All Booked Up

Well, Lynn has abandoned us once again, although by the time you read this she could have returned — just hopefully not too soon.

This was the big week of Lynn’s camping trip that wasn’t, and while she remains a bit chagrined that she backed off her plans to sleep on the ground in a tent, none of the rest of us are surprised to learn that decades after she last did it, camping is hard on aging bones — and it’s cold, when the overnight is 30 F, and it’s noisy, when your neighboring campers run their generator non-stop.

So Lynn took up the motel lifestyle as she jounced around southeastern Utah and into Arizona where the main objective of her trip — to tour Antelope Canyon — was cancelled on account of rain, followed by cancelled on account of debris. Mesa Verde was not part of the cancel culture, however, and it is from there she will return today. Just not too early, I hope.

Lest that sound uncharitable let me hasten to tell you that I also had A Plan while Lynn was rambling about: I was going to take a staycation and sort my books that just got thrown at random on shelves as I unpacked starting when we moved in three years ago.

And then my back and leg muscles tightened up, causing Lynn to think she was going to have to forego her trip and possibly take my plans off the shelf as well. I am happy to report, however, that after spending huge amounts of money, mostly on the emergency room which was probably least helpful, and getting acupunctured, dry needled, massaged and physical therapied (I’m sure that’s a verb), I am on the mend. Vacuuming, it turns out, still hurts, but my physical therapist refused my request for a note, saying neither of us was likely to win that one.

So Lynn left, and I started my staycation, which has been much more work than work would have been. Before it started, I envisioned having time every day to blog and otherwise idle my days away. But no. Instead, I pulled books off every shelf except in my room, where the books are semi-organized already, and stacked them on every flat surface I could find, including all of Lynn’s kitchen counters.

Then I found other things to do, like visiting friends who were here from out of town. And physical therapy. Drug runs for me and the cat. (None of those involved fetanyl, although I just learned from CBS that Colorado is at the literal crossroads for this scourge, with I-25 running straight up from Mexico and I-70 offering easy east-west dispersal.) Cleaning stuff, including the bookshelves. 400 loads of laundry. The daily stretches I’m managing to do every other day. Officiating volleyball, since I missed all the sports action last week.

And, in what takes up a staggering amount of the day, taking care of animals. Na Ki’o, it turns out when only one person is doing the jabbing, gets non-stop needles stuck in him daily, for insulin, vitamins and a pain med. He gets other pain meds orally, three times a day, plus something I give to him because the vet tells me to but I don’t know what it’s for, as well as tooth powder for the three teeth left in his mouth.

Bear is on four versions of pre- and pro-biotics, plus two kinds of tooth powder. While Marrakesh does not need anything other than food he consumes in unbelievable quantities, he does expect to be let in and out of various doors about 5,000 times a day.

So my book project isn’t done, although I feel I have made significant progress. The books are out of Lynn’s kitchen, that’s probably the main thing.

I did discover about six duplicate titles and learned some books I was sure I had I no longer own. Most impressively, I only stopped to read three of all these interesting books of mine, and I stopped myself on the third just yesterday, because now I’ll know where to find it.

My salsa sibling Wendy, a librarian, wanted to know if I was using Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal to categorize my books, but so far I’m just using the TL System. I’ve struggled with a couple: Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Everything, which is pretty thick for being short, is listed on the back as “science,” so that’s where I put it, right next to more history-is-science, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I haven’t actually read either of them.

The large preponderance of my books are all history, or pre-history, which involves archaeology, which is a science. Maybe my whole collection is really science and I just didn’t know this.

I have Colorado history and American West history, now all on four shelves in the guest room; I have the history of the Americas from 1491 through the 1930s (since I decided I could part with William Manchester’s Death of a President about the Kennedy assassination), now on three narrow shelves in chronological order.

My archaeology books lead into my ancient world/world history/treasure and exploration, all directly below ancient Greece (by which I really mean two general books, one treatise by an actual ancient Greek, and four books on Alexander the Great, none of which are the one I read that I promptly gave away because the author was so full of himself). All Grecian roads lead to Rome, of course, and from there it’s on to medieval Europe which gets us to Russia and then to the World Wars.

This does not count my pirate books, taking up a shelf, plus a second one for my sea-faring literature, except for the Hornblower series that I keep in my room because my uncle gave them to me. My collection on ancient Egypt, many of them glossy picture books, is a shelf and a half, with just the little bit of room I needed left over for the Middle East, starting with Babylon. And my one tiny paperback on Africa that is not Egypt, although it’s still about the Nile.

I don’t have a single history book on eastern Asia, although I do have one book on speaking Chinese in my foreign language section from the couple classes I took from my friend Shuling, where I learned to say “hello” and a few other things I can’t remember anymore. But at least I know where my book is now.

Lynn’s still going to find piles to complain about, although shelving is going better than expected as I try to find homes for my random social science collection and the five whole books (three of them on bicycling) that comprise my sports section. However, I did take care of her animals all by myself for a week, and that ought to be worth something.

Plus, my books are organized. Dewey and the Library of Congress might not approve, but I’m feeling good about it.

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