With reckless abandon I tunneled my way into the cold dusty space, determined to clear a wide path before the end of the day. I set out to do what seemed like an impossibility. Our large storage room above the garage had reeked of neglect, and now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays was over, what better way to start our year than to do an extreme makeover, to bring our secret room back to life and usefulness. On New Year’s Day while others were preparing black eyed peas and hog jowl, we would be putting things in order for a fresh start of our own.
Knowing that this job would require teamwork, Katrina and I set out on day one of this new year in the right direction. Our biggest challenge was not only to dismantle the Christmas tree downstairs, along with all of its associated paraphernalia, but to find an acceptable location in the storage room upstairs. I believe that we started with the idea of just cleaning up a little to make some room, but by the time we got in and rolled up our sleeves, it was full steam ahead.
First, I went into this with the idea that I needed to annihilate the lifetime collection of bills I had accumulated over the last twenty something years. I’ve been pretty obsessed with hanging onto these, but the time had finally arrived for me to toss out some check stubs and banking records, many of which dated back to when I was in high school. Surprisingly, the more I got into it, the more exhilarating it was to finally be rid of some of this clutter that I have been moving around from house to house, room to room, for all of my adult life.
Other decisions had to be made regarding larger (perhaps valuable at one time) items from our cache of stuff. When Katrina and I married and combined our two households into one, we discovered that we had two identical Christmas trees. We’ve used both of them off and on over the years, but now that both of them are quite dilapidated, not to mention the fact that we bought a new one many moons ago to replace them, we knew it was time to say bye-bye to the two withering evergreens. Down to the curb they will go, both trees, together forever in the city dump.
Now that we were making some real progress I buckled down and broke out the shop-vac, ready to suck up anything that got in my path. I was quite careful to gather a collection of stray puzzle pieces, Battleship pegs, Legos, and marbles as the dust flew and the floor became visible again. Katrina had done a splendid job of packing the “good” Christmas tree up, and we were well on our way to creating a hospitable environment for children and adults alike. Katrina had been using this as her sewing room, and the kids played and watched movies in here, and now they would be able to return even more comfortably than before.
Katrina and I knew that we were making some good headway when the kids showed up and began discovering all of the toys that they had forgotten they had. Perhaps if we had done this over a week ago our Christmas budget could have been a lot more desirable. We could have just wrapped up all of the stuff that had left the kids’ memories. Somehow I don’t think I would have gotten away with that one, but who knows, there’s always next year.
As I sit here happily typing now on the loveseat in our new secret room, I am happy to know that the trash man will get a good workout this week as he hauls away our twin Christmas trees and a treasure trove of other junk. Perhaps he will even find something of value for himself as we bask in the wide open spaces of our new storage area. At the rate we’re going, I may have some more for him next week!
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, January 2, 2011