Bang Bang Bang Bang Saw Thump Bang

In my house at the moment are men who, in no particular order:

* Are tearing down one of the doors of my house

* Are sawing through the ceiling

* Are loitering in the master bathroom

Is it a zombie attack? Have I enraged the neighbors with my incessant playing of the new Journey album? Are the political pollsters particularly aggressive this year? None of the above. My wife arranged to have some need home improvements done, and they all decided to arrive on the same day. Now there’s a whole bunch of guys sawing and hammering and tiling and whatnot. This will be going on for most of the day. I’ve already decided that I’m not writing anything today that requires a whole lot of uninterrupted thought.

Meanwhile, Athena is staging a rescue mission:

Her mom is threatening to empty out the basement (a not entirely idle threat, as we had a dumpster delivered today) and Athena was warned that anything she wanted to keep out of the basement she had better bring up. Thus, the sudden population of stuffed animals in the kitchen. These refugees will no doubt be relocated, but considering that the reason that they were exiled to the basement in the first place was that there was no more room for them in Athena’s bedroom, exactly where that relocation will be is up in the air. I suspect Goodwill, eventually, although Athena may need convincing on that score. In the meantime, our kitchen center island overfloweth.

44 Comments on “Bang Bang Bang Bang Saw Thump Bang”

  1. Hey John, that looks like something I have to do too. My bathroom was leaking through the kitchen ceiling and now it is sagging. But with a three month old, I just can’t seem to find the time to fix it, or even to care.

    By the way, your blog is so awesome you have inspired me to write my own. You can check it out on the link. I had one on blogspot but I never posted to it and plus they are horrible so I took a cue from you and started one at wordpress. WAY better.

    I’m finishing up some short stories by Alastair Reynolds and then I’m going to dive into Zoe’s Tale. I can’t wait. Thanks for contributing to a genre I love so much and just generally being who you are.

  2. Oh my, that pile of animals looks familiar. Last time we moved, we packed as many of the stuffed animals as we could into a large office chair box. I believe the density may be sufficient to create a small singularity. I’m hoping that it will collapse in on itself without sucking in any of the house.

  3. Every middle-class parent has piles of stuffed animals like that from time to time. Ours languish in bags for a week or two before they go to Goodwill, to forestall sudden regret.

  4. Good lord, and I have twin girls; age three at the moment. Thank you so much for this premonition of the future. This is gonna be bad….

    You know you could always retreat to a coffee shop! :P

  5. I just had to do the same thing. I told my girls to pick out stuffed animals they couldn’t live without before we moved and put the rest in garbage bags where they sat in their closet for nearly six months.

    Off to good will they went when no one was looking! The sad part was, most of those animals belonged to me at one point.

    It was the hardest thing for me to do! ;)

  6. Awww, poor girl. Although, it looks like there may be some alien infiltration in there…that one doggy in the back has some suspiciously extraterrestrial features.
    Perhaps the SF writers are under some extra scrutiny?

    And the kitchen counter!!!!!!

  7. We haven’t yet had to do a stuffed-animal intervention (though it’s gotten pretty close) but we’ve found the most amicable way to pry our youngest from some of her excess Stuff is to find a particular person she knows (or meets) that we can give them to. (Goodwill in itself was a bit abstract for her.)

    So, she let go of the crib when we found (through Catholic Worker) a family that needed it and that we could take it to personally; she let go of some of her old toys and books when she could give them to our neighbor’s little boy on the next block (who she plays with sometimes), and so on.

    It seems to work fairly well for us (at least for stuff that can’t just be quietly disposed of unnoticed).

    In turn, a portion of our kids’ clothes and toys still comes from families with older kids in our neighborhood and family. For us, it’s all part of the Circle of Stuff.

  8. Have I enraged the neighbors with my incessant playing of the new Journey album?

    Regardless of whether it has anything to do with the construction or not, I think we can take that one as a given.

  9. While they’re there, have the tool guys cover Athena’s walls and ceiling with velcro. Stuffed animal storage problem solved!

  10. Save the Cthulhu puppet, the rest can go.

    Of course, Athena may have different ideas. I wonder if she’ll start worrying that when she starts off to school, the herd of stuffed animals will dwindle due to poaching.

  11. After the Sesame Street invasion, Muppet refugees relocated to small towns all across Ohio. Although the alleged weapons of Mass Destruction were never found, though Bert and Ernie remain at large.

    Members of the more violent Electric Company Liberation Organization, and known Muppet sympathizers Elmo and Grover have been granted asylum in North Korea, swearing to avenge the death of Rita Moreno…

    Hey, You Guys!!!

  12. Could be worse, John. You could be doing it yourself.

    Being that rare man who got his house in the divorce, I promptly went out and married that most common of over-30 women, the divorcee who got the house in the divorce. (Lest ye ask about the former Mrs. Winter, I’ve seen her new place and think it’d be a swell place to hold the HIGH CASTLE book launch, mainly because her backyard is even cooler than my deck. And my neighbors all envy my deck*.)

    So we are now in the process of prepping the new Mrs. Winter’s former residence for market.

    All by ourselves.

    Yeah, good thing houses are going for more than we owe on it in that neighborhood.

    *Deck envy is an ugly thing, really.

  13. Do I correctly see the evil bunny from Monty Python? If that is the case then I think Athena wins!

  14. Just a suggestion for the stuffed animals. Check with your local police department on whether they or any area child advocacy groups would have any use for them. Back when I was in college, I remember the local sheriff’s department would collect toys like that. They liked to have them on hand to give to small children that were being taken into protective custody. I realize that might not be a big problem in your neck of Ohio, but even if your police department doesn’t have a need for them they might still be able to tell you who would. Athena might be a little more willing to part with her animals if she knows they’re going to comfort children that are really in need of a good, huggable friend.

    Also, good Lord, man! Aren’t your nearest neighbors something like five acres away? How big are your speakers that the new Journey album is loud enough to disturb them? Are we talking Doc Brown’s speakers from Back to the Future? If so… I’m a little jealous.

  15. You know that stuffed animals really prefer to be refered to as “pleasantly filled”? Gotta get with the PC program ;-)

    Great idea to send them to someone who can distribute them to scared kids in need!

  16. I’ve heard a good hack for the overpopulation of stuffed animals is to stuff a bean bag chair with them. A quick google resulted in this product but I bet you could use any bean bag as long as you are willing to dispose of the beans yourself.

    At age 34 I still have not dealt with my own population of stuffed animals, but luckily for me, my father is as attached to his stuff as I am…so they are living in his basement among the rest of the stuff.

  17. My first thought was ‘why isn’t Athena at school?’; then I remembered that in civilized places school doesn’t start for two more weeks, instead of two weeks ago. My second thought was ‘wow, that’s some collection. I wonder if I still have that many stuffed animals in my parent’s garage?

  18. Oh, I have so so SO been there.

    At one point my daughter was told in very certain terms that if the Fuzzies did not voluntarily and radically depopulate, furniture in her room would have to be removed to provide space.

    The local children’s home received a vanload.

  19. I think every infant should have the right to be buried in stuffed animals, and so do very small children. I think this right erodes with time, and Athena is to the age when…choices must be made.

    Still, that’s an impressive pile. I think the Vorpal Bunny and Great Cthulu should be high on the “keep” list, but that’s up to Athena.

  20. In the town where I grew up, the Fire Department took stuffed animal donations. The ambulance carried a few at all times for kids who were sick/injured to hang onto.

  21. Somewhere online you will find nets that can be slung in the upper corners of bedrooms to hold excess stuffed animals — rather like arks for critters that it is too soon to give up.

  22. Looks like our 10 yr old daughter’s stash, except smaller. Alia’s got three large bins in the closet, each labeled with the type of animal, plus the under-bed storage and the desk-top that we haven’t seen in months because of the mountain of stuffed animal Friends. She’s decided that every vacation/trip needs to be commemorated with a new Friend. We’re okay with that, as she earns the money for the Friend by doing extra chores around the house during the lead-up to the vacation. She’s also taken to photographing each one, importing the photos into iPhoto and then labeling each photo with the Friend’s name and location (bin, desk, bed, etc). Occasionally Alia will drag all of the Friends out, divide them up into groups that cover the whole living room (usually as Warrior Cat clans), and then have day-long dramas with them. During the last drama, one of the housecats got buried under a two-deep layer of Friends. Scared the dickens out of me when the mound started to move on its own…!

  23. Probably the best use for stuffed animals is target practice.

    A blowgun would have the advantage of pinning the things to the walls, out of the way (if properly done).

  24. See, there you are looking for a zombie attack and completely miss the stuffed animal attack. Bringing brains to a fluff fight — oh when will you learn?

    Dr. Phil

  25. Let me know if you find a charity that actually takes the stuffed animals and uses them, rather than throwing them away. The charities around me can’t take stuffed animals because they can’t be sufficiently sterilized (e.g. boiled), and I would guess that there may be as many of the creatures in my house as in yours.

  26. Dr. Phil, “Bringing brains to a fluff fight” is precious! In this context you mean it literally, but I’m going to use it the next time someone’s arguing online with a Young-Earth Creationist.

  27. Let me know if you find a charity that actually takes the stuffed animals and uses them, rather than throwing them away.

    Er, if that became the case I can think of fan charity auctions that would be happy to have a Scalzi-signed plushy…or is that a Scalvi-singed plushy?

  28. You know you could always retreat to a coffee shop! :P

    First, that wouldn’t fool anyone. Secondly, much harder to keep Athena occupied (and uncaffeinated) there.

  29. Last summer when I was home my mom made me go through all my stuffed animals that were still in my parents’ attic. I did let her throw a lot of them out, but it was highly traumatic. There were tears.

    Yes, I’m 29 years old, but there’s some major memories there! Stuffed animals are special!

  30. I was going to suggest that you encourage Athena to give them away to people who have clamored for your ARCs but didn’t get them. However, I like the fan charity auction suggestion better.

  31. John,
    I am here to tell you, it could be much, much worse.
    I have one evil word here for you:


    Dude, trust me, you DO NOT want to know!


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