Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Purge and I

Day 4 of the big Purge. What an ugly word for a really great concept. The white garage, as we call it, where Crash put all of his stuff "temporarily" while he cleaned out the basement (x-number of years ago) is partially dismantled, its twisted metal skeleton exposed and almost ready to be taken down, the contents about 60% removed to meet their fate in the dumpster...or the yard sale, whichever applies.

When the dumpster dude showed up on Monday and did his best to put the thing where I wanted it, he said "is that ok?" and I said, "It's fine. It's beautiful". Shaking his head a little, he said "Well, I don't know how beautiful it is..." and I said "trust me, it's the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time. I don't want to go to work today, I want to stay home and throw stuff away". "You'll get tired of THAT in about 10 minutes". To which I just smiled and said "Nope...I doubt it". Now on Day 4, I still don't want to go to work. But of course, I have to. So I've been working on the dumpster project after work every day, and I'm making great progress. I think. But although the pile in the dumpster is growing visibly (and thank GOD I got the big one), the mess in the back yard, inexplicably, seems also to be growing. Progress, apparently, is messy. I lamented to Preston last night that I have no place to put the good stuff temporarily to get it out of my way while I get rid of the no-good stuff. He said, "you know what you need? You need a white garage!" Wise guy.

Sparky apologized to me today, which made me laugh a little. It's not YOUR fault, I said. I don't hold it against him. And I don't. It's one of the things that made Crash who he was, this incessant accumulation. Everywhere I open a drawer or tote or box, there are projects he planned to do. Sketches of things he was trying to figure out a way to make work against all odds. Things he'd get around to fixing someday. And the reason, I think, that he never got around to finishing all these projects is that he had more fun PLANNING to finish the projects.

So far I am taking two things away from this project. The first is an overwhelming compulsion to clean my house. Which is why it's 2am and I've just sat down. The second is the notion that I should stop accumulating projects to finish and finish the ones I have started already. Because I have inherited that from him, that tendency to never finish what I start. I was just telling Sue the other day, the most fun part of a new project for me is the planning, the gathering together of materials, the design phase. And let me tell you, I have gathered together a pretty impressive collection of materials. I think it's time to put them to good use.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pay a dollar, take a chance

Isn't this intriguing album art? I thought so. I was at a yard sale, poking through a box of meaningless 80's compilations and cookie-cutter hip hop CDs, and I found this. Never heard of Libby Kirkpatrick before, but hell, it was only $1. So that was last week, and it's lived in my car CD player up until yesterday, when something else interesting came along...more on that later. Anyway, this CD grabbed my right from the opening notes (a bass intro, so no surprise there) and Libby's voice reminds me at different moments of Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Rickie Lee Jones, and several other people all rolled into one. And words...lots of words. Folk-ish music, sometimes jazzy, sometimes not so much. I really got my dollar's worth, and I would dispute the adage that you can't judge a book by its cover.

So then this week, poking through another box of CDs. I think between me and my son, we have just about all of them. Mars Volta, Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls, J. Mascis...and wait! There were two Dream Theater CDs I hadn't heard yet! I can't really say I'm a "fan" of Dream Theater. It's kind of hard to explain, except to say that for me, I have to take them on a CD by CD basis. A band that's been together for 25 years goes through a lot of changes and not all of them pleasant to hear. For me. But I was excited, because I am a fan of Mike Portnoy (who after 25 years has left the band, unfortunately). As drummers go, he's a beast. So I popped it into the player, and as the second track started I thought, wow, that's a shameless ripoff of "funeral for a friend" by Elton John. Checked out the album notes and what do you know? That's exactly what it was. Awesome job by DT, and the album (Change of Seasons, BTW) is mostly covers...Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Genesis, A real gem, and for 50 cents! Anybody who sticks their nose in the air at yard sales doesn't know what he's missing.

D-Day Eve

Ah, spring...the sun is shining, the birds are singing, not a cloud in the sky...ok, none of that is true. Well, the birds are singing but the rest is just all lies. BUT it's a great day here at the compound because tomorrow is DUMPSTER DAY!!! That's right, the day Sparky and I have been anticipating all year is finally here! Tomorrow we get a big, ugly 30-yard rolloff container plopped right in the middle of the back yard. We are just beside ourselves with glee, knowing that finally the big purge can begin in earnest!

The amount of utter crap that a family can accumulate is something you probably don't think about until you have to move. Or, failing that, until it reaches proportions almost suitable for its own reality show...or it's own zip code. What we have here at the compound has an unsettling similarity to "Sanford and Son" in places. But that all changes, starting tomorrow.

I don't know why Crash always had such an aversion to throwing things away. Good things, junky things, useful things, broken things, they're all here. I find myself thinking twice before getting rid of stuff, and I blame Crash for that. Do I really want to get rid of this? Has it outlived ALL possible usefulness? Could someone else use it? Could it be fixed? What if I need it at some point? Has it got parts that can be used to fix something else? You can drive yourself crazy with that thought process. And sooner or later, you accumulate SO much stuff that if there is something there that you need, you'll just never be able to find it. It reaches a point where you just have to let it go.

For whatever reason, Crash just never reached that point. In fact Preston told me that one day my dad gestured to all the...stuff in the back yard (see the previous post for a sample) and said, "some day this will all be yours" and then cackled ominously. I think in later years, the thought of dealing with any of it just got to be too overwhelming for him, even if he wanted to deal with it. I know I find it overwhelming. But every day Sparky has to look out the back window and see anything other than birds, chimpunks, and my dog, is a shame.

Let the purge begin!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

American Picker Hell... what this is. Well, it didn't START that way. It's actually one of those car port/tent things which Crash set up to store a lot of stuff from the basement temporarily. But we had a really hard winter, and the poles of the thing were not strong enough to withstand all the abuse. The roof and poles buckled during the first really big storm of the winter, and after that it was not even close to weathertight even though all the "walls" were still up. So everything that was in there is now wet and ruined and smelly and full of miscellaneous wildlife. THAT sure didn't take long. My mission, and I choose to accept it because there's something really wrong with me, is to poke through it and see if there's anything salvageable to put in the upcoming yard sale. it's not really safe--or physically possible--to go inside, so it'll have to be attacked from the outside. So since time is marching on and it's June already, and I had an hour to kill yesterday, I began by peeling it like a big white stinky banana. Look at the mess I made, isn't that impressive? Poor Sparky, like it wasn't ugly enough before yesterday, now the view from the big kitchen window is even more repulsive. The view from MY kitchen window is just as bad, only from a different angle...but at least I can park the truck in front of it and I don't have to see it! I hope we can get it cleaned up quickly, and we will if the weather cooperates! Or as Crash would have said, if "God's willin' and the creek don't rise".