Tales from the attic

There are at least a half dozen boxes of file folders filled with something called “letters.” These are pieces of correspondence that people used to write with something called a “pen.”

This is possibly not true of some people, but I like being able to actually be able to FIND specific things in the attic. I don’t have patience rummaging through a dozen and half boxes.

So the area has been a source of frustration for the last three years. First, everything got put into one half of the attic, while the other part was being insulated by spray foam insulation contractors in Houston – First Defense Insulation. Then my wife wanted to paint the insulated half; while I still find that step unnecessary, it does look better. Six weeks of being able to at least get to stuff.

Then the other half had to be insulated, so all the stuff was jammed into the painted half. This process was interrupted by the need to get the roof replaced, a legit issue. But then the room remained undone, month after month, while the contractor dealt with a series of other people’s needs, some of their emergencies. But once it hit a year, I got irritated and asked him if he wanted us to find someone else. (I hardly dealt with him; he was my wife’s contractor for a number of years, and I was loath to interfere.) Once he did return to the room, we discovered the floor needed to be reinforced, and that’s actually a nice addition.

Finally, a full attic, accessible! Well, if you call the narrowest steps around a bend I’ve ever experienced “accessible.” A project for the future.

I care to get to things upstairs because I have two bookcases up there with books. Couldn’t reach them for too long a time; now I can! And now I must put more books in the attic since the shelving in the office is jam-packed.

There are at least a half dozen boxes of file folders filled with something called “letters.” These are pieces of correspondence that people used to write with something called a “pen”, or occasionally written using a device known as a “typewriter.” Based on something I read a long time ago, there are even copies of a few letters I wrote back; I used “carbon paper” when I typed or, usually, hand-printed, because my cursive tended to smear the copy.

I did discover some things I knew were up there but couldn’t get my hands on, such as a bunch of Beatles mono box CDs that got put in a box while painting; a bunch of FantaCo publications, helpful because I’m one of two guys indexing them; my stash of TV Guide season previews; the one box of comic magazines I inadvertently failed to sell when I dumped my collection in 1994, with Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Rampaging Hulk, and Savage Sword of Conan; plus the comics I was buying but had all but stopped reading in 1992 and 1993.

While I got rid of some old bank statements. I kept wedding and funeral programs and the like because it’s the only way I can remember whether a particular event took place in 2005 or 2007.

Oh, and I’d give these away to people, even shipping them within the US (because that international postage has gotten outrageous): I have a cache of green and white buttons that have “Choose Peace” imprinted, vintage the period just before the Iraq war. I also have about five dozen copies of “And don’t call me a racist!” A treasury of quotes on the past, present, and future of the color line in America / Selected and arranged by Ella Mazel.

The process of sorting involved schlepping boxes downstairs because the attic is too hot after about 10 a.m. One Sunday, I was carrying a particularly large box from the second to the first floor when I dropped it. It broke open, sending a cascade of paper products down the stairs like a waterfall; it was, at the moment, actually quite impressive.

Its name is Bond: Savings Bond

The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

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Our family – mostly I – is cleaning out our attic, and that fact MAY become the source of several blog posts. I have noted that it has become a bit of a sore point. We all have stuff up there, but I have items that are relegated there because there’s no room on floors one and two, according to the powers that be. So I have two bookcases, with books, that I would be inclined to access, e.g.

When we decided to get the attic insulated, it took THREE years. Moving all the stuff to half of the attic, then have it insulated. Then paint it, which I would have skipped. And for a brief time – maybe six weeks, the attic was again a usable space. But then time to insulate the other half, so everything’s then in the OTHER half of the room. And this took the contractor FOREVER to do, until I got…rather grumpy about it, let’s say. Room gets insulated; floor, which was weakened, was repaired; room (again, I believe unnecessarily), was painted.

NOW, finally I could put things from one side of the attic into the other, rather than have everything packed to the ceiling on one side, where I can’t access/find anything. Some of the clutter are old bills and the like, which I WOULD have gotten to a couple years ago, if that had been possible.

One box, I quickly determine was receipts of The Wife’s, all from 2004, the year the Daughter was born. One thing I DID take out was a $50 savings bond. Hmm, I wonder what it’s worth. I go to the TreasuryDirect calculator, and discover that a $50 savings bond purchased in April 2004 doesn’t mature until April 2034. The $25.00 outlay has gained $6.96 in interest, currently at 0.63%, and is now worth a whopping $31.96.

I then remember that I have a about two dozen $100 savings bonds, purchased for $50 each, from the mid-1990s, and I should check their value.

The first one, purchased 01/1993, has gained $89.56 in interest, is still gaining at 4.00%, and is now worth $139.56, more than face value. Cool.

The first ones I got in the next two years are worth somewhat less: the one I purchased 02/1994 has $57.56 in interest, still at 4.00%, for $107.56. 01/1995 has $53.72 in interest, at 4.00%, for $103.72.

But then it drops off badly. My 01/1996 purchase $50.00 has made $50.00 in interest, but is getting only 0.59% interest now. And the last one I bought, in 08/1997 has garnered only $36.20 in interest, and is receiving only 0.63%.

So if I were to have to cash them in, I’d start with the 1996 issue, then 1997, 1995, 1994, and keep those 1993 bonds for last. Savings bonds don’t seem to be the golden value they used to be.

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