As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I are both doctoral students (in fact, as of this month, we’re both ABD – All But Dissertation – congratulations, John!). We’re currently living in Baton Rouge, LA, which is the city where John is a student at LSU, and it’s located more or less midway between Lafayette, LA, where I’m a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (about an hour’s drive) and New Orleans, where until this month I was a lecturer at Xavier University of Louisiana (an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half away, depending on traffic). Trying to teach full time AND be mom to a toddler AND work on a dissertation AND more recently bake bread every weekend because we’re trying to live on one lecturer’s salary and one grad student stipend has really been taking its toll on both me and John, which is why I said “until this month” when I mentioned my lecturership. John and I have done something that’s probably COMPLETELY insane and decided that in order to focus on my diss and my family, I would quit my job and we would move back to New York, where we would divide our time between his parents in the Hudson Valley and my parents on Long Island. Yes, for the next year, we’ll be living with our parents and in-laws.
On the one hand, we’re incredibly fortunate. We have not one but two sets of parents who are that supportive of us pursuing doctoral degrees in the humanities, even though they know what the job market is like. (Actually, having just typed that, I started to cry a little and the rest of this blog seemed a bit moot.)
While we’re already misty, here’s John’s parents with Danny when he’s about three months old, on his first visit to New York during Mardi Gras break 2009.
And here are my mom and dad with an almost-one-year-old Danny at our house this past Thanksgiving. *sniff*
To get un-verklemmt and continue, though, on the other hand, we are currently renting a two-bedroom house (okay, a small, falling-down two-bedroom shotgun shack – for real) and we have a LOT of stuff and we’re used to having our space. Again, the two sets of parents are being AMAZING about this. My dad is a United Methodist minister whose current appointment includes a parsonage that makes me feel a bit guilty for all those years I complained bitterly about how parsonages like the one on Seventh Heaven don’t really exist. John’s parents are going through every box in their basement to pare down and create a get-away space for us. These are PHENOMENAL people.
What John and I have actually been worried about? (Are you ready? This is absurd.) We don’t want to spend a year without access to our movie and music collections. That’s right: we don’t want to box up all our DVDs and CDs and put them out of our reach in the attic for a year and when we try to talk about which favorites we might want to keep accessible, you’d think we were talking about our children or at the very least, our cats.
(Our child meeting one of our cats about a year ago.)
So what we finally decided to do, and this will do us for the long haul until we are gainfully employed and can afford nice shelving/storage (and when we do that, books will come first, then music and movies -- and it might have to wait until we can buy a house and install built-ins), is put ALL our DVDs and CDs into books and box up all the cases for long-term storage.
We did all the DVDs Wednesday night and are now working on the CDs. Due to a combination of my having underestimated how many DVDs we own by about 150 (which means I’ve also underestimated how many CDs we have, total damage not yet known) and Target not stocking enough 256-disc books anyway, we’re going to need to buy some more materials, but here are the results of the DVD phase:
You see there nine bankers’ boxes of DVD cases and a total of four books containing all the DVDs from those cases; that is, two 256-disc and one 128-disc books of John’s and my DVDs and a 24-disc book of Danny’s DVDs, for a total of just shy of 670 DVDs (there’s some space in each book for new additions, but not a whole lot). I think even though we knew the movies would be a LOT more accessible this way, we were pleasantly surprised by the space-savings and are excited to do something on the same model with the CDs.
However: We have more CDs than we do DVDs. We're currently just about halfway done (as near as I can figure -- we're up to Ennio Morricone), and have filled a 320-disc book and almost filled a 256-disc book. I'm going to have to make another run to get more storage, and we've already bought out Target and Office Depot (the nice man at Wal-Mart told me they no longer carry CD albums). And we've already run into the first snag: CDs have liner notes that need to be archived in the books along with the discs, but they're exactly the same size as the pockets in the books and also floppy, which makes them next-to-impossible to get into the pages without damage. I got to somewhere in the Bs before I gave up on trying to archive liner notes, except in VERY special cases. And of course, that means that not all of the CDs "match" in the way they're archived, and that's the kind of thing that could send my obsessive-compulsive self into a tailspin in the middle of the night. But as sacrifices go, I think that's one I can live with.
I really, REALLY hope to be able to report soon that all the media archiving is done, the cases boxed, and the crappy shelving out on the curb (so if you're in the Baton Rouge area and in need of free, rickety CD or DVD storage, swing by and grab some!).