The Christmas tree came down on Monday.
I used to think that having an artificial tree was my lazy solution to avoiding pine sap on the hands and needles on the rug, even though real trees do smell better. But the “Coming down of the Christmas tree” ritual makes me doubt that logic.
Because the tree – not to mention five big plastic crates of decorations, ribbons, lights, wrapping paper, bows, stuffed Santas, etc. – is stored in the shed attached to the house. And mostly because, before putting them all back, we always decide that this is the ideal time to clean out the shed.
“We,” of course, does not include “me” although I never argue much about it.
So Monday, I took everything out of the shed and piled it in the backyard and then attacked the large empty space with broom, blower, and vacuum cleaner.
The final step is to throw away everything that we don’t want, need, or use and place whatever remains in a nice orderly display.
Recently, one of the bloggers I follow -- Kathy at Four Dog Day -- caught a nugget of truth, writing about how hard it was to throw away a pair of old slippers. Her blog was followed by a bevy of comments about holding on to old shoes, dresses, hats, etc. Now I don't want to sound like I'm stereotyping -- but most of these comments were written by women. I don't have a problem chucking out clothes.
BAGMAN: “I’ll even throw away the ones I’m wearing!!!”
BUTLER: “You would, you compulsive exhibitionist!”
But the point is that there is a male version of this. Being a guy, I can throw away clothes but I have a hard time throwing away tools and "stuff." I start sorting through the pile in the backyard and come upon a broken rake handle. This should be a no-brainer. But I look at the trash bin and something comes over me. I think that I might have a need to attach something to this handle someday or use it to poke something out of a tree.
A broken and torn window screen. Ah, but who knows? Someday I might need to build a small box with ventilation holes and a piece of the screen might be useful. Why would I build a small box? I don’t know. But maybe.
Scraps of wood and siding. Well, duh! I’m sure I’ll be looking for a piece of wood sometime in the future.
So, after throwing away nothing except a couple of bent nails, I put everything back including my two large tool boxes. And why, you might be asking, do I need TWO tool boxes?
BAGMAN: “I wouldn’t be asking that.”
BUTLER: “Neither would I.”
I’ll answer it anyway. I have one tool box for my tools. The other tool box is stuffed with accumulated small pieces of metal – parts of curtain hanging assemblies, angle irons, hooks and fasteners, etc. There are unidentifiable things that were inexplicably left over after assembling grills, mowers, cabinets, and ceiling fans – parts that probably should be somewhere in those appliances but I never figured out where to put them.
And you never know when you might need the knob from an old record player.
So, once I was sure that Karen wasn’t watching, I put absolutely everything back in the shed. Then I went back in the house, walked straight to my closet and threw away two pairs of shoes and a shirt, just to prove I could.