The GREAT BOOK PURGE of 2014!

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Finally our Town scheduled a “Big Trash” pickup. These pickups used to be an annual event – when I say “event”, I mean an “event”. It was as if a newsletter went out to all of the surrounding towns and as soon as one piece of “big trash” hit the curb, the caravans of cars and pickup trucks descended. DC and I moved to this town 20 years ago, for the school system. At the time this town had the best special education  program in the state. We moved here from a relatively big city, where to be honest, I thought I’d seen everything, until “Big Trash Day” came around, that is…….. I had never seen anything like this… but I digress.

Due to budget cuts, “Big Trash” pickup went from every year to every other, then finally there was no pick up at all.  This year, the town decided to schedule a “Big Trash” event in April. It has been about 5 years since the last one.

As many of you know, DC loves books. His favorite activity is going to the bookstore. I’m sure he averages 3 or 4 visits per month. This means we have hundreds of books squashed in our little house. He has so many, that I really can’t keep track of what he has. If he’s picking out a book at the store, I don’t really remember if he already has it at home and he really doesn’t care if he already has it. Obviously if it is a Disney book, I know he has at least 4 or 5 versions of the particular story but I really can’t remember if he has the version he wants to buy…..or……… I know he HAD it at one time, but we may have gotten rid of it during the last “Big Trash” event. Needless to say, we end up with many duplicates.

His books and his DVDs are two things I will never be able to keep track of.

Because DC “edits” all of his books, they really can not be donated. They are just unreadable to anyone else but DC.

Book Editing

Book Editing

editbook

I have taken some flack over the years for letting DC write in his books because they can not be donated later. This is true, we can not donate them and I am left with a large amount of books that I have to get rid of without breaking the recycling and/or garbage man’s back.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always purchase items based on if or where I can donate them later. If an item can be donated later, it will be.

DC is allowed to write in his own books, he does not write in library books, he does not write in books that do not belong to him.

He is allowed to write in his books because it is beneficial to his language/conversation skills, his vocabulary and his comprehension.

Yes, some of his editing is obsessive. One of the many versions of the “Wizard of OZ” that he owns was an older version where the “Tin Man” was referred to as “The Tin Woodsman”. He went through every single page of the 200-plus page chapter book and colored out (crossing out is not good enough) the word “Woods” on every page, so that it read “Tin Man”.

He also likes his chapter numbers to be written out. Chapter 1 has to be edited to read “Chapter One” and so on. Every other day he will ask, “Mom, would you spell twelve”. I do not know why after all this time he can spell every other number, but not twelve, but for some reason, he can’t. There are many other words he will me to spell but “twelve” is a constant.

Recently ~and I really think this is great because he figured it out by himself ~he has become interested in Roman Numerals.
He figured out that the V means ‘five’, so along with spelling out the chapter numbers, he is also assigning them his version of a Roman Numeral. I say his version because he knows V is 5, so Chapter 13 is edited to read “VIIIIIIII” or sometimes “IIIIIIIIV”. In any case, he is adding 5 (V) + 8 (I’s) to get to 13. He was never big on numbers, so if his own version of Roman Numerals moves his mind into “math mode”, all the better.

The obsessive editing aside, he changes sentences into new sentences that make sense. He changes words into words that mean the same thing. He will ask me from time to time what a word means and then comes up with an edit for that word that means the same thing. He is learning, he is writing full sentences, he is learning what words mean and there’s a little bit of math happening, so YES, I let him write in his books.

The problem has always been just what to do with these books when they begin to take over the house.

It has been suggested, that I should just do a little bit at a time, this way I can throw them in the recycling bin without being the cause of a Workers Comp injury for the trash hauling company.

I can not do just a little bit at a time because:

– DC gets nervous.
– We would be going through the same shelf every week, because as soon as there is a space a book or books gets shoved in it.
– If I went through all of it at one time and just got rid of them a little bit at a time I would still end up with a huge pile of books somewhere in the house and he would slowly begin to add them back into his collection.

I made the mistake of throwing away 9 or 10 books about 15 years ago. They were books I was sure he hadn’t looked at or touched in years, but he knew! For years, until just recently, whenever he left the house to get on the bus for school and then work, his last words to me were “Books are staying here”, every single day.

When I heard there was a “Big Trash Day” scheduled in April, I began getting DC ready. I talked to him about his books everyday until the week of. I explained that we were going to go through all of his books and he would tell me which ones we were going to “keep” or “throw away”. I explained that we would not throw away anything unless it was all right with him. I also explained that we would go through all of his books together and I would not do any of this without him.

We couldn’t start too early, because having the books he opted to throw away hanging around for any length of time would really bother him and he would slowly move them back to the books shelves. We had to have everything out on the curb by Sunday evening, so DC and I started sorting on Thursday night.

We started with his living room book-case. We went through each and every book. I was surprised at the amount of books he decided to throw away. I’m sure he was already planning to replace them a little bit at a time during his many future trips to the book store.

On Friday, I had a medical appointment and I was not allowed to lift anything heavy for the day, so we lost a “sorting day” right out of the gate. On Saturday we started in his room. We were attending a  fundraiser that evening so between the sorting of books I was getting phone calls and texts to look for this and that and people wanting to drop items off for the fundraiser. I started getting anxious about all of these books. This book purge had to be completed today, before 4pm when we left of the fundraiser because DC was spending the night and the next day at his Dad’s – he was going to take DC directly from the fundraiser and I had promised DC that I would not sort or throw away anything with out his approval.

His room took almost all day and in the process, I threw out my back, carrying said books downstairs. Now I thought I would not be going anywhere at all that evening, never mind  getting through all of his books, but DC was a great help.  Going through his room made me feel like I was in an episode of “Hoarders” –  it always does.  It is just amazing how many books he can fit in his little room!

You probably can't see it but there are more stuffed under the coffee table

You probably can’t see it but there are more stuffed under the coffee table

We did it! I told DC over and over again how proud I was of him, so he wouldn’t start getting anxious about all of the books that were going away and because I WAS very proud of him for agreeing to get rid of so many! The following day, Doug came over and hauled them all outside. When DC came home from his Dad’s on Monday morning in time for his transportation to work, they were all gone, so he never gave it another thought.

No worries, though. He has plenty of books left to edit and I assume he is already plotting the replacement all of the books that went away with nice, new clean versions to edit all over again.  These shelves will be over flowing again in a few months time.

DC's room

DC’s room

Livingroom

Living Room

And…… we did find 40 or 50 books that were not
edited and we were able to donate.

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2 thoughts on “The GREAT BOOK PURGE of 2014!

  1. Pingback: “You can’t stop the signal, Mal” | Taking it a Step at a Time

  2. Pingback: 2016 Top 5 Posts, #4 – “You can’t stop the signal, Mal” | Taking it a Step at a Time

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