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Saving Ourselves -- Part 4

 Summer time is "project time" for me.  All of the big, complicated, high energy things that I don't tackle through the school year get put off until the long, uncommitted days of summer.  Give me a bit of unscheduled time, and I make stuff happen.  So far this summer, I've rearranged my kitchen, planted a fair garden of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, replaced bulbs and cleaned the ceiling florescent in the kitchen, reinstalled all of the smoke detectors, undertaken to revamp our meal planning and eating routines, reworked and tidied up the family records filing system, and created a significant new set of curriculum materials for my social studies classes for next year.  Of course, I've been actively engaged in helping Master through these first four weeks of post-surgical recovery -- lots of help with dressing and undressing.  Too, He and I have been investing about an hour and a half each day in our power walking exercise routine.  The big, gnawing at my brain, making me crazy, summer project though, has been the garage.  My garage is the primary storage space for our family, and over the years, I've struggled to keep it neat and make it work efficiently in that role while simultaneously providing the intended shelter for an automobile.

When we first moved in here, some eight years ago, the "then" husband installed a hodgepodge of shelves all over the place.  Some were wide and some were narrow.  Some were up high, and others were so short as to cause one to wonder what the hell he was thinking.  Over the years, I've tried a number of approaches to the garage storage dilemma, but I've never just ripped out the whole mess and started fresh.  I'm not sure why, but it all just seemed too daunting.  Last summer, I created a serious "Rube Goldberg" style shelving arrangement that involved stacking a number of trunks and plastic storage bins up, and using them to support the wooden shelving boards I'd gathered from all over the place.  The bins and trunks would, I reasoned, do double duty that way -- acting as both storage and supports.  It looked great and it functioned pretty well ... just as long as you never needed to get anything out of one of those bins at the very bottom of the whole jumble.  And, of course, because the universe operates on the principle that, "left to themselves, things follow the path of maximum perversity," everything I have ever needed from the garage in this last year has ALWAYS been at the bottom of the stack.  

So, for obvious reasons, my summer project list included a major overhaul of the garage.  Which brings me to the point of today's conversation about ways to help strengthen and repair a damaged relationship (other parts of this series are found at posts about Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3):
  • Share challenging experiences… 
  • Develop a sense of humor

The redesign of the garage storage space may not seem to you to be particularly challenging, and it probably doesn't appear, at first glance, to be the occasion for any significant humor.  But, my friends, that is only because you underestimate the ways in which the universe likes to fuck with some of us.  Me, in particular.

I had, at the very beginning of the summer, shared my thinking about the garage situation with Master, and I told Him that I intended to tear out everything that had been put up by "He Who Shall Remain Nameless," and put in something straightforward, simple, and functional.  I wanted maximum storage with minimum mess and hassle.  He accompanied me on several scouting trips to explore the possibilities, and we saw some awesome and amazing storage systems -- at prices that took my breath away.  I became convinced that there had to be a way to install workable storage at some reasonable cost.  In fact, I got very caught up in that idea of "inexpensive" storage.  That was the beginning of the "challenging experience" that He and I would ultimately share together around this project.  It also turned out to be the driving force behind the cosmic joke that played out at my expense.

I searched and researched for weeks, and I finally decided that the best approach to the garage of my dreams was a simple system of wall mounted uprights and brackets with plain dimensioned lumber boards for the shelves.    I measured, and calculated, and headed off to the local big box hardware store to acquire the needed hardware.  I found some very inexpensive standards and brackets and bought up what I needed, dragged them all home and worked through a wickedly hot couple of days to get the old stuff taken down and the new ones installed.  It looked great, and I was awfully proud of myself:  forteen feet of 20" deep shelves, running three high all down one side of my garage.

Last night, I loaded them up, and called it a job well done.  We stayed up late watching a movie, went off to bed about midnight, slept fairly late this morning, got up and had breakfast, and then got ready to go out and walk.  When I walked out of the front door and down the sidewalk, I could see, through the window into the garage, that all of my wonderful shelves had collapsed -- and dumped all of the stuff all over my new little car!

I would like to tell you that I took it all in stride and laughed at the joke -- but that would be a lie.  I was furious!  Panicky about my pretty, new car, under all of those boards and brackets and boxes of stuff!  I must admit that I said bad words.  I did. And, He and I walked our 4-1/4 miles with me fuming and fussing the whole way.  Yeah!  Develop a sense of humor my ass!

The good news?  We walked at the fastest pace we've achieved since the surgery.  Rage is a great energizer.  We got home and He helped me excavate the car and haul all of the stuff out to the front lawn -- WITH His one good arm.  And...  underneath it all, unmarked and in fine shape, the little car survived just fine.  OK.  So, then I was able to laugh at the absurdity of it all; laugh at myself for going so cheap that the project didn't serve its purpose;  wander off, with Him in tow, to buy better brackets and better supports (and a new rug for the living room -- HIS idea not mine).  I got everything torn down, and reinstalled, and all the stuff  moved back to the new shelves in just over two hours.  And it looks good, and sturdy, and functional.

Lesson(s) learned.



  1. We once had a canoe (suspended from the ceiling on a pulley system) crash down on the car. Not pretty! I saw a sign today that's a bit of humor for those in recovery - of any kind. It said: I take things One Day at a Time, unless they all attack at once!" Humor is a must in our lives!

  2. Impish15:19 PM

    That one would've really gotten my goat! Glad your new little car came through unscathed.

  3. i sat here grinning from beginning to end.. i have to admit at the very beginning i thought " oh nooooooooo swan ... didn't you have an episode with a swing?"

    So when i read the shelves came tumbling down i couldn't help but giggle - just a little bit..

    glad it is all up and sturdy now....

    you should post a pic or two of your handy work.. i am always impressed by a woman who can use a handyman tools :)

  4. Ordalie3:01 AM

    I was just going to say likewise: let's have some pics of the new shelves so that we can appreciate the difference with the first ones!

  5. meow -- I like that one... more than once, I've been attacked by "things" all at once.

    morningstar and ordalie -- Really? Pictures of the garage. I'm sure I did that the last time I rearranged. It isn't that different. And the picture here is not my garage, but mine did look just like that...



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