Saturday, July 31, 2021

The biggest project of all

This post is mainly for friends and family who have been to my house, but this is also about a very important project for my future, something I’ll explain more later on, but this post is basically the introduction to what is a really big topic.

Here we go: on Tuesday of last week, I began what‘s absolutely the biggest, most exhausting project I’ve done in my house since I moved in 18 months ago: I began working on clearing out and organising my garage.

I hesitated to say anything before now because I’ve been acutely embarrassed by the overrun, overstuffed, overwhelming garage—“the garage of no return”, I called it. At the same time, though, I also truly didn’t care about it. The difference between caring and not caring came when I had to go in there and had to manoeuvre through too-skinny walkways. That and when I felt like other people felt I should care—that’s when I felt embarrassed.

The other reason I didn’t want to say anything is because to me it looks only slightly better. In my mind, I could imagine someone looking inside the garage right now and innocently asking, “So: When are you going to start?” because I have so much more to do.

What have I visibly accomplished? Well, I removed all the boxes stacked in front of one of the windows, for one thing. It’s the first time since I moved in 18 months ago that light pours in. Even on the dark, rainy afternoons over the past week’s time, the light was surprisingly good (and will be for my eventual projects when I’m done organising).

The main headline, though, is that I’ve emptied the equivalent of 59 boxes over 7 days (44 in the first four days), but the reality is a bit more complicated because some boxes were huge, others just big, and some were ordinary size. So, to make it easier to track, I estimated the equivalent volume, which would be 59 ordinary boxes. Of those, three had nothing but newsprint in them, but they’re broken down now, too.

My specific motivator was that there are things I’ve been looking for since I moved in, and it’s gotten to the point it’s annoying. Even more specifically, I know Nigel had several audio mixers (which he originally got for his radio shows), and I happen to need one for a non-public project. I also haven’t seen his microphone since we moved to South Auckland in Feb 2017, and it’s a good one.

Added on to that is the fact that I finally decided I didn’t care if the lounge was overrun with stuff for awhile, something that had always been a barrier before because everything I unpack has to go somewhere, but there hasn’t been a “somewhere” to put it.

I’m putting all Nigel’s electronic bits and pieces, along with various empty boxes for various electronic bits and pieces, in one spot. Then, I’ll put them together on some shelves in the garage so I can properly sort through it all (I have more stored in my office, and I’ll be able to put them together with the others, giving me more space in my office, too).

My priority for boxes has been all the ones that came from the movers, and I think I only have at most a couple more of them to go. Early next week, things going well, I’ll ring the movers to come and collect the empty boxes (which they said they’d do whenever I was ready).

After that, I’ll organise a skip (dumpster) for all the junk that’s of no use to anyone, stuff that can’t be given away, sold, re-used, or recycled (this doesn’t include e-waste of course; I’ll get rid of that appropriately).

When I started this project, I had very little room to move in the garage, and things kept falling over. That was annoying. But it seemed like nearly every box I opened had more and more of Nigel’s electronic bits and pieces or parts from various projects—what he called his “toys”. I got grumpy with Nigel because of how hard all that was. And then I got grumpy with myself.

After he was diagnosed, Nigel said he wanted to go through all his “toys” so I wouldn’t have to. I know he said that to others, too, and that near the end he said how sorry he was he wouldn’t get the chance. So, I know that if it was possible for anyone to feel bad after they died, Nigel would be miserable that he left me with such a mammoth job to do, and if he could, he’d tell me how sorry he was.

So, I wasn’t actually angry with Nigel, just tired and grumpy over how much physically difficult and tiring work it‘s been, and is, and will be. Besides, I’d gladly work to find places for ten times that much of stuff—a billion times more—if it meant I could have my life with Nigel back. Things don’t work that way.

There’s far more to this story, like about how much of it feels like I’m stepping into someone else’s life, including Nigel’s partner before me, Gary, who died about two years before Nigel and I met in real life. That’s a topic for another day, but right now I’ll say this: that’s been the most emotionally challenging aspect of this whole project, and I’ve shed more than a few tears. Some might say I care too much, but I wonder, why don’t others care as much? But, all that’s for another day. Promise.

I got very little done on Tuesday of this week (“First Jab Day”), and nothing much on Wednesday, Thursday, or yesterday, either. There were extenuating circumstances.

I have specific plans for this weekend, but no matter how well it goes, I think I’ve got at least another week before I’ll be done. For the first time in 18 months, though, I’m truly, and completely, okay with that.


Roger Owen Green said...

STUFF! More stuff than I'm dealing with, a subject of a post soon.

Arthur Schenck said...

It’s a never-ending battle.