Monday, January 26, 2009


One thing that is NOT conducive to being a perfectionist,
is being the mom of a large brood of small children.

I managed to maintain my perfect position until
we were 5 months into our fifth child.

It was then that my perfect world began to teeter.
And it's been tottering ever since.

There are weeks when we pull everything together,
And weeks when it all falls apart.

Slowly, I have let go of some of the more important elements
of my world.... In an effort to maintain peace.

But there are weeks when we fight the good fight,
And Win.

Sometimes, it takes more than a week.
For example, our most recent battle ground,

The Garage.

I went out one day, in search of my missing husband.
I found him "reclaiming a piece of his manhood" as he called it.

He had moved everything out of our small garage---"HIS Garage", he said.

This created a small dilemma.
We no longer could park in our garage.

That was 4 weeks ago.

And so the project commenced.
We began going through 25 years worth of items.

We have only been married 13 years


This house was built in 2007.

The numbers don't quite add up.

Still, we began organizing, stacking, moving and re-stacking.

It became quite the neighborhood event.
Our Garage Endeavor was almost SPORTING.

"How much stuff will they move today?"
"Has anyone seen them throw anything away yet?"
"What side of the garage will they try to park the van in today?"

A few years ago, I became heavily involved in an effort to help our community become more prepared for emergencies. I researched, attended classes, became certified, taught classes and spoke with everyone who wanted to learn.

I love the "End of the World" hype that happens from time to time.
There is nothing more motivating than
a Good Natural Disaster to rouse people to action.
Y2K, Katrina, and a Tsunami
were all great for the effort.
And now, our economy verges on the edge of financial ruin.

I can always convince my family that we have to prepare ...AGAIN.

We organize, clean and stock.
And in the end (except there has yet to be "An End")

We find peace.

As the mother of small children, there is nothing more comforting than knowing
you are well prepared, and everything is in it's place.

And so, I agreed to Dan's mission to re-claim the garage.

In the olden days, our garage floor was so clean, you could eat off of it on any given day.
Not so much lately, in fact, it is a down-right scary place.
The children know better than to spend too much time in the garage.
It serves as a silent thief where shoes, books, jackets, tools and other household items have found their regretful demise.

On our quest to slay the beast,

We conquered what no neighbor
believed was possible.

It took some creativity, but everything eventually found a place to call home.
We found missing items and lost treasures.

I should mention that my perfect world consists of very long lists.
The children have been known on occasion to comfort me with phrases like,

"Mom, I can find a notebook and we can make a list?"

My deflated moods quickly recover with extensive lists.

With that in mind, I will tell you about my 'HANDS-DOWN'
favorite recovered Garage Artifact.

It was definitely, The Orange Life Preservers.
Attached to one of my "Emergency Preparedness Lists" was the item:
  • "Life Preserver for each member of your family.

Of course the list was not complete without the raft and oars.

The tales of The Depression rang in my ears as I pondered whether or not to keep a bin full of old jackets. What if...?
And if I didn't keep the bin....
someday, somewhere, someone would freeze to death.
And the guilt would be more than I could handle.

It was late Saturday night, after 12 hours of cleaning
that we came down to nearly the last bin of clothes... That bin made the 'keeper pile'

I made the mistake of telling Dan "that we only need this bin of old jackets if the world really ends."

In truthful sarcasm he admitted that when the world ends, he will:
float down our street in our raft,
past all our neighbors,
wearing a bright orange life-preserver
one of the ugly jackets from the 'end of the world' bin.

He confessed that it would be worth having the world end just to witness that scene.

We literally laughed until we cried.

And in retaliation to his mockery,
I made some New Rules.
That are clearly written on our 'Garage White Board'
(which is different from the 'House White Board...a few posts back)

These are the rules:
  1. Only keep items that will be useful in the event that the world ends.
  2. Come to an acceptance that the world, is in fact, going to end, and we are all going to die, but not before we suffer.
  3. If you use an item from this garage, please put it back in precisely the place you found it, so as not to exact an inevitable re-stacking of all other garage items.

Dan's posted reply:

"Words not to say to mom - "Garage Sale".

And then, without complaining, he hung up every hook and shelf I have ever purchased, packed and moved from house to house in my feeble attempt at perfection.

High: Nothing was thrown away.
Low: Nothing was thrown away.

Garage at midway point.

And Now....... after 4 long weeks

And the first words out of Colin's mouth, "I don't know why you bothered, in a few weeks it will just need cleaned again."

He takes after his father.

A stupid shelf Dan hung up for me

I convinced him we might need it for fire wood...eventually.

(He was being condescending by this point)


Ryan and Jayme said...

Beth, you should write a column in a newspaper or something. I love your posts. They are great. Your garage looks awesome. When can you guys come do mine??

Nikki said...

I love reading your posts too. You should write a book! I am super impressed with your organizing abaility! We may need you to come and help our family out! I am going to do an "end of the world bin" too. I think that's a great idea!! Always be prepared! Dan's laughing now...he won't be when it's the end of the world and you've planned ahead!! Love the shelf as well! See..planning ahead, just in case you need firewood! PS...I've implemented the White Board in my far so good!

Nancy Page said...

Wow! I'm impressed. I don't like the words pack rat, but I am one. I hate to throw things away because of the "what if" factor. Also, memories. I don't like to throw away things that bring back memories. I started to clean out my garage to condense boxes into two file cabinets that Greg got me. Wish me luck.

WishTrish said...

Beth, Whyever did you not begin your blog sooner. I love your writing! You are so much fun to read! Keep it up!