Jackhammers vibrate my world and the sound of nails being pounded into fragrant two-by-fours echoes in my head. Sheet rock dust is everywhere, and the paths we take throughout the office change on a daily basis.
We're being remodeled.
The gray fabric walls of the cubicle that has been my home away from home for right at nine years are bare, stripped of the memorabilia that I have accumulated over the course of time, each piece a reminder of some bright spot in my life or some especially important milestone.
They lie packed in white boxes, some wrapped in pieces of newspaper upon which stories I've written are printed. Pieces of my life, bits of who I am and where I have been.
There are the fairy figurines my husband Stan bought me for my birthday, thinking they were pretty and that I would like them, but not knowing that fairies are a special reminder of my childhood.
The wooden outhouse, which falls apart when curious folk open its door, serves a dual purpose. I fell for the trick at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair, when Carlton Bowen had one in the old General Store. I pulled the door open and the thing fell to pieces, startling me. I just knew I'd broken it, but when everyone laughed, I knew I'd been had. It's a great conversation piece, and since I have a fascination with old buildings, including outhouses, I had to have one.
Packed away as well are the fairy stones former managing editor Eddie Ledbetter gave me, knowing my love for natural oddities.
Looking around, I miss the little things that made my cubicle home.
The scuffed armadillo is nestled in a box next to the cowboy teddy bear. The horse figurines, the cowboy boot, the magnet that says "If you don't like the news, go out and make some" are somewhere alongside the collection of single silk roses Stan has given me throughout the years.
My notebooks containing hastily scribbled details of the first murder trial I covered, the early-morning raid of a night club at which I was present, and Statesboro's dramatic hostage situation are packed away with a Dr. Seuss quote book and a book of poems for daughters, a gift from my mother.
Then there are those special things like the Confederate coin, a gift from the Sons of the Confederacy for a column I wrote about General Robert E. Lee's birthday; the plaque from St. Jude thanking me for hosting Saddle Up St. Jude fund raising trail rides; and the cherubic angel figurine given to me by my late friend Connie Mincey.
There are the ornaments collected from friends, and the Eric Lee Beddingfield/County Line poster that means a great deal to me because I've seen these guys climb from local nightclub fame to making it to the Top 40 with the single "Kill The Mullet."
Also packed away are the George W. Bush and John Kerry talking mice and the memorial medallion crafted from scrap steel from the 9/11 wreckage.
I still haven't packed the certificate that declares I am a honorary member of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club. I have to get a frame for it first. And the cardboard Chik-Fil-A cutout of a cow in a chicken suit with a sign asking "You wanna peece of me?" still stands on my shelf. The metal container shaped like a pair of blue jeans still holds cards, letters and other special correspondence. I need more boxes.
I don't think the rustic shelf crafted from tobacco sticks Mom found at a yard sale will fit into a box. It looks so empty.
Nine years of accumulation that made my work space home are crammed into boxes and will sit in storage until our new cubicles are completed. They tell us our new work stations won't be as secluded and we will be able to see others in the office as we sit at our desks.
That's good. I like wide open spaces and these cloth walls offer no privacy at all, so I may as well be able to see what I'm hearing all day.
There will be less wall space, so that means I have a lot of sorting out to do. What do I keep and what do I eliminate? Will I have somewhere to hang the dream catcher I made with feathers from wild ducks Stan shot?
Maybe I should find places at home for these precious memories, because hopefully I'll still be around long enough to see the next remodeling job here at our local newspaper office. That should be enough time to start a new collection of memories - but that doesn't mean I can ditch the old ones.