Random Blog Clay Feet: 2010-01
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Catching Up

It is that time of year again. We had a reprieve of a little milder weather for about a week and now we are heading back to below freezing temperatures again for the foreseeable future. I won't mind seeing the weather move closer to spring anytime now, but that is what winter is like.

It is also the time of year for quite a number of my own family's birthdays. My Dad's birthday would have been a few days ago, my sister's birthday was the first day of January and my own birthday is today. This year is a little bit different than the average birthday, at least according to the traditions of the culture in which I find myself. This year, at least according to the opinion of many institutions in this country, I officially turning – yes, it really is true – I am turning 'old'.

My daughter asked me yesterday if I was really feeling old and I told her that as far as my memory is concerned I certainly can qualify. In other areas I don't really feel as old as the number might suggest, but then I better be very careful what comments I make about such topics because people who are older than me sometimes have rather sensitive and very strong opinions about such things and are not afraid to get defensive about this subject.

My wife's birthday is next month in about three weeks but she is safely four years behind me yet. She is trying to catch up and as far as percentages go she is getting closer all the time. But according to my sharp mathematical calculations I don't think she will ever be able to catch up – at least as long as both of us stay alive anyway. My children are also fast catching up with us on the percentage side of the math but they too will still stay safely behind us for quite awhile.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What is a Garage For?

We experienced a moment of history-making last night.

No, it was not accompanied with a fireworks display or written up in the newspapers. In fact, no one hardly even noticed including myself until I stopped to think about it this morning. But it was a milestone of sorts anyway and I thought I would at least take note of it for the record.

We moved into this house a little over 5 ½ years ago in a very great hurry. We were not only urged quite compellingly to leave where we were living but also found ourselves greatly needed to occupy my parent's house after the death of my step-mother. My dad was in a nursing home at the time and my mother's death from a car accident left their house unattended and all the affairs of their estate in need of a caretaker.

The problem was that we then moved into this large house with stuff that not only we had accumulated but the leftover stuff of several other people who had lived with us or had left their things in the previous house we had lived in. On top of that, my parents had taken in my step-mom's mother for awhile before she died and so they had many of her things stored in this house already. So as you might guess, the house was already quite full when we arrived as we began to unload truckloads of furniture and household items here. The only thing we could do under those circumstances was to pack the two-car garage completely full as well as several rooms of the house and the basement.

Needless to say, it took several years for us to find many of our things and we are still sorting through boxes and furniture uncovering things we have not seen in quite some time. Over the years I have managed to reduce the height of the stuff in the garage to a level where I could navigate around in it and at least have access to most of it. Last summer I finally got enough courage to tackle this job for several days straight and was able to at least go through a once over with most of the items still stored there and rearranged the whole garage in the process.

A week or two ago I did a small version of that raid on part of our basement area. As a result I hung all new lights (new to us) down there and mounted some shelves and even built a very large clothes hamper out of an old wooden kitchen table to catch the clothes from a new chute I had built into our bathroom upstairs. This greatly reduces the stress of trips up and down the stairs for my wife with the laundry and also makes me feel like I am doing something useful while out of work for over a month.

Anyway, my wife has been gently nudging me about the possibility of maybe getting the car into the garage this winter. It would be such a wonderful thing to do and would eliminate a lot of time scraping snow and ice off the windows in this weather. I told her that it was a nice idea but that we needed a lot more intense cleaning in the garage before I could reduce the clutter enough to pull that off.

But then yesterday I got to thinking about it seriously and even though the temperatures were well below freezing I decided to go out there and just see what I might be able to do. I also figured that since it was so cold anyway for the next couple months I would not likely be spending a lot of time in the garage looking through things anyway and so I might just be able to accept smashing everything to the sides enough to make room for the car, at least temporarily.

That is in fact what I was able to do. I made enough room to get the car inside and still have space to open the doors comfortably. Last night I drove the car into the garage for the first time in over five years and today I laid down some boards to act as alerts to let me know when I have backed in far enough. This same car actually belonged to my parents and is the car that was involved in my step-mom's death. It took six months for the repairs and bodywork to be finished on the care after that accident but it has been a very good car for us, both my parents and now for us after their passing. They actually had been keeping it in this garage all along until the accident happened and we moved in, so this was something sort of like a reunion for the car and its long lost friend and protector, the garage.

So, hopefully when the heavy snows come and the ice storms hit, if we can keep this arrangement going until spring we might be able to actually enjoy our garage for the very purpose for which it was built years ago. Now imagine that – what an idea!