Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mouse poop, wood rot and the organizing of my garage

I have come to dread the garage. Where once it was my "Man Cave" it has since become a hall of shame. Where once things had their place, now they stood unforgotten and lonely in a dark corner of the abyss. At one point she was in good shape. My lady had taken the time when I was away on business to sift through the rubble and make sense of the forsaken pieces and parts and remnants of life both from the past, the present and the future. Things were organized in bins and stuff we had no use for was discarded or donated. The labels on each bin had positive titles like "Beach Fun" and "Biking Gear" and "Camping Stuff". It was corrected, the mess of a cave, but soon, slowly, after time, and accumulation of stuff people thought we may need, it turned its cheek and relapsed into the jumbled, mixed-up, disorganized locker of waste. Rather than get back into it, I put it off, preferring to curse at the stacks, and shimmy sideways by the piles of randomness. If that didn't work I would simply scoot the stack to a new spot, wipe my hands clean, nod with acceptance as if I just did an important piece of work.

Look, I am not a lazy person, but the thought of tackling a chaotic garage slips down the list somewhere near getting a pedicure, going to a Yanni concert or seeing another movie with either Sandra Bullock or Keanu Reeves or both in it. Let's just say it's way down near the bottom of the aforementioned list.

The garage is supposed to be that special place where things like garden tools, bikes, more bikes, random things and holiday gear reside. Perhaps I am "scarred" by my childhood and the garage I grew up with/in. Maybe it is just a case of rebelling against my father's garage (not really but I need to make this impactful). I have fond memories of that garage, my dad's "Man Cave". It was a good size with rafters carefully organized and bins labeled. It had cabinets to the side and a bunch behind a wall where the water heater, and washer and dryer sat. The workbench was spotless and had just the essentials. The tool box too housed quality tools both new, and from my grandfather. It fit two cars comfortably and you can bet parking the cars in the garage took precedent over anything else. Bikes hung from the beams, a clean lawnmower sat on one side, Farrah Fawcett's (RIP) infamous bikini poster was properly tacked on one of the walls, and empty Yuban and Folgers coffee cans were recycled to store nuts, bolts, washers, nuts, etc. (properly labeled of course). Perhaps the greatest element to this childhood garage was the floor. It was infamous. It was polished concrete, shiny and new looking. The running joke was that you could eat off it, and in all likelihood, you could. My dad washed the cars on it (eliminates water spots caused by the beating sun) and when he did, the floor became an ice rink. It was slippery and dangerous and you had to walk with care for certain. We still tease him about that garage, in particular the floor. I suspect it's envy.

His current garage, at a different house is similar to the one of my childhood. It's smaller but incorporates the same care as the earlier one. Things are organized, there's still the shiny floor and coffee cans and two cars in their right place, polished as usual. Now he has sheds to house the garden equipment and yep those are dialed in also.

So you see my "pain". I am certain that my garage will never live up to the old man's. It's just not possible. I lack the will to dig in and discard. My organization skills waiver between decent and lame, and my ability to "just say no" is ridiculous. So onward I go, organizing the best way I know how, which can be considered just tidying up. I still question why we have so much lumber or old glass knobs or cd's, but I can't bear to discard them.

After a day of pushing things out, getting rid of randomness, and pushing it all back in to shiny new spots, the old girl has a slight facelift (maybe just a dose of Botox). My hope is that this slight cosmetic surgery sticks and doesn't end up like Joan Rivers all beat and not funny.

Now I like waltzing around in the space. Where's my bike helmet? Oh here it is, in the bike helmet section. Where's that power tool? Over here in the power tool box. Sweet Jesus it's organized. Not old man organized, but she's dialed in enough to cause a smirk rather than cussing, and sighing, and moping.