Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Demise of the Village

The Judge has retired, the chambers are closing, and the Village (See Jan 13) must be taken care of. Due to the Judge's health, the task of closing the chambers has been left to me and John, one of the attorneys. Taking care of the Dicken's Village was one task the Judge made sure was covered. She hired a friend of hers to come in and carefully pack each piece back into their respective boxes. Since a professional assembled it, we definitely needed a professional to properly to take it down and prepare it for storage.

When the Judge told me she had made these arrangements, I immediately got a key to her friend, Lisa, so she would have access to the Village. A week after that, we came in and there were 5 or 6 empty boxes - progress was being made. That was three months ago. Then nothing happened. Each morning John and I would come in and survey the Village. It did not seem like anything was missing - the carolers were still there posed in silent song in front of Sudbury Church and the kids in frozen position on the ice down the hill from King's Road Post Office. No, it looked like life in the village had not changed. And all the boxes were still empty. The Judge would call occasionally and ask about the Village and I would report about the progress, or lack thereof.

Finally one morning I came in to find the floor of my office covered with large dusty trash bags filled with empty Dept 56 Dickens Village boxes. The end was in sight.

Now, in making my final check list of things to do in closing down a federal judge's chambers, let's see here: pack the law library and ship it; meet with Circuit Designer to schedule movers; work with Telecommunications Manager to handle phone system, copier, and fax; coordinate dates with the Court Technology Team to dismantle computer systems; have Dept 56 Dickens Village properly dismantled, packed, and removed. Which one of these items does not fit? Some how I feel I am the only person in the history of the federal judiciary with this last item on my final check list. But there it is.

We have three weeks remaining and the Village is still intact, lights burning brightly. And, I cannot even turn those lights off. The Judge made sure that all the cords neatly plugged into plug strips that strategically hid behind file cabinets or above shelves. So until the entire village is dismantled it will continue to glow. It's a conspiracy. I can move a library, relocate a server, pack and coordinate the closure of 4000 square feet. But, 61 linear feet of porcelain is going to be the death of me.

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