Monthly Archives: November 2011

Scream!

You know those movies, where the teenagers are all hanging out at a camp or at a friend’s house and then suddenly: THEY HEAR A NOISE?  From the deepest corners of the house, a noise that is clearly not human and not mechanical.  A noise that says something is seriously wrong.

One brave soul (usually dressed in a really tight cheer leading uniform) goes to investigate, and opens the basement door.

“Don’t do it!” we yell!  DO.  NOT.  GO.  DOWN.  THERE!

But she always does.  She goes down there, and what happens?

She gets chopped up into tiny pieces.

Why can’t she just look away?  Run? Hide?

Well, that wouldn’t be much of a movie now, would it?

The funny thing is, in real life, I think we often do look away. We  do run. We do hide. But in the end, those monsters in the basement get us anyway.
Because my friends, the monsters are us.

They are our childhood dreams, turned into resentment at lost opportunities. They are our life’s disappointments, turned into anger that things didn’t work out differently. They are our missed opportunities, turned into fear that no more opportunities exist.

In the movies, there is always scary music to let us know that danger lurks below.  In life, though, there is no scary music to tell us to when those monsters are about to attack.  They lurk for years in our psychological basements until they grow so big and powerful that we cannot ignore them any longer.  And by then, it is often too late.

Who knew I could turn a simple organizational project into a metaphor for the darkest parts of my own psyche?

YOU DID!

Seriously, I think that we should all be in the discipline of cleaning out our basements – literally and figuratively – more regularly.  We shouldn’t wait until the basement is so out of control that it is unmanageable.  We should face it, regularly, so that it is not such a big f*ing deal.

In addition to enjoying an organized pantry and a workbench free of clutter, these past weeks of spending time with my basement monsters has provided me with some incredibly useful insights and lessons.  It has been painful and a bit scary.  It has definitely not been pretty.  But I am still whole.  And I don’t need to run and hide.  AND, I have a clean basement.

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Filed under Divorce, Life, Organizing, Uncategorized

Is the basement clean yet?

Um.  No.

I have made progress, I swear!

  • I’ve taken one truck full of things to Hand’s Up, a regional charity (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army).
  • I’ve thrown out three extra garbage cans of trash.
  • I’ve given away several items through my workplace message center AND
  • I’ve sold ONE tool.
  • I’ve even posted a few things on e-bay (no bidders yet).

In addition to all of this great basement related work, I’ll have you know I have also:

  • patched holes in my bathroom wall because I
  • drilled holes in my bathroom wall to hang the
  • new shower curtain rod after the old one fell completely out of the ceiling

I have also visited friends on weekends instead of cleaning my basement, gone on several walks with my dog instead of cleaning my basement, attended several stimulating gallery talks and plays instead of cleaning my basement, and – most importantly, made home made beef broth and then home-made Pho, instead of cleaning my basement.

Perhaps I should promise myself to clean my basement all the time as a way to make every other thing in my life a more attractive thing to do!

Even though I estimate I am only 1/3-2/5 finished, I have learned a lot in the process so far.  Here’s some of my basement cleaning wisdom.

  1. If it hasn’t been out of the wrapper since you bought it, and that was more than a year ago, YOU DON’T NEED IT.
  2. Even though I am trying hard not to put things in a land fill, SOME THINGS JUST NEED TO BE THROWN OUT.
  3. Those pants NEVER LOOKED GOOD on me.
  4. There are some TOOLS THAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD HAVE.
  5. Apparently, cleaning the basement is NOT a one-month project.

Will I finish before 2012?  Maybe.

Do I care if I do or not?  Absolutely not.

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Filed under Hiking, Organizing