Things came to a head last week: our 17+ year-old clothes washing machine was acting up in ways that were worrisome. T, ever the consummate troubleshooter, looked up the problem online. “Oh no,” she exclaimed. “It sounds like the main bearing is shot. We could replace it, but it would cost at least as much as buying new, and with no guarantee that anything else about that machine wouldn’t catastrophically fail shortly after.”
“Merde.” I said wittily, and we hopped in the car, carefully enmasked, to see about buying a new machine. The process was relatively painless. As is her wont, T had already scoped out Consumer Reports for the most highly-rated machines, and as it happened they had the model we wanted in stock – if we were willing to take the floor model. Supply issues have hit the appliance industry hard. Nothing about them is considered essential, or so I gathered, so many factories are shut down with no end in sight to the supply drought for new machines. We bought the thing we’d just been kicking and leaning on and counted ourselves lucky. That was Wednesday. On Friday, our new machine would be delivered.
Once back in the car, we looked at each other and groaned. Our basement resembles the warehouse in the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, only with less space to move. We might’ve qualified for an episode of Hoarders, but were rejected, as there weren’t nearly enough dangerously leaning stacks of 30 year-old newspapers, nor piles of empty fast-food boxes and wrappers lying about. No, we have boxes of stuff. Collections, accoutrements for hobbies, sentimental bric-a-brac, and more than a few boxes of Assorted Things from clearing out after all four of our parents passed away during the last decade is what makes up the bulk of our junk mountains. We do go on binges and clear out several boxes worth at a time Over a weekend, but it scarcely seems to make a dent, and we lose hope of ever making any real progress and give up for a while. We now had 48 hours to clear a path wide enough for the delivery persons to take the old machine out and bring the new one in.
Long story short: we did it! Being a guy, I went to the obligatory Stacking School program one summer, and I must admit I would’ve made my tutors proud last week with my epic exploits at Putting Things on Top of Other Things. The machine was delivered, it works, the old one was taken away and recycled, and we got caught up on laundry at last.
But there’s another problem: we’ve started going through boxes again, and one notable conversation went like this:
T: “Here, you are watching me throw this (coffee mug) away, right?” <Clunk!>
Me: “Yes, yes I am. Why?”
T: “That mug has a crack in the bottom. It leaks. I set it aside meaning to throw it away years ago and it inexplicably got packed up.”
Me: “You could give it as a present to someone you don’t like…”
T: <Glaring harshly> “Not. Helping.”
We did, however, identify several boxes and one large trash bag, all full of stuff intended to be donated to charity. As soon as we can do that again, we’ll clear those out. Meantime, they live in our garage, where useful but unwanted things go to die.
Did I mention that the device that opens our garage door broke recently?