Paul is out of town this week, counseling at a Christian teen camp up in Northeast Washington state. I love what he’s doing, but I hate being apart. The house is too quiet, the bed is too big, and the ten thousand words I usually bestow upon him the minute he arrives home from work are building up, unsaid, inside my brain. Also, it gets dark at night, and the house makes noises, and even though I’m 36 years old, I’m pretty sure that the bogeyman is lurking around waiting for me to turn out the lights so he can get me. (I’ve never figured out what happens once the bogeyman gets you, but I don’t want to find out at this late date.)
Anyway, the week is crawling by. So I thought I’d help fill it up by getting some work done around the house. On Tuesday I washed, dried, and folded 9 loads of laundry. On Wednesday, I did our monthly all-day grocery shopping extravaganza, with stops at Walmart, Super One, and Costco. And today, four months after moving into our new home, I finally cleaned out the garage so that we can park in it.
It was hot, sweaty work, and I almost aborted the mission prematurely when I moved a box only to discover an angry coven of giant black spiders nesting in the corner behind it. Five of them scattered in random directions, scuttling across the floor so fast that I barely had time to react before they had found new hiding places. I killed one slowpoke with my broom, and then stood there for several minutes recovering from an attack of the heebie-jeebies. The rest of the job went slowly as I had to perform the Icky Spider Dance of Girliness every time I brushed up against a gardening tool or felt a droplet of sweat running down my leg, but eventually, I got it done.
10 Things I Found While Cleaning Out the Garage:
1. The Klingon Dictionary. Boy, am I relieved to have this back! Just the other day, I was whispering sweet nothings in Paul’s ear, and I wanted to tell him “bomDI’ ‘IwwIj qaqaw”, but I couldn’t remember where to put the second apostrophe. Nothing turns a geek into a pile of mush like Klingon love poetry. (Just try to keep the spitting to a minimum.)
2. A poem I wrote in college about sardines. Here it is, for your pleasure:Oh, the bliss of a fragrant sardine! (Even though it turns some people green…) The smell is just made to enthrall, Though my roommate agrees not at all. Little fishies in cute little rows Are a treat for your mouth and your nose. Packed in mustard and on a saltine, There is nothing quite like a sardine!
3. My wedding planner. No, I don’t have a coldly efficient forty year old woman with a walkie-talkie and a list of caterers hidden away in my garage. But I do have the forty pound 3-ring binder packed with receipts and schedules that I used when Paul and I were planning our wedding in Searcy, Arkansas back in 1996. I tucked it away in case our kids ever want to know how much my dress cost ($300), the name of our photographer (Ed Wilson), or the song that was playing when I walked down the aisle (God Has Smiled on Me).
4. A picture of my high school boyfriend sitting in my Dad’s recliner. Little did he know that he was taking his life in his hands that day. It’s a common enough mistake. In fact, when Paul, My Future Husband, came home with me for Thanksgiving to meet my family, my Dad’s very first words to him were not “Nice to meet you,” but “Get out of my chair!” (Thinks he’s so funny, my dad!)
5. A French newspaper. In 1991, I spent six weeks living with a French family in Aurillac, France, as part of an exchange program. It was a life changing and horizon-broadening experience. One of the souvenirs I brought back was this newspaper.
6. My high school graduation cap. It was white. Do you know how hard it was to find something to wear to graduation that wouldn’t show through a white graduation gown?
7. 1000 feet of 14 gauge A/V cable. I’m sure it’s good for something. I just don’t know what.
8. My lucky bandana. I carried this battered blue bandana on dozens of outdoor adventures when I was in middle school and high school–camping, white water rafting, backpacking, rappelling. I tied it around my ankle to stop the bleeding when I cut it on a river rock. I used it to keep the sweat out of my eyes while I climbed Mount Yonah. I thought I had lost it, but there it was tucked inside a duffle bag full of old camping stuff. I can’t wait to use it again. But I’m thinking maybe I should wash it first.
9. My hoarded stash of gift boxes and bags. After our wedding showers, I collected all the bags and boxes like a good little bride, knowing that I would need them for future gift-giving occasions. Then, I promptly lost them. For thirteen years. Perhaps they’ve been floating in and out of a rift in the time-space continuum. Or maybe they were stolen by a very specific kind of burglar, who suffered an attack of conscience all these years later and sneaked into our garage to replace the plunder. Or perhaps I’m just absent-minded.
Nah. That can’t be it.
10. Space for the car. That was the point of this whole journey, after all. I can’t wait to go pick Paul up and drive him home, just so I can enjoy his surprise when we actually get to use the garage door opener to…wait for it…open the garage door and drive inside! It may be a tight fit (Two-car garage? Ha!), but we will finally be safe from the scorching sun and the drifting snow.
Now to go cross one more completed project off my To Do List!