Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, also Free on Amazon for Kindle Unlimited readers or $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bogged Down in Books

Although I originally had thoughts about staying in Brooklyn after my husband came back to Roanoke, with each passing minute I knew that wasn't going to happen. I always say Brooklyn never fails to disappoint, and this trip was no exception. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Brooklyn, with the hate part usually winning out after a couple of days. What can I say...I've grown soft and appreciate the less-stress lifestyle I have become accustomed to. I have no patience/time for broken promises and appeasing anyone who doesn't have time for me. Many of the things/social activities I did when I was younger no longer appeal to me. My priorities have changed, yet I still don't want to sell the Brooklyn home. I know if I do, I will never visit there again, and I don't want that to happen. It's hard to shake the New York out of someone who was born there.

Anyway, at the last minute I changed my mind about the percentage of my staying there, the scales began tipping to no, and decided we should rent a car in Virginia and then leave it in Brooklyn while we drove back in the U-Haul truck. If I changed my mind and decided to stay, I wouldn't need a car there anyway. So we rented a vehicle we thought we might have an interest in purchasing figuring this would be a good test to see if we liked it or not. I highly recommend this practice. We decided on a Chrysler 300 and at first loved it. Driving on the highway it got great mileage and even told us how many miles we had to go before we ran out of gas. It wasn't that roomy inside for a "full-sized" car, and with each time we got in and out of it, it became harder and harder to do so easily. Creak, creak.

As is the usual practice, once we hit the city I take over the driving. I quickly realized the car had too many blind spots for me and the shape of it made parking hard. It was like I couldn't see where the front nose ended nor where the back began. The wonderful mileage we had experienced on the highway dropped to crappy as soon as the car hit those city streets. Suddenly the tank was draining quite quickly and I thought the gauge must have been broken as I would be driving two city blocks and the mileage left before running out of gas meter would drop one mile! By the end of the week neither one of us liked the car and we decided that maybe a car isn't the best vehicle for us to get after all, and perhaps we should look into a small SUV. We'll see.

Back to the task at hand, and boy was it a task. It took my husband and me almost three days to pack up all the books, magazines and tapes. Since they had been in the basement over six years I had to examine each one to see how much damage it had undergone.

We lost a lot of stuff during the last flood when the closet collapsed taking many periodicals with it. That was the breaking point for me and when I realized my brother was not only not being a caretaker, but had no intention of ever trying to sell anything.

My father had always said he would never live long enough to read all the books, or watch all the movies he had acquired. He also said after he was gone to not just throw his collection away. He said it was "worth something." Maybe. Things are only "worth something" if one has a buyer. I was willing to give it a shot so when my husband said he wanted to take an old wood-working table that was in the basement I figured we could rent a van and take that and whatever periodicals were in decent condition. We quickly found out that we couldn't rent a van one-way and round-trip was too expensive so a U-Haul truck seemed to be the best option.

Since we were renting a truck my husband asked his mother about the pinball and arcade machines he had been promised years ago which were being stored in her basement. When she said he could have them, without paying for them like he's had to in the past, I was shocked! I figured there must be something wrong with them. We were told they were fine, however, the legs had been removed and they were stacked away in a closet. I told my husband to forget them but he insisted they would be okay so what could I say. I thought a ten foot truck would be large enough, but he thought he should go for the fourteen foot one. For the extra hundred dollars there was a ramp which would make our lives easier. So that's what we did. And good thing we did.

It took us another full day to load the truck. My brother and cousin helped at the house. When we arrived at my husband's mother's house, the machines were already waiting in the driveway. They were in poor condition with broken glass and water damage on the bottom of two of them. The main pinball machine that my husband wanted had been sold! They were really heavy and awkward but my brother-in-law had his friends there to help load the truck.

 We barely fit everything in. My husband asked for the keys to the machines and then he was told they couldn't find them.  Those machines are useless without them. Was I surprised? Nope, not one bit.

The following morning we drove back to Virginia. My husband's friend had a forklift so he was able to get those machines out and the boys piled the rest of the books, magazines and tapes in the bays of the shop.

I had no room at the house to store any of this crap, and we needed to have those bays cleared, so my husband proved once again how much he loves me. He offered to take down his Dallas Cowboys shrine at the shop and build shelves for me. Over the weekend he measured, bought the wood, built the shelves and got everything, well, most everything on them. He did a great job.

Once we realized how musty everything smelled, I knew it is going to be a process to get rid of that funkiness. Thank God we didn't bring it back to the house. The fresh cut wood used to build the shelves already is helping. We placed industrial fans on everything for three days to get the dampness out of it. Then I bought more plastic containers and placed books in there with boxes of baking soda along with dryer sheets.

I have begun to catalogue everything. I'm starting with the books. There are three main collections, entertainment, history and baseball. I'm starting with entertainment since that is the largest collection. I'm creating spreadsheets organizing each book by author. Everyday I devote a couple of hours to this. I start by pulling all the A's & B's and placing them in the baking soda buckets. I then take one book at a time, clean it the best I can, look inside for all the info and then fill out the spreadsheet which looks like this:

After I input the info I put them back in the buckets. After a week, I'm still on the B's. When the buckets get full I will then begin to shelf the A's. Then I will go onto the next letter. This is not going to be a bing-bang-boom job. It's a process. And every time I feel overwhelmed, I will hit one of the bar codes on a random book and see if it's worth anything. Like this one...

A used copy is selling on Amazon from $199 to $349. Like I said before, it's only worth something if there is a buyer. So once I get to a point where I am in control of the inventory, I will then make a website to attract film buffs. I haven't figured out the best way to go about selling this stuff -- direct, eBay, Amazon? I have no freaking idea. In my "spare time" I've been reading eBay for Dummies and the like. If anyone has any advice they can give me, please do. I've already spent over $2,000 on just getting this collection out of danger and I would love to recoup at least that much. Meanwhile, even though I am bogged down in books, I tell myself my father is happy I have taken over. I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

Stay tuned...


  1. Elena, you are still a good daughter after all these years. After reading your book about your father, I believe you are right that he would be happy you are preserving the books. Hope you find buyers for many of them. I guess you'll use e-bay, Amazon etc..I think Craigs List might bring you some buyers, especially if you post in the DC area. Good Luck!