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In the next month or so, I will have a “roommate.” And although I have had roommates before, I haven’t had one in seven years and never one of this sort.

To prepare, I have been going through old things and throwing out what I need and don’t need to make room for said roommate and his belongings. However, he won’t have many belongings, so this task isn’t actually physically necessary, but more spiritually so.

Cleaning for me is like losing weight. If I plan to do it, I never will. So I take advantage of spurts of energy and motivation (which is usually just procrastination of something else I don’t want to be doing) and go through the large plastic cartons I must have bought from Target years ago.

I hate moving, and for someone my age who is not married, I haven’t moved all that much. But when I moved seven years ago I felt like a fugitive. Very quickly, I had to leave a place where I was living with roommates (one of which was my brother who was getting married and moving into a house with his wife) to find somewhere to live and settle in. The funny thing about this is that for at least six months prior, I knew I’d be moving, but I thought I’d be moving to Israel with my then fiancé.

So when I moved out of my brother’s condo in June of 2004 I didn’t clean out much of anything, just placed unnecessary remnants in plastic containers, and I have maintained this pattern since. I’m not a hoarder or anything, but as I sort through the big plastic boxes of documents, bills and sometimes random items, I’m forced to confront my past.

Since I started cleaning (which was embarrassingly enough last August—I know, I know, like I said, it’s not my strength) the boxes are (not surprisingly) stacked in order of years like an archaeological dig. This is accidental, because if I had an organizational prowess, I wouldn’t have the stacks in the first place. So today I cleaned 2007. What I found (of interest):

1. My parents’ trusts
2. All of the manuals to my kitchen appliances and car
3. A pearl necklace. The box makes it look like it’s valuable. Who gave me a pearl necklace in 2007?
4. A wrist radio that I worked out with (I know that sounds like 1997, but it was in there).
5. The medal from riding the M.S. 150.

Recently, my roommate-to-be explained to me the process of construction in Israel. (I knew this already, but because he is a tour educator he sometimes adds interesting facts, which he did.) Because there are so many artifacts, all construction is stopped and delayed if any antiquities are found during the process of digging. Once the site has been properly excavated and recorded, construction can continue. This makes the process of building anything in Israel long and arduous.

So, it makes me laugh to hear people complain about the amount of time it took to open a Trader Joe’s on Clark and Diversey, just as it makes others laugh that it’s taken me seven months to go through four years of boxes.

What can I say? I guess I’m on Ramses II's time table.

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