Feb 20, 2005

Off my nut

I spent the day cleaning like a huge rogue bull Irrelephant.

Spurned on by the encroaching years, I have become more and more anal retentive. Where I used to be able to live in a veritable pile of my own filth, old clothing, discarded food wrappers and peanut shells I now find myself unable to function if my tools are out of order in my shop. The sight of a missing 9mm socket wrench from the carefully ordered (ascending by size, metric first then SAE) rows of wrenches is enough to make me race off to Sears to buy a replacement wrench. And it's a good excuse to put a downpayment on that air compressor I've been wanting.

So today, almost a year into my moving into my ancestral home, I tackled Cleaning The Garage.

The Garage is a nice, roomy two-bay sort, no doors, which I have alluded to earlier with my constant sweeping-out, and has a very spacious upper bit, which is reached currently by standing in the bed of my truck and reaching up through the open rafters. It also had about 35 years worth of accumulated leaves, spiders, tools, bits and pieces of unknowable things, and cat urine. I realised it was time for me to clean it out when I backed into my parking space night before last and hit a paint tray full of painting tools that I hadn't put away, and almost backed into an as of yet uncompleted painting that has been following me around for the past 12 years now.

So, emboldened by...well, I don't know what, but emboldened, I started into it yesterday evening. I decided that if I started late in the evening then I certainly couldn't blame myself if I had to stop because it got dark. Armed with my new excuse, I started on the farthest right edge of the wall, right by the driveway, on the side I park and get out on. I cleaned for about ten minutes, moved some old truck bits over to another side and told myself sternly that I had to put these things in the shop in a clear placed delineated as "Truck Parts Place," and stopped.

I had nightmares all night, ala "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," in which giant mounds of leaves and mould with spiders riding on top marched in and out of my garage, so this morning I went in there, rolled my sleeves up, changed into shorts (yes, it's already shorts weather here in balmy LA) and launched into it.

Would you believe I was done in just under 6 hours? Completely. Utterly. Bare walls (except for the inexplicable mass of Japanese ladybugs high on the wall) and bare, leaf-free swept floors and big sheets of old sheetrock under my dear Rita so her oil leaks won't fall on the concrete, and I even managed to find places for all the once-yearly things like my mother's plastic Xmas tree in it's four giant Rubbermaid storage bins and the camping equipment up in those rafters, carefully set on thick sheets of plywood so not only would they not fall but set near enough the edges that a glance upwards will tell me where everything is stowed.

One of the pitfalls of home ownership for me now is that once I've started something, I want to see it to completion, and completion for me and that garage is now plywood on top of the rafters covering most all of the garage, so I can store heat-resistant things up there, ala an attic (we have one, but it's too dark, hot, and cramped) and then very thin plywood on the bottom of the rafters to give it a nice finished look, then double garage doors to keep the leaves and birds out, and then of course you have to have huge banks of 8' flourescent lights to make the place lovely and well lit...

I have to go lie down now.

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