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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The War for Prince Phillip

I spent the last two weeks up in Minnesota, trying to help my parents downsize so they can move down to Georgia with me. To say it was a challenge is understating things. I have two pack-rats on my hands and they've lived in the same house since the 1960s. I thought, though, that it would be easy to get rid of books no one has looked at in twenty or thirty years. I was wrong.

First, let me say I'm hugely sympathetic to the book issue. I donated more than 3000 books before I moved from Minnesota to Atlanta, but I used it as an opportunity to get rid of books I was clearly never going to read. I also donated books that I'd read and didn't love (according to my spreadsheet). The books I'd read before I started keeping track? Well, I figured if I couldn't remember anything about a title and if it wasn't by a must-buy author, it could go. I haven't missed any of the books I gave to the library.

Since it only took a glance for me on most of my books, I expected it to be that quick and easy for my parents. Not so much. My mom had to browse through every book to see if she wanted to read it. I say if you haven't read it in thirty years, it can go.

I certainly didn't expect to have to argue over dozens and dozens of titles and yet that's what happened. I managed to win some of the skirmishes, but not all. We went into Day Two on books.

This was the day I lost more battles than I should have. I did get my mom to part with one bird book because she had another one already in her keep pile, but it became more and more ridiculous as the day wore on. And then we hit the war for Prince Phillip. For real. Somehow, and don't ask me how because no one in my family has ever given a rip about the royal family, my mom acquired a book about Prince Phillip. She wanted to keep it.

I said no.

You see, I'd had enough by this point. My mom kept books on gardening that she doesn't need since she'll be living in a condo and hasn't gardened in a good ten years. Not just one or two, but dozens. She refused to consider getting rid of them. She also kept books on knitting, sewing, and embroidery. She's never done any of these things! And since my lack of domestication came from her, I can say with 99.99% accuracy that she will never do any of those things.

And then we ran into the Prince Phillip book. We didn't really argue, argue, but we did have a ten minute discussion on donating it. I said yes, my mom wanted to hang on to it. I guess she's going to develop an interest in the British royal family right after she learns how to knit and do needlepoint. ::snort::

I did win the Prince Phillip war. He'll be going to the library. Unfortunately, I lost too many other battles that day.