Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Archivist

I could have used Pepper the cat's services these past few days.
Some early Spring-like days have, as they usually do, temporarily inspired us to get into some clean-up project.  This urge usually fades away before any window-washing occurs.  Let's not get crazy.
It's a good thing that the financial heart of the Rice enterprise is physically located in the basement, in, on and around the big wood desk, because appearances do matter.  Since it is out of sight, we have tended to do less than diligent filing; it's been what is more accurately described as piling and jamming (wherever there's a little crack to put a paper in).
What started it all was not being able to find the file folder to put the latest life insurance statement in.  It had slumped out of sight, fat with previous statements that are rendered useless once a new one arrives.  But are the old ones removed and smartly shredded?  No...
So it began.  Each file was removed, purged, relabelled or replaced as required, and returned to a soldierly upright position.  Consolidation was called for:  medical records alone were in at least four separate folders.  Eye exam results from 2004 and other treasures from the near or distant past soon made a considerable reject stack.
The worst was the checkbook registers, bank statements and old checks -- going back to 1981!  Long-forgotten daily events floated into view as they went into the shredder a half-dozen at a time:  Baby's Dy-Dee Service, $5 to $7 weekly, cable TV bill payment of $12 (!), mortgage of $432 (!), names of individuals I couldn't recognize at all, and businesses long gone like Murphy's Mart, Drug Fair, Hills Department Store, Pathmark grocery and Rea & Derick.  I can't even recall where they were except for Hills, which is now a cinema multiplex.
I filled six cardboard boxes with shredding, and our plucky machine did not falter.  The red light did come on three times, so I gave it and myself a deserved rest.
We put the old typewriter out with the trash.  Missing a "5" key and an "e," it really had more past than future.  And where would you get a ribbon?  Threw out a box of carbon paper also, although maybe a museum of American Office Life would have wanted it.
We use the safe (not NCR paper, for example) shredded paper as filling for B.B. Bunny's litter pan.  And we need a lot of it, because he's a big eater.  But he is eleven years old, and I doubt we'll use all six boxes (but he may surprise us -- he's never been sick).  The cats -- fuggedaboutit.  They require expensive stuff.
I guess we're good for a while, since it took thirty years to accumulate that hoard.
As for Spring cleaning projects, I think we're done.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! I do that every year (after the massive cleanup) and shred away, but here is a funny story. Verizon called me and said they had a problem with the bill. I went online and they wanted the account number or a telephone number. I did not have any record of an account number and the telephone was the one before my present number. I have no record of either so the account will just have to die and be restarted. Oh well.