it at the time".
I did find some other fun stuff. My first real paycheck (not counting the paper-route.) For forty hours labor I earned $117. I found a whole bunch of printouts of "funny" stuff found on BBSes. I tossed most of it when I realized that in this Internet enabled world, it's all out there for the taking.
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