Oh, this week’s webcomic is no joke. Princess went off to Girl Scout camp last week, leaving me with only one child to deal with, so I took advantage of the lightened workload to tackle something that’s been bugging the crud out of me for a while now. Namely, the disaster known as my garage.
You see, for the last few months, we’ve been traveling to my mother-in-law’s house to help clean the place up. We’ve spent entire weekends getting rid of junk, clearing out the basement and attic, and tackling the overgrown yard. It’s been for a good cause, but it’s been exhausting. And every time we do this, we come home with a bunch of stuff from Mom’s house that ends up shoved into whatever free space we can find in our house. Well, after we came home from the last trip, yours truly had a total melt-down over the fact that we were putting so much time and effort into cleaning someone else’s house while our own house was rapidly turning into a dump.
Well, I finally decided to do something about it. Hubster wanted to do it himself, I know, but his long work hours have pretty much left the man with only enough free time on the weekends to tackle the lawn and buy the groceries. Thankfully, after seeing how badly I was frothing at the mouth over this issue, he decided to stay out of my way and let me do whatever the hell I wanted to do. And what I wanted to do was start with the worst disaster area in our house, the garage.
On Monday last week, Pixie and I ventured into the garage and began our work by dismantling an old stationary bike that had been sitting in there for years. I had to hunt for the manual online to figure out how to take the bike apart, and in the end had to ask folks on Twitter for help. But once I had instructions, Pixie and I were able to take that sucker apart and get it loaded into the car and take it away to the local thrift store. Then came the hauling out of stuff – boxes, trash, tools, more boxes, more trash, more tools. We lined the front yard with the entire contents of the garage, just so I could see exactly what we had in there, what could be thrown out, what could be recycled, and what we actually needed to keep. It took me five hours to haul everything out. Then a thunderstorm started and it took me 15 minutes to toss everything back in, leaving the garage looking worse than before. But at least I knew what I was dealing with now.
The next day, I hit the hardware stores and bought pegboard, screws, and paint. I spray-painted the pegboard bright colors and then hauled everything out of the garage again and started sorting. Stuff that was never, not ever supposed to go back in the garage went onto our wrap-around porch, where it stayed until I could haul it away to the dump/thrift store/recycling center. Stuff that needed to stay got cleaned up and organized into its appropriate category – toys, tools, bikes, etc. When the garage was empty, I swept it out. When it was swept clean, I put up the first section of pegboard. By the time that was done, it was dark and I had to haul everything back in again, except for the stuff I left on the porch.
And this process of hauling out, sorting, cleaning, sweeping, and putting up pegboard went on for the rest of the week. At least once every day while Pixie and I cleaned the garage, someone stopped to ask me what time the garage sale started. One person even tried to buy my bike, and nearly had his head ripped off for that (I love my bike; don’t even THINK of buying my bike). In the process of doing this, I learned a lot. I learned that…
- Hardware store clerks do not know how to count. I can’t tell you how many extra trips I had to make back to the hardware store because I got shorted a bracket or a dozen screws or a can of paint.
- My garage is NOT a TARDIS. In spite of the amount of stuff we had crammed in there for years, the garage is not actually bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. In fact, at one point it seemed to shrink when I tried to get stuff back inside at the end of the day.
- Hubster is addicted to cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts. We get a ton of packages at our house, and he stores all the boxes and packaging materials in our garage. About 50% of what I got rid of last week was cardboard boxes and packaged air (those little balloon things that come in Amazon.com boxes). The man actually had TWO GIANT BOXES of packaged air. I cut him back to one. I also flattened all the boxes so I could store them in one giant box, and made a vow to cut up and recycle any future boxes that come into our house. We have enough to last us a lifetime!
- I am addicted to pegboard hooks. I bought a gazillion of them, and have been using them to get everything off the floor. It wasn’t until I did so that the garage finally started to grow back to its normal proportions again.
- And finally, what I learned is this. I AM COMPETENT. I DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE HUBSTER TO SOLVE A PROBLEM, ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES HARDWARE, LUMBER, PAINT, TOOLS, ETC. I CAN DO IT MYSELF.
And I think that last item was the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this little home improvement project. I can fix something if it’s broken. I can tackle any project I set my mind to. And that’s a major thing for me. I’ve depended on the Hubster for years to do things around the house. I don’t have to do that anymore. If I want something fixed, I can learn how to do it myself.
Hubster may come to regret me learning this. Or he may not. Either way, now that I’ve started fixing up the garage, I intend to do the same to the rest of the house. So look out world! I’ve got a drill and a hammer and I’m not afraid to use them!