Things don’t always turn out the way I expect, but maybe that is because at times I set my expectations too low. For one thing, I anticipated the General would be gone yesterday morning. She normally works out on Friday mornings. Consequently, I was shocked Thursday evening when she asked: “Do you want to work with me for a couple of hours in the morning? We can either go through the cabinets under the bookcase in our room and get rid of stuff or we can start on the Garage. Which would you prefer?
“Welcome to retirement” I mumbled to myself. A better question would have been: “Do you have anything planned for in the morning.” Yet, even if she had asked that question, other than some work I needed to do, I didn’t have any plans. Actually, for that matter, I could begrudgingly outsource my planning to the General, she takes delight in making a list and checking it twice.
“Okay, so let’s start in the garage”, I half-heartedly replied. It fell under the concept of “strike while the iron is hot.” She had made a commitment to get rid of the Christmas Village. Fortunately, our daughter-in-law agreed to take it. That made the thought of parting with it easier for the General.
Getting rid of the Christmas Village would have to buy us a lot more space. In addition, we could go through the stacks of blue plastic tubs that have held keepsakes too precious to throw away. For years they had been stacked in the attic. Four or five years ago when we needed to replace the air conditioning unit on the other side of the house, I had taken them out of the attic and put them in the garage. It was time (past time) to get rid of some (most) of that stuff.
I backed both cars out of the garage. Without doing so, there was hardly room for us to move. Under the directive of the relator who suggested we remove a lot of stuff out of our house so it would show better, I couldn’t even easily make my way to the row of filing cabinets that I periodically needed to access.
While I’m backing out the cars, the General moved a rug that was placed on the garage side of the door leading into our house. I had just placed the rug back in its place after it had gotten wet. Returning inside the garage, I was met with the news: “You only half do anything. You used to be really neat. I don’t know what’s become of you. You are no longer neat. You put that rug down on dirt.”
I started to break out in song: “It’s Howdy Doody Time”! Instead I opted to let it go and focus on the task before us. Nothing that had been in the blue tubs previously stored in the attic had been used by either of us in fifteen years. Why not just trash it sight unseen? That was too much to ask.
Take for example the Fisher Price toys. Any two year old would have taken delight in the windup plastic record player. To my dismay, it still worked. It was as good as new. Initially, the General said we could toss it, she later changed her mind and the Fisher Price Toys are back in a blue tub for our children to one day throw out and ask: “What were they thinking?”
What about the stuffed animal the General was holding in her hands? It was a lamb. The Generally thoughtfully remembered the lamb’s name. The lamb was called: “Lambie Pie”. It had been a gift to my son when he was under the age of two. Mrs. Brooks, the lady that provided day care for him had given him the lamb. We couldn’t part with Lambie Pie, could we?
We were making a great start. I said, “Throw it out. It is even too old to take to Goodwill. The General was hesitant. Okay, I’ll take a picture and send it to Craig. If he wants Lambie Pie, we’ll add it to the stack of things we are taking to them. So far, the stack included the card table and four chairs that had belonged to my parents. We had never used them, but then again, they had only been in our possession for ten years. Much to my surprise, the Marine wanted Lambie Pie. Who would have thought?
It all has to do with triggers to a memory. Craig had thoughtfully stayed in touch with Mrs. Brooks until her death. She was well over the age of 100 when she died. He never went through San Angelo without stopping by to visit with her. I should have known he would have a soft spot in his heart for Lambie Pie. I figure the lamb is better off in his garage than in ours. For one thing, the garage has a lot more room. It has a 20 plus feet high ceiling and encompasses 1,300 square feet. It is cooled by a “Big Ass” fan (honestly that is the brand name) and it spans about eighteen feet. Lambie Pie was Moving On Up To The East Side.
What about my microscope? I received it for Christmas when I was twelve years old. I turned back the years and remembered my delight in receiving the gift. What about William? He is twelve years old. Would he want it? I texted him and he said “Yes”. Okay, so we were making progress. One more thing to add to the stack of stuff going to Craig’s house.
Believe it or not, I took three pickup loads of things to Goodwill yesterday morning. While I was hauling junk, the General was cleaning in the garage. As the morning unfolded, the garage was magically transformed. Did I mention the General cleaned the garage with the vacuum cleaner? I am seventy years old. I’ve never seen anyone use a vacuum cleaner in a garage. There is not a crevice that went untouched. You could now eat off the floor in our garage.
The project took a lot more than two hours, but the clutter is ALL gone. Even the stack of stuff going Up To The East Side is neatly arranged. There is room for both cars and accessing the filing cabinets is no longer a problem. Even the shelving around the garage has empty spaces and the things we had stuffed into the garage to get them out of the house, no longer appears stuffed. Everything is neatly stored away.
Had it been left to my initiative, we would never have gotten there. Maybe the General is right: “I used to be neat, but I am no longer neat.” I figure I’d better work on that. I still like for things to be neat even if I’m not.
All My Best!