Monday, July 02, 2007

it was all. that i could do. to keep from cryin'.

Where have I been? In a word - Burbank.

Yes, Burbank. The town that was first introduced to the American consciousness by Laugh-In has been the home of this summer's obligatory self-perpetuating Halo project. On the whole, I prefer it to Compton, the home of last summer's Sisyphusian endeavor. There are three coffee shops within walking distance, and it's very liberating to be able to plan a work project without having to worry about getting shot at.

I also like Burbank because it seems to achieved something of an equilibrium between local independently-owned establishments and the usual fare of corporate ubiquity. You can opt for Starbucks or the insanely great For the Love of the Bean. The latter features live music and comfortable seats. Starbucks would sooner have live griffins in their stores than either of those.

But I digress. Onto the work which has so consumed me, along with any practical notion of down-time.

This particular church has on its property a certain parsonage - which if you are unawares of what that might be, it is a small house located next to a church wherein the pastor of said church may reside cheaply.

The previous pastor of this church lived there for 16 years. He and his wife collected things. He and his wife elected to not ever clean the parsonage. Now, take those two concepts and multiply them by the depths of infinity, and you will have tasted but a mere drop from the cold black ocean of what I will attempt to describe to you.

I find myself unable to accurately describe the condition of this house, for two reasons. The first is attributable entirely to fault of my own. I usually speak in exaggerations. I am known to speak of hamburgers as having changed my life, or having ripped a hole in my favorite sweater as making me wish that I were dead. Thusly, I find myself to be the boy who cried the wolf of rhetoric.

But secondly, the English language possesses neither adjective nor expletive up to the task of conveying what we found in this house. We will do this Dragnet-style. Just the facts. Ma'am.

Thousands of vinyl records in conditions ranging from arguably playable to Stachybotrys repository. Scores of stuffed animals - many of which had lost limbs to the jaws of their rodent cohabitants.

There was green mayonnaise and popcorn from 1995. There were newspapers stacked floor to ceiling. Thousands of VHS tapes, recording everything from Dark Shadows to Saturday morning cartoons.

Let us talk about the basement. It looked a crime scene from Se7en. The trash was piled chest-high. And that's my chest, which is a very high chest, because I am 6'9". In Texas that's a slightly above-average height.

As we began to clean out what can only be described as a sub-landfill, we found: A couch. Two recliners. And an organ. The instrument kind of organ. And if you think that I really didn't need to make that distinction, you clearly have not begun to grasp what I am describing to you.

Think about that for a bit... We found a couch, two recliners, and an organ. As in - when we started, we could not see them, and had to excavate them, like Pompeii, but infinitely more tragic. And if you were wondering - yes. It was a sleeper couch.

Ya know, I can't do it. It's too difficult. I've been blogging for 4 years and I am now without words. I'll just let the camera phone do the talking.

Master Bedroom: Before, After, More After.

Living Room: Ditto.

We also found a secret passageway. The basement had this little nook filled with junk. The kitchen had a random skinny closet filled with junk. As the kitchen team and the basement team progressed through their respective tasks - they met up. Imagine cleaning out a closet, and suddenly finding your friend, whose look of shock no doubt reciprocates your own.

Rod Serling's House

All that you see there we accomplished in three Saturdays. The rest of our time there has been spent landscaping, painting, stuccoing, et al. Normal work which I find to be generally less emotionally scarring.

Also, in a few weeks I will be going to Hawaii. I wanted to go to Iceland. Martha wanted to go to Hawaii. So we compromised, and we're going to Hawaii. But it's a free vacation, and I can use the time to stalk Juliette. Because our love transcends the bounds of fiction.