Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions: CHECK

The key to New Year's resolutions is to make them short, one-time activities, instead of chronic, life-changing shifts in habit and discipline. Flossing every day, balancing your checkbook weekly, consuming 5 servings of vegetables per day? Not going to happen, my friend.

Cleaning out the garage, on the other hand--that's manageable.

The last leg of our move-in back in April was, frankly, a bit rushed, so at a certain point we just started shoving stuff in the garage. There were so many variables and so many things dependent on other projects (to pick an example, we can't set up my stained glass-making station until we tar the garage roof, gut the craft room, install new sheetrock, and paint, maybe tossing in some new linoleum just to mix things up) that all the unfinished odds and ends just piled up. There were 2 desks, a shelving unit, a large gas grill, TWO superfluous microwaves, an extra dryer and TWO extra washers, a second fridge, two bikes with deflated tires, and six antique doors awaiting restoration. Plus a heterogeneous collection of tools and hardware scattered indiscriminately among the nice wooden bins that line the garage walls.

Sweet Jehoshaphat.

What's worse, it was a depressing accumulation of decaying good intentions, a reproachful, pulsating blob of creeping guilt every time we opened the doors.

And there were cockroaches. I hate cockroaches.

SO, we decided to take control. At first our conflicting problem-solving methods were a source of friction (I wanted to strategize, Matt just wanted to move shit out of the way), but finally I settled down to labeling the bins for maximum efficiency and ease of use (I love labeling things!) and let Matt shove heavy things around to his heart's content.

And at the end of the day, we had all our tools, hardware, and other maintenance doo-dads (two sets of casters, anyone?) neatly organized in a logical, and clearly marked order. Ah, the sweet and balmy breath of organization! We found things long missing, completely cleared the floor, and 86'd some of our duplicate appliances.

Not the washers and dryer, though. I think there is an ancestral drive in the Vest line--perhaps acquired during the abstemious days of the Great Depression?--to accumulate capital in the form of extraneous appliances and vehicles. (I know, I know, acquired traits are not inheritable--THANK you, Dr Lysenko.) And this drive of his is running afoul of my own--rarely expressed--genetic predisposition to eradicate unnecessary stuff. (That particular gene comes from my clutter-loathing mother and spends most of its time with its eyes screwed shut and its fingers in its ears, trying to ignore the cheerful shambles in which the rest of my DNA is happy to live.) But I've had to accept that the only way I'll get the washers/dryer out of the garage is if I pry them out of his cold, dead hands. I'm not quite there yet, so the machines recline in triumph, smugly and pointlessly consuming 56 cubic feet of precious garage space. (Can that be right? 56 cubic feet? My math gene has absconded with my tidiness gene for a much-needed sabbatical in Havana.)

Nevertheless, it was a good day on the local freecycle.

We also pruned the big ligustrum on the east side of the house (not for beauty, but to foil any carpenter ants who thought they could sneak in via the roof), and Matt added some poles to his greenhouse for his hanging baskets.

The ligustrum, partly pruned. Looks a little lopsided, but we gave those ants what for.

So our garage is navigable and orderly, and as of the evening of Jan 01, I had completely accomplished my (short) list of 2008 New Year's resolutions.

I feel smug.

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