Saturday, April 9, 2011

Insight from the Garage Up

It's Springtime in the Northeast, and that means clean, clean, clean.  As my wife set about cleaning out the refrigerator, trying to find the culprit behind that smell attacking the senses every time the door was opened, I set out upon the unenviable task of cleaning out the garage.  No mean feat, considering our two-car garage hasn't had a car in it in quite a while, and has become home to everything we absolutely need, just not right now.

Spring also means taking the plow off and storing it in the garage until next year, which is the main reason why today was garage cleaning day. Everything has to come out of the garage in order to put the plow in, and then everything has to be put back. Fun!

Our house sits up on a hill, and at 2100 square feet, my driveway affords me the thrill of blasting out onto the street like Batman, (if Batman drove a minivan). All well and good, until it snows.  It once took me eight hours to shovel my driveway,(on my birthday, no less), in order for family members to congregate at my house when Christmas day got snowed out. So, I now have a plow for my little SUV.
When I emerged from bed on this bright and sunny Saturday morning, I informed my kids that today was the day, and they had 30 minutes to wrap their minds around the fact that they couldn't play video games all day. After much grumbling and kvetching, (which I tried to ignore), 30 minutes had passed, and I insisted that they get dressed and join me outside.

Their little minds scrambling for a way out, the youngest announced, "I'm hungry!", which of course is a show stopper.  As their mom turned on a dime from her task to attend to the all-important act of feeding her offspring, (complete with smug smiles from the children in response to my exasperated sigh), I announced that they were not to hurry eating, (so they don't choke - which would be all my fault should it happen), but they were to join me when they had finished. It was then that the phone rang.

Of course, one of my children's friends called, inviting one over to play.  Large, round, doe-like eyes asked permission to go. "When we're done." I replied.  Well, that sparked a fire under my oldest, who proceded to attack the chore at hand with the usual attempt at "helping Daddy".

When everything was out of the garage and spread out over the driveway as if the contents had been washed out in a flood and the water had just receded, the inevitable, "Can I go now?" chorus began. My youngest had not yet joined us, so I said, "Sure, you did some good work." My plan was to have my youngest help put it all back.  Unbeknowst to me, two things were occuring inside the house that would change this perfect plan.  The first was that the refrigerator cleaning had somehow become more important than my little "job" and I was to drive my child to the friend's house.  Fine.  I did that, covered in dust and sweat.  Upon my return, I found my other child on the phone with a friend. Knowing that I was now alone in finishing this task, my wife leans out through the garage door to ask if I had been asked to drive the youngest to the other friend's house.

"Can you?" which really meant, "and so you shall."

More dust, more sweat, and this time I have to get out and share small talk with the friend's parents before heading back to finish the job.

I finish.  I shower.  I sit down to write this when the familiar chime of a text message sounds from my phone.  Of course, I'm alerted to the fact that it is time to pick up the first kid.  I'm convinced the other will call as soon as I return home and sit down.