It sat there in our driveway for days, mocking us. A large empty metal container, with gaping maw, daring Randy and me to fill its huge belly. My husband and I looked at each other. Ordering a dumpster seemed a good idea, something we do each year. Except this time, we forgot one crucial thing.
Our adult sons, who usually do all the lifting, heaving, and hauling, are hardly around these days. Between work and grad school, both are busy around the clock.
We peered into that large, yawning cavern. This week would be challenging. My husband has disabilities that make for tough walking and sometimes trouble lifting heavy objects. I’m a small female. We’re both in our sixties, hardly the A-team for doing tough, demanding physical labor.
Over the next few days, we made a few desultory passes, throwing stuff in here and there, barely covering the bottom.
I was afraid we’d have to return a mostly empty container when I got the call one late afternoon.
“Are you sitting?” Randy asked from his cell phone. I got scared, not sure what to expect. “I’m cleaning out the garage.” I gasped. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet. My husband was going into the messiest, scariest, most horrible room in our home.
I jumped off the chair where I’d been reading. “I’m going in too,” I said to my confused terrier. I’d been waiting years to tackle this project.
And this led to the good, bad, and mysterious part of cleaning that garage…
The Good – This place hadn’t seen a decent tossing and going-over in ages. Donning face masks, Randy and I each tackled our own “sides.” It felt great throwing out cracked flowerpots, old bicycles with no tires, decrepit outdoor cushions, broken lawn furniture, piles of rubbish and junk, the list went on and on.
The Bad – The work was hard and gross. Some stuff had petrified onto the floor, and it took stronger back muscles than I had to lift it from the wreckage. Cobwebs and calcified leaves covered things hidden away in shadowy nooks. After the floor was visible, I swept the place. King Tut’s tomb was less dusty.
The Mysterious –Then I started sensing Randy wanted me to leave so he could finish his side without my nosy interference. What was he hiding, I wondered? The body of Jimmy Hoffa? Was there a tad too many (*cough*) musical instruments he had to go through? Gadgets that had been stored for years and forgotten?
Whatever. I left. Beggars can’t be choosers. Afterwards, the garage looked organized, clean, and almost empty. I kept pinching myself. Our sons came later and tossed more stuff from the basement and under the back deck.
Two days later, I watched with pride as that brimming dumpster was taken away. Okay, Randy and I were no longer young and strong, able to organize garden tools and snow shovels without breaking a sweat. But we did our best and most shocking, we did it well.
And I must give credit where credit is due. It’s not in my husband’s wheelhouse to clean and purge. Randy loves “stuff,” and lots of it. Maybe he did this chore just to fill that container. Maybe he did it for me. Maybe it was a combination of both. Whatever the case, I was grateful.
In our own humble (and yes, sometimes mysterious) ways, we filled the belly of the beast.
Have you had to do an intimidating home project with your spouse? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share.
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