Thank you for the letter and the birthday card. And thanks for the money; by a strange coincidence I received it within minutes of a bill for changing my car's fuel filter for the same amount. So consider that my present. Not a very fun gift, but propitious. I'm a little vexed with myself for not writing more often, or not sending what I do write on time. Following is a letter written a month ago that languished on my hard drive till now. If it seems curiously stuck on news from my workplace, that's because it was based on a letter I sent to a fellow ER tech who is in the Marine Reserves and was sent to Iraq in April. You may remember Zach from a previous letter. It was quite a shock to all of us when he was called into active duty and had to leave. Of course, I'm sure the shock was worst for him. He sent us a letter and seemed to be in murky waters (maybe not the proper metaphor for being stationed in a desert), but so far we haven't heard any bad news. A doctor in Athens who was in the Army Reserves was called into duty and is leaving soon for Iraq as well.
You might have already heard my biggest news. After years of dreaming and planning, Michael finally bought a house. He was getting much more active in his search in the last few months, but a lot of close deals fell through. Finally he got one next to the Athens airport, a small commuter port between Athens and the next little town, Winterville. The house is pleasant but unremarkable. He loves it because he can keep it clean and uncluttered; I would call it boring for just that. He offered me a chance to move over there, but the house is even smaller than this one and a long way from work, so I declined. And since then I've spent much of my free time doing what Michael pestered me to do for years, get rid of some of the clutter. I've decided to lighten my load as much as possible, so I'm having a yardsale, and I am plowing my way through five or six years of accumulated junk and weight. That's one of my main criteria, to get rid of things that weigh the most. So almost all of my traditional furniture is going in the yardsale: 3 desks, 3 chests, sofa, loveseat, wooden shelves. The futon bed is still being debated. What will be left are these incredible modular plastic shelves that fill my warehouse, bedroom, and kitchen. I told you about them in a previous letter, how I really saw their usefulness when I got my circular saw to them. First I replaced wooden shelves, then chests; my next project is to make a central computer desk out of them. I'll let you know how that works, maybe send you a picture when I figure it out.
The yardsale project has been a huge chore. And I never could have done it without Michael's old bedroom being empty. That is my staging/sorting ground and storage facility. It is getting packed with all my detritus. And I sort through boxes and boxes of stuff, I am putting on pricetags as I go. Then when I am ready for the sale, I will just have to haul it out to the yard. When I first started, I proposed to myself to have it on the first Saturday in August, but that was yesterday and the end of the preparations are not in sight. The more I put in the room, the more I find to put in there. I've even found some gems on the side of the road to add to the load.
It's bedtime and I have to work tomorrow. I'll write more soon, but I want to make sure I get this in the mail. Give everyone my love.