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"Whatcha doing' Mr. David?"

The new car demanded a reconfigured garage. We could fit the new one in there, but with little room to spare. No way to open the rear hatch, for instance, without opening up the retracting door. Only a skinny passage from the passenger side to the steps down into the house. I'd been meaning to clean it up, anyway. Autumn and Spring, my garage gets at least a once over. In Fall to accommodate all the pots and planters, hoses and things necessary to maintain the summertime garden, and again in Spring to export out into the garden all the stuff I crammed in there the Autumn before. With The Zoom Car on to its next incarnation, I shipped the Summer tires off to the new owner, making some new space.

I put off the effort until after I'd thoroughly considered what really needed doing.
I'm early, the season not quite yet settled enough to move out the summertime stuff. Reconfiguring the garage seems most like playing one of those tile puzzles. Moving any thing necessitates moving something else, often more than once. The object of the exercise might be to minimize the number of multiple moves, but if this is the object, I hardly succeed, for it seems I move everything at least twice; some stuff more than five times. At one level the effort feels deeply gratifying. I find the opportunity to undo some glaring holdover sins of the past, though I know I commit a few for into the future, too. The whole exercise centers around compromise.

Anyone not involved in the great reshuffling has no standing to say anything but "Nice Job!" about the outcome, because to really understand the new organization, one just had to be there at the time. The organizer could not explain the central organizing principle even if he could remember what it was at the time. Garage organizing isn't the sort of work where one designs then builds, but the type that entices an emergent design to appear near the end of the work. Because of this, the work can seem confusing for the handyman trying to complete it and no less so for the supportive spouse trying to encourage the effort. He might hold broad notions, but at least half of those will prove unworkable, and once the reordering begins, it must be worked to conclusion. The new car will not sit in the driveway overnight.

I have about a dozen sacred objects stored in my garage, objects which have followed me around most of my adult life for which I feel a special stewardship. I might never use these tools, but I hold them closest to my heart anyway. The wounded turning fork. Every time I take it down I whisper that I really should take it to a blacksmith or metal worker and get its snaggle-toothed tine straightened out again. My several shovels, each specially purposed for specific sorts of digging. My little fetishes, like the Rocket J. Squirrel figurine which used to inhabit the dashboard in my old, old Subaru, but now holds a special overseeing position on the pegboard tool holder. I make certain these special possessions survive the reordering intact and re-respected.

Much of the work turns out to be simply finishing festering intentions. That box of ornament boxes needed breaking down before Christmas. I break it down into constituent recyclables. Another box which I halfway slated for trash last Fall, survived another cut because I put up even more shelves today. Part of my purpose seems to be to get as much as possible up off the floor. Anything on a shelf just seems more orderly somehow. My old bike won't really fit anywhere, no hooking it upside down from the ceiling for me. I figure it's earned the right to remain somewhat underfoot. I sweep and dust and collate until the neighbor kids stick their heads in with the inevitable question, "Whatcha doing' Mr. David?" I'm reorganizing my existence. They get an old croquet set out of the deal, which delights us both!

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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