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A Full Garbage Can

I am not writing today.  I cleaned out the garage instead.  Several months ago, on March 17th, I told you I cleaned out the basement.  What I didn’t tell you was I  just moved the stuff from the basement to the garage. The boxes have been in my garage for 64 days laughing at me when I  toss the empty milk jugs into the recycle bin.  The boxes taunt me  when I take out the lawn mower.  “You will never park your car in the garage again.  You can not clean up this mess.  You will always be messy. Who are you trying to fool.  You are burdened by me, but I won’t leave. ”

I was too embarrassed to photograph both sides of the garage. I didn’t want you to see how totally messy I was. The after picture shows both sides.

Memorial Day our neighbors had a yard sale.  I climbed the mountain of dread and moved all the boxes from the garage onto the driveway early Monday, and had a yard sale as well. Everything that didn’t sell, was bagged and taken to a thrift store that afternoon.  Okay, not everything, the dog kennel I will put  on Craigslist next weekend. I don’t want to pretend to be perfect.  This morning, I didn’t write. I taped up the flattened boxes and placed them by the curb.  Swept the garage, and hung  the bikes.

I tried to sell the crib ends and the wheel from the wheel chair I told you I didn’t want anymore . I never did get rid of them on March 17th,  I just put them in the garage with the boxes.  I was hoping someone would fall in love with them and buy them at the yard sale yesterday.   No one bought them.  I tried to place them in the garbage pile today for tomorrows pick up.  They looked so forlorn and lost in the garbage pile.  They are back in the basement. Who knows when I might  need the wood from the crib ends, or need a wheel from a wheelchair.  I have decided it is okay to have a few odd things in my life.

I can not hear the boxes anymore.  The boxes are empty, flattened and waiting by the curb to be recycled in tomorrow’s garbage. It is raining and  I can not hear them in the rain.

The car is parked in the garage. I will write tomorrow, but not today.


My husband just said to me, as I was about to post this story about not writing today. “If you had told me Saturday night I would be parking my car in the garage Tuesday night I would have openly mocked you. I would have said, “You are full of baloney.”

I was about to flatten him and put him out in the rain with the cardboard, when he said, ‘That is so cool Pamela. I really appreciate what you did.”

He can stay.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

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  • Hooray!! You “climbed the mountain of dread” and look at the view now. So inspiring! I am glad you can no longer hear the boxes. And I am glad you will let your husband stay. I have several mountains of dread. Right now, instead of climbing, I am writing. And deciding which one to tackle first.

    • pamelahodges

      Writing is a good way to tackle a mountain of dread. Did you decide which one to climb first? Could you erase the mountain? Could you write it away?

  • I loved this line, “I have decided it is okay to have a few odd things in my life.” I always have a mess going somewhere. This year it was my classroom and my It makes me laugh every time someone sees the desktop on my computer and they say, “oh my !”. xo nanc

  • As always, I adore the perspective of your writing. I like the small details — taping of the boxes, hanging the bikes. Mostly, though, I love that short sentence (although I’m a sucker for a well-placed short sentence) at the end. “He can stay.”

    And…just for the record– even though you wrote about not writing, you still wrote. 😉

    • Thank you for your comments. Funny isn’t it, not writing is writing. I love words. Better than food some days.

  • berdeane

    Pamela, I am soooo proud of you, don’t let those “new boxes” taunt you into a whole new mess. Your garage looks GREAT !!!

    • Thank you Mother. And any new boxes will be flattened before they have a chance to speak.

  • Inspiring! No garage for me, but a messy basement…When school is out, maybe I too will take the before and after pictures. Enjoy the results of your work!

    • Oh, I would love to see your before and after pictures. Have a fun summer!

  • lee

    This is so us. We are working on a purge from our basement now. The task seems so daunting, but this post is a huge inspiration.

    • Attack your basement. You can do it!!
      The hardest thing I have done recently is to deal with the emotions attached to the things. Move the boxes out and move on. Ride your bike and don’t let your basement taunt you.

  • “It is good to have a few odd things in life” – this line has me speculating about what might be hanging out with me for awhile – just because it’s odd and a bit charming. (my husband?)

    • Ah, your husband sounds wonderful. No, I mean charming. Odd, is always good.

  • This gives me encouragement for what is ALWAYS a summer project for me. Encouragement, too because I am not the only one who has a full garage even if I don’t get it completely cleaned out. Bravo to you for completing this task. Glad you kicked the taunting boxes to the recycle bin and kept the hubby.

    • Yes, Kim, you can do it!!! A summer project that gets done. You could even do it the first week, and have the rest of the summer off. Flatten those boxes and don’t let them taunt you. (My husband is glad too)

  • Wow, look what you did!!!!!!!! I sure could use your boxes about now – I’m moving. 😉 I love how you wrote the aside at the end about what your husband said. Make sit all worth it. And, that extra bit of wood and a wheel will quite possibly come in handy one day.

    • I would love to give you the boxes. But they are all wet from the rain. I will let you know what I make with the wood and the wheel 🙂

  • macrush53

    Oh this is so me. Only I don’t have a basement. But our garage is a mess and hopefully this weekend or next, it will be my project. Thank you for sharing this slice.

  • Reb

    hmmm – you did this without me???

    • Yes, it does seem hard to believe. But, dear friend you trained me well. I did learn from an expert.

  • I loved the ending best of all…so lucky you are to have a hubby that can tempt you to flatten him and send him out in the rain one moment but convince you he can stay the next! Passion! Love!

  • WOW! That garage is so impressive now. Wanna help me organize my basement? (I have BOXES galore from my classroom teaching days + boxes from all of my daughter’s baby stuff + boxes of things from childhood my parents refused to store in their attack.)

    • I would love to help you organize your basement. Sounds like you have a lot of treasures in the boxes. And several stories in the boxes from your childhood.