Wednesday, October 30

The Garage

We hadn't cleaned the garage since 2010, when Sean first fell ill with what we later learned was Lyme disease.  Therefore, it was a pretty scary maze to venture into whenever one needed a tool from the workbench (fingers crossed, hope to God it's there and hadn't been used and set down somewhere in that insanity) and Sunday roasts taken out of one of the deep freezes at the very rear of the garage took more fortitude and navigation than I could muster.  Sean would handle that for me, or I'd send a reluctant child on the hunt, whichever one was pressing on my nerves of steel at that moment.
Favorite season of all. #autumn
Yesterday I slung up the creaking door with the two busted windows (because we're classy like that) and plopped my box of industrial black garbage bags on a broken dishwasher that's hung out there for several years. An entire room's worth of hardwood flooring haphazardly piled, broken glass and boards with the nails still in them (pointing up, mind you because we're all about safety), bags of rice coal, recyclables that had never made it to the curb, empty honey frames, ten thousand and one fishing lures, spilled oil, hand tools, a paint sprayer, thick cobwebs... I'm laying it all out for you.  Horders wouldn't touch my mess without a round of tetanus vaccines for everyone.  Skis, badminton, pruners, hunting and camping gear, medieval looking tools that my husband can name and use, various cans of kill-those-bleepity-bleep-wasps that burrowed into our house last summer (oh, yes they did).

"How does one eat an elephant, Hannah?" I asked myself while sorting old stove pipe into the scrap metal pile and answered myself - I'm sure none of you ever do that - "One bite at a time."

 Kiddos and self worked like some crazy people, breathing warm air onto our numbing fingers  as the temperature stretched to 43F, dragging scrap wood to the bonfire, bagging up nickel bottles, moving five hundred pounds of coal, bravely brushing down cobwebs and scooping up one dead but well preserved mouse.  Baby Benjamin napped and observed from the stroller in the sun. Sean stopped in before heading out to hunt and helped hang pegboard and cut an old wood ladder and mount it for wood storage.

It's not done, but as I held my breath and navigated the push broom through deep dust where the pile of flooring had been hours earlier, I was further ahead than I had been had I not begun this miserable, dust choked job.  By the end of the day, eleven year old Andrew remarked that he could not believe people clean garages and basements for a living, noting that there was no sum that would tempt him into this business. Today, as I sat with our homeschool ledger, searching my aging brain for anything educational to log in for yesterday, Annaliese peered over my shoulder and suggested, "hard labor?".

I've shared all this to say, "we're quite the normal family" but after reading it through, I'm thinking that perhaps it proves we aren't quite normal.  More slovenly than normalesque?  More suited to an episode of Horders than our own large family series?

I suppose it is because I've finished skimming through all the pretty home posts online and subsequent feelings of inadequacy that led me to share the contents and state of my garage. Life is real and life can be messy. Here's hoping yours is as real as mine.



Sarah said...

"Hard labor" - ha! your girl has a sense of humor. Whenever my Mom had us spend a day doing chores she called it a Home Ec intensive :).

Our garage is probably in line with yours. We haven't touched it since bringing our twins home a year ago. It's extra bad since our washer and dryer are out there as well. My husband went out last weekend and broke down a lot of the boxes we had sitting out there - it's just a start, but already an improvement.

Bonnie said...

This made me laugh, and I can totally relate- you should see our basement. (which is all of my fault, because sewing/crafting stuff has a way of multiplying and sprawling about when you aren't looking. Not unlike garages. Though there is no broken glass so I guess we aren't quite as classy as you are. : D )

Tonya said...

I don't think you can have a large family, I have 8 children, and also have a perfectly ordered and spotless house. I have sort of given up until they are all grown.

~ Shannon said...

Our garage has undergone MANY cleanups in the past 3 1/2 years -- and somehow it still atrophies back into a state of disorderly confusion! Each cleanup is a little better, but we have a long way to go.

And I have a feeling there's a huge difference between a true hoarder and someone with an untidy garage (at least, all of us with disorganized garages had better hope so! :-).

Thanks for keeping it real, Hannah! ;-)


Momma Bug said...

Signs of life friend, signs of life :-)

I have a friend who keeps a sterile house with sterile floors and sterile children. I love her but it's a little uncomfortable for me.
I love your term "crunchy floors".
I would only add "comfortably crunchy" or "just crunchy enough".

I've grown up with places like your garage through my whole life, and my mom and dad always had tons of stuff to create with. My brothers and sisters and I always had the ingredients at hand for a good mess-making and I credit that largely to my parents keeping all sorts of this and that in the corners of our house and lining the hallways.

Upon our first move to the country with two toddlers years ago, we had a rather ramshackle and tiny farmhouse. There was only one place I could see out of that house easily and that was through the front door, so that is where I designated the "construction zone" for my boys to tear into with shovels and picks and Tonkas and sticks... It was not a pretty sight, but I had to have them close to keep an eye on in that season and I was willing to have my front yard torn apart for the thing I was hoping to accomplish for my children. I'm so glad that was my decision. It was humbling, but it was the right thing to do.
Instead of people seeing a groomed front entry to my abode, they were greeted by the Construction Zone and it was full of the signs of life.

I know garages and closets and basements and under beds are not necessarily Construction Zones, but they can be indicative of better priorities than cleaning relentless crevasses :-)

I think your life is beautiful - crunchy floors, garage black holes and all!

Love to you

Anonymous said...

Love this.. made me think of that poem by Shel Silverstein.. "Sarah something something stout would not take the garbage out."

Love it.. So Happy you are back !

Sue in NJ

fourshoves said...

Appreciate you keeping it real. I too can start to feel inadequate when I visit some blogs. Our family is right there with you!

Jeannine said...

So glad that you are back blogging. I think I started reading your blog about nice years ago when I still had my blog "Sharing life" :).
Lots of love from Germany!

Magi said...

You're normal. Please let you be normal, because that would mean we, too, can be normal. It's one am and I'm taking a break from de-cluttering for a birthday party that we're having here tomorrow afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Momma Bug. I go in and out of comfort with our mess but never uncomfortable enough to finally get truly cleaned and organized. There is just too much life to live instead.

But a recent visit from an old clean-obsessed friend has left me feeling guilty and embarrassed. I needed your reminder of what's really important.