Lightening the load

After checking on my burgeoning crop of rhubarb forcing its way out of the pots in the basement, I rummaged through my computer hard drive for a suitable contribution to this week’s paper. Although both the Pearl and the Pontoon boat are now gone from my life and my garage, some of the fond memories and junk remains. Maybe I can get rid of it in 2022.

I finally found it! The floor of the garage that is. It all started with the approach of the hibernation season.

“Elliott, you left the garage door open again. If we get a skunk in there, you’ll never be able to root it out of that jungle of junk on your side of the garage. And you’ll need a place to live if I get sprayed!” warned my wife, the Pearl of the Orient one morning on her return from a close encounter of the stinky kind.

“Yeah, I need a place to store the pontoon boat, The Pearl of the Rainy, for the winter. I measured it up and if I clean that far bay, cut a notch in the work bench, it’ll fit in, just. Be a bit tricky backing it in though,” I commented as I considered the scope of the task.

“I’ll back that stupid pontoon boat in!” snorted the Pearl, her love affair with cruising the Rainy obviously not yet firmly cemented. I demurred on her offer, visions of crumpled aluminum, garage doors, splintered lumber, and bent bumpers racing through my fertile imagination.

I reconnoitered the problem first thing next morning. Proper planning was essential. First thing I had to do was reduce the scope of the problem. First I invited Pickle over. He’s Rainy River’s premier hoarder and now he’s fully retired is thinking of turning professional. I lured him over with the promise of a couple of non-weedeating, weed eaters.

“Oh, they’ll fit in with the other six I have. I can tune ‘em up and take ‘em to the swap and shop meet next year. Better get ‘em loaded up so I can get ‘em home and tucked away before my wife gets home from work,” enthused Pickle as he fondled his new treasures. Before his euphoria abated, I managed to also load him up with some scrap sheet metal, an old lawnmower, and some other junk. I now had a path- sort of- through the rest of the collection.

Next I called in Scrounger, a close second to Pickle in the Rainy River Pickers category. He has the added advantage of a large rural storage capacity-about a section or two, and a young family that can make good use of treasures- a few cases of bottles, a poly skating rink, some scrap metal, and a few other goodies. With a trip to Lamont’s scrap yard, I also managed to clear away the pile of pipes I had lovingly salvaged from the dump a couple of years back.

Next I started to sort the stacked shelves of bolts, screws, nails etc. The three dozen empty coffee cans I had salvaged from the Bakery were put into service. An even dozen took my full stash of bent, rusty nails for a trip to the dump. Now, why was I saving them? The rest of my collection is now in colour –coordinated, corrosion and spill proof containers. Maybe I should mark them so I know where to start looking for things. Nah, later. That took a day. The used work gloves- 13 rights and 8 lefts- all with holes or so badly saturated with paint that they were stiffer than planks also headed north. I kept my duct-tape collection.

The boxes of obsolete computer components met a similar fate. I lovingly shed a tear or two over each circuit board and then tossed them. At the dump Hanson asked if I was applying for a volume permit, but took my money… every trip. At the metal pile I suppressed an almost irresistible urge to rescue some treasures, but made it out with an empty truck.

Len stopped by to offer advice allowing I could store some surplus in his shed. I had been putting some stuff in my basement, but had vowed to bring one load out each time I carried a load in. After all, the number of trips my knees could take those stairs before seeing a surgeon is definitely in sight.

‘Oh I don’t worry about cleaning out my basement. I’ve willed it to my daughter-in-law,” quipped Len concerning his own extensive collection of… stuff. I’m not sure what he has against her, but it is well known that basements are where you put stuff that is still too good to throw out, so it can die a natural death.

By Saturday evening, I found the garage floor, but the skunks still could hibernate under the pontoon boat, I guess.