This morning I woke to a day perfectly clear of plans. No obligations, no work to do, no pre-arranged plans, nothing to do. It's my favorite condition to wake to. Of course, this meant I had a decision to make. I gave some thought to taking another drive and considered driving up the coast with my camera. I thought about driving to Ojai and back for a trip to this place. Then I thought again. Instead of a mini road trip I decided to roll up my sleeves and clean out the garage. Not the fun choice but I've been meaning to do it for months and it was going to be a cool day, probably the last for several months.
The poor garage has been in a state of chaos ever since Mom and Dad redecorated the front of the house. Dad and I cleared most of it out about a year ago. After I switched bedrooms the garage took another hit. Only one car has been able to fit in there with the other junk. Mom has insisted on me parking my car in the garage since I have the newer car. This, of course, makes me feel guilty so I thought a garage clean up job would do us all some good.
When I began, the garage looked like this:
When I finished, a few hours later, it looked like this:
The pile in the back needs to be dropped at Goodwill. I also need to find a hazardous household waste drop off location for about a dozen gallons of paint and old varmint poison. Most of the stuff just needed to be stacked, donated or trashed.
Of course, the garage was Dad's domain so he was all over the place. I managed to get though it all without crying. Most of Dad's stuff either makes me wonder or makes me grin. I had forgotten about this:
I discovered this before Dad died so I could confirm my guess as to what it was. Can you guess? The window in the garage is a favorite hangout of spiders. It's a sticks with a glob of spider webs at the end. We never open that window so it's a safe, place to spin a web with some nice diffused light. God knows how many years ago Dad started twirling spider webs around the stick. It now looks like a giant Q-tip. It's a disgusting nightmare but just the weird kind of thing Daddy would do, so it stayed.
I also found this disturbing object:
It's very old and I assume it's something my beloved Papa picked up on one his journeys in Africa. It seems to be some sort of elaborately decorated billy club or nightstick made of wood and leather. I don't know the story behind it but it's either moving to Mom's room or out with me when I by my house. A girl could do some serious damage to an intruder's noggin with that thing.
I came across this stupid flag from one of Dad's old job sites:
I was NOT amused by the irony.
I then came across this:
Anyone who knows me knows my story of owls and why I love them. Long story short, every time I see an owl it's like recieving a little wink from Daddy. This was the first thing I saw in the first box I opened. I was happy to see it after the dumb flag made me so mad.
As I stacked boxes I firmly grabbed what I thought was an old strip of rubber to pull it from a some loose packing tape. You can't imagine the scream I let loose with when I realized my mistake.
I had actually grabbed the dried out carcass of a lizard who had died getting stuck on the tape. I ran in the house, washed my hands abut 18 times and returned to the job at hand. Soon after, Mom returned home. I showed her where I had moved things then noticed a mouse dash behind a box. I swiftly kicked the box smashing the mouse between the wall and the box. Mom screamed, I did move pretty quickly, and walked away. The mouse sort of stumbled out from behind the box and faced me. He stared at me for a few minutes then I watched as he turned to face the wall as if to say "I need a moment to myself before I die, bitch." It was kind of brutal but I was jumpy from the dead lizard attack and that poor mouse showed up at the exact wrong moment. A few minutes later a bird dive bombed my head as it flew into the garage. Mom was getting the mail and said "Wow. Your Dad is really having some fun with you today!" I think she was right. I also think Walt Disney's interpretation of animal life is bullshit.
Next I recovered one of my all time best gifts to Dad. Behold:
I know, it looks bizarre but it's actually genius. It's a bug vacuum. It expands to about four feet long and can suck up bugs and spiders without anyone having to touch them. It's great! With summer coming I was happy to see it again. We will be needing it.
One of the most bizarre finds of the day was this masterpiece:
What is it? It's a butter knife that's been taped to the end of a pole. I have no idea why it was in the garage but it was clearly made my Dad. I can't imagine why he needed such a thing but he apparently felt the need to keep it around. We later described it to one of Dad's old friends. He thought maybe Dad used to the get wasp's nest down or something like that. I'll never know but I'm keeping it around because it makes me smile just like that clean garage does. A trip to Ojai would have been more fun but I'm glad I stuck around and got the place straightened out. I feel much better for it.