Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 6, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – April 6, 2004 – Argggggggggh – my entire body shudders and I break out in a cold sweat, which really is a welcome counterpoint to my frequent hot flashes, whenever I think of this dungeon-like space in my home. You can only imagine what happens when I actually go to the basement.
Why, you ask? It is full of stuff! During my upstairs purges, I carted all my unused stuff down to the basement. I had every intention of organizing what I wanted to keep, and discarding the rest. That was four years ago.
Since then, I’ve made some progress on the road to basement beautification, but not nearly enough. It’s one of those things that just seems bigger than I am. Last year I went to Canadian Tire and bought ten large plastic storage containers. I sorted through dozens of cardboard boxes that had been in the basement for at least ten years and discarded mountains of useless papers, do-dads, old clothes, boots and dishes. I gave away what was still useful and trashed the rest.
I filled the storage bins with the things I wanted to keep, plus all my “guilt stuff” and piled them out of the way against the north wall. With the exception of my two Christmas decoration boxes, I haven’t looked in any of those bins since. This begs the question – why am I keeping this stuff? Me thinks, the actual stuff is not the real issue – it’s why I’m keeping it that must be examined. Why do I hang onto stuff?
Since the arrival of the plastic bins, I’ve done yet another upstairs purge and some additional upgrades to my home. Now all that “stuff” has found its way to the basement as well. Now whenever I go to the basement to do the laundry, my body tingles with dread. There is a narrow passage way to the washer and dryer and the rest of the basement is a jumble of bags, boxes, old paint tins, an old trunk, a couple of bicycles, old skates, a ladder, do-dads and bric a brac. It makes me silly. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone but me? It there such a thing as basement phobia? Have I developed a neurosis? Am I neurotic?
I have an idea for the space. I want to have built-in storage shelves erected at one end, beside the furnace. The other end of the basement has an old, unuseable bathroom which I want to have renovated and then I want to add a sauna. In the middle of the space, I plan to have a lovely bed- sitting room for the guests who never come to my home. Maybe I’ll invite a guest. That’s another topic altogether. However, this will add to the value of my home, so it will be money well spent.
It’s evident to me that I need a plan! I’ll be sure to make a list of things, and then I’ll get to cross them off with my favourite red pen once they’re accomplished. That simple ritual will give me a measure of satisfaction. Hummm – perhaps a wall chart would be splendid idea. Actually, not a bad thought!
I could hang it on the kitchen wall, next to the wall calendar, where it would be a constant reminder of my goal. This is not rocket science, it’s a basement clean-up. Well it’s also a purging of useless guilt. I once heard the harbouring of guilt likened to “paying interest on a debt that one doesn’t owe”.
Okay – the donning of old jeans and tee shirt is complete … deep breath … pen and paper at the ready … I am basement bound. I should be playing Simon and Garfunkel’s catchy tune – ‘Homeward Bound’. If my writing abruptly ends here, you will know that I’ve succumbed to what lurks beneath, but I don’t really think that’s going to happen.
If I just go through one box tonight, I will have made some progress. I know there’s an annoying adage that says something about a journey beginning with a single step. To paraphrase another well known maxim – “This is one small step for Rosemary … one giant step for womankind”. Okay – okay, perhaps an exaggeration – but if I can do this – you can do anything!