Gress: Pro- or Re-?

toy room 0619
As with most of my projects, the toy room is twice the mess it was now that I’ve “cleaned.” But at least the game cupboard in the back is considerably more bare than it used to be.

Since I’m sure you’ve been in suspense since yesterday, I did not open my retail store for bicycle visitors, and I did not get caught up on the 100 work projects I am behind on. I let myself get talked out it rather easily by my breakfast companions — what are friends for, hm? — and instead took up a series of activities that seemed designed to wear me down. It may have been more productive, but it doesn’t feel that way from here.

After breakfast Lynn and I went out to the new house, because before he left for 10 days of vacation on Thursday, Dusty assured us one of his guys was going to spend the weekend putting our floors down. But he never showed up. We have a friend who got new floors last year (in a different city) who likes her floors but not the way they got put together, so I’m kind of worried that ours are going to get done by young crew members without much experience and no supervision by Dusty. But apparently I’m worrying needlessly, since they might not get done at all while he’s gone.

It’s also becoming painfully clear that I am not to be trusted with a tape measure. They sound easy enough to use, right? You clip the little metal dealie at one end and read the number at the other. But I keep making mistake after mistake, and after I carefully measured both a cabinet unit and the available space to make sure it would fit, and spent the money, I measured for a third or fourth time — and somehow the unit I was sure was 67 inches long is really 81 inches. How does someone even do that?

So now I have to configure the laundry room once again, but I’m thinking it might be easiest, and safest, to just wait until the cabinets are on-site. Which they could be now, if the floors were done. Oh, wait.

Then I waded into cleaning and sorting, and if it turns out I have no affinity for tape measures (I mean, really), I have even less skill and fortitude for this project.

I went past all the clutter on the floor of what used to be my toy room but is now just a catchall for all the crap that doesn’t fit anywhere else, straight to one of the few remaining “toy” portions of the room. There’s a deep two-shelf cupboard that I’ve always used for storing games and party supplies.

Filling one box with games and supplies I want to keep sounds simple enough, but it took much longer than it should, because I was trying to maximize usage of the box and trying to decide if I was going to need to inflate anything in the next three months, or three years, which is probably more like how long it’s going to take to unpack.

I kept Twister, even though I probably can’t manage anything more than “right foot blue” before having to give up, but I did decide to part with the three Star Trek board games I have never played because the rules are so convoluted. It occurred to me as I was bagging them up for the “donate” pile that the problem with donating all of these items to Six Points (a local thrift store) is that one of my friends is bound to see them there, buy them and bring them to me as gifts. At least Six Points will get some money for them before they end up back in my closet.

I did realize, while poking through the game cupboard, that I used to be a lot more fun than I am now. And maybe that’s true for my friends, too. When’s the last time any of us wore alien headgear? And I had completely forgotten about Pin the Beer Stein on the Fräulein complete with a St. Pauli Girl poster and laminated construction-paper beer steins.

(Now, in the cold light of a new day, I am wondering why I packed the laminated beer steins, because clearly those days are over, and this game’s time has come and gone.)

Here is the problem: if we are measuring this stuff on a scale of Need, I don’t “need” any of it. By that criteria, everything in this house could just go away and never be missed. But even if none of my friends ever dons a pair of alien head boppers again, pulling out the stack of them yesterday made me smile. Until I heard the entire chorus of people in my life telling me to get rid of all of this. I put them in the “keep” pile despite all of you.

My collection of “stuff” is vastly surpassed by my collection of paper. I have never met a piece of paper I didn’t feel compelled to keep. I come by this honestly, since some of the papers I find are clippings passed along to me by my grandparents.

I started in on a pile, determined to winnow it down, but I didn’t get very far, mostly because it was now time to walk the dog and eat dinner. I did dig far enough to find some distinct themes: I’d pulled a page out of a 2006 issue of Mother Earth News featuring “Electric Vehicle Resources.” Back then, the best you could hope for was a NEV: Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, really a glorified golf cart. But I wanted one all the same. And now, a mere decade later, I have one. It’s still kind of a NEV, but much more than a glorified golf cart.

In another prophetic turn, I found this from 2008: the last three paragraphs of some article detailing a person’s new house: “In-floor heat warms the home. On the exterior, low-maintenance stucco siding prevails. . . . Instead of stain, a wood product called LifeTime was applied. It’s an eco-friendly, non-toxic preservative, and only needs to be applied once.”

So I don’t need to save that scrap of paper, because soon I’ll be living it exactly. But I’m going to mark it as a little treasure from a long day that doesn’t seem to have gotten me far at all, other than maybe thrust back into the past.


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