Garageology, Pt. 2
Okay, so this week we’re still in my garage, digging through the accumulated geologic layers of flotsam and jetsam that come from raising four kids and multiple dogs and simply living blessedly full and active lives for over 30 years in the same home. The plan was to clear enough square footage of precious garage real estate to be able to park a new car inside. Sounds easy, right? Right.
I’ve always been blessed – though at times it has felt like a curse – with an almost insatiable curiosity to learn new things. Unfortunately, that trait is combined with an often-short attention span and a penchant to be easily distracted. (Squirrel!!)
Add to this the fact that we have raised four active, equally curious kids who were also prone to participate in many hobbies, sports and other assorted interests. This has resulted in a garage packed to the rafters with motorcycles, road bikes, mountain bikes, skate boards, inline skates, bike repair stands, tool boxes, welding equipment, dog kennels, work benches, wood stock, metal stock, plumbing supplies, wiring, model airplanes, golf clubs, backpacks, archery equipment, painting supplies, ladders of every size, a punching bag, lat-pull machine, bench press, slant board, exercise mats, multiple stability balls, multiple racks of free weights, multiple car repair manuals, hydraulic jacks, ammunition reloading press and powder scale, drill presses, stained glass tools, sheets of stained glass, sheets of plywood, sheets of sand paper, sheets covering things wrapped in sheets, stacks of lumber, yard tools, yard games, yard sticks, bicycle pumps, bicycle wheels, tires, seats and parts, and … well, I think you’ve got an accurate picture of our garage.
As I said, lives have been well lived here.
And yet, somehow, over the course of one weekend and many discussions about which items had achieved heirloom status and would therefore be saved from a trip to the thrift store, and which items were simply “junk” to be tossed forever into oblivion – my wife and I miraculously managed to clean, organize and clear out enough space to not only park her new car, but to walk all around it and even be able to open two out of four doors. Alert the media!
In a recurring nightmare of mine, I get an unexpected visit from Mike and Frank of “American Pickers” reality TV fame. They pull into our driveway in their iconic white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and moments later, as if she somehow summoned them herself, my wife bursts through our front door yelling, “Yes, yes! Thank the Lord you’re here. Everything can go. Please, make us an offer!” I usually wake up in a cold sweat at this point in the dream. But once, I swear, I heard my wife mumble, “Sold!” in her sleep.
I’ve often heard that mental health professionals encourage their patients to relax and de-stress by imagining a place of beauty, peace and serenity. I have a few places like that where I can “go” in my mind. These settings typically feature towering, white capped mountain peaks, lush, fragrant forests and me laying on a large, flat sun-warmed rock, a hat shading my eyes and my bare feet dipped into an almost painfully cold, snow-fed alpine stream.
Oddly enough, however, one of the most calming environments I can ever imagine is right inside my own garage. It’s a cold and cloudy (maybe even rainy) day with the garage door flung wide open, talk radio playing loud enough to be heard above my power tools, the rows fluorescent work lights flickering overhead in the cold air, and some sort of project – almost anything I’m building or repairing that is wood or metal, I don’t care – before me on the workbench. That, my friends, is my own personal paradise.
Of course, after our recent relatively successful clean up weekend, I now have to ignore the new car parked right in the middle of this scene.
I’ll see you ’round town.