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The harried handyman
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In packing up for yet another move, I decided that this year would be the year to make Hubs address his hoarding issues.

I usually hate going into the garage because, as Neicy Nash says, it’s all “mayhem and foolishness.”

“Chaotic” is another choice word I’ll throw in along those lines.

It’s nice to open up one of Hubs’ “Handyman” magazines and drool over the professionally organized garages.

“Wow... look at how they managed to hang all their yard tools on a pegboard...”

“Oh man! Check out this rolling storage unit ... look how the drawers on it neatly slide out...”

Suddenly the magazine is yanked out of my grasp and Hubs grumbles, “I get it ... I get it...”.

No, dear. I really don’t think you do.

My dear husband cannot throw one thing away. It may be covered by years of rust, dust, grime, and slime, but he will not chuck it for fear of needing it 20 years down the road.

I backed my vehicle out of the garage the other day and left the garage door open, hoping to really shed some light on the situation.
I pulled out the various assortment of coolers, storage bins with non-matching lids or no lids, five-gallon paint buckets void of paint but full to the brim with his odd collections of plumbing hardware or just nails...he could literally open up a kiosk at the mall and call it “Buckets O’Nails.”

Knowing how many handymen there are in this town, he’d be sold out every week.

“Tell me, what is in this cooler that you absolutely cannot live without?”

He looked down into the cooler and I could see the beads of sweat forming around his temples.

“Well ... lemme see..,” he said, bending over to pick over each metal fragment that was piled up in there.

He pulled an empty paint bucket over and sat on it.

“No, no no no. You cannot sit here and go through it item by item. There must be 500 pieces in there. Just at a glance, tell me what you cannot live without.”

He reached in and pulled out an old drawer handle.

I’m not talking about “old” as in “antique,” I’m talking about “old” as being so mangled and almost shapeless as it would be better off being melted down and cut into nails to go into his “Buckets O’Nails” business.

“OK. Onto the next. Pull out that next paint bucket.”

He pushed the cooler out of the way and pulled the paint bucket in front of his feet.

“Look into the bucket. What do you see?”

He hesitated.

“Deck screws,” he said.

“Right. How many deck screws do you reckon you’ve got in that bucket?”

His mouth grew rigid and I could see the bubble over his head. It was the same bubble I saw the week before we got married when I painstakingly took a couple of hours to put some penny nails on the wall and hung his vast assortment of ball caps.

The bubble that mushroomed overhead said, “She’s trying to change me!”

As he shoved his hands into his pockets, the mushroom cloud bloomed large and I read that same statement in big bold letters.

“I’m not trying to change you,” I said, not missing that big billboard over his head, “I am merely trying to downsize. You have way too much

stuff out here. I just want you to see it from my point of view.”

He stared down into the bucket of deck screws, his favorite device for securing anything to anything, and nodded.

He reached down and shook the bucket.

Suddenly a treasure found its way to the surface.

He pulled out an old belt buckle.

“What’s that?” I asked, tapping my foot.

“This is a belt buckle. I can use this!”

“Fine. Show me how and on what.”

He immediately went into the house and came out carrying what looked like a dried up grass snake.

He folded a little flap over the buckle and snapped it in place.

Holding it up with a defiant look, he shook it in my face.

“See? I told you I would find a use for it!”

I nodded.

“That’s great. How old is the belt?”

He had no idea, but I guarantee you that dried-up desert-eaten snakey-lookin’ old belt would serve no useful purpose.

“Try it on,” I suggested.

He put it around his waist, and of course, it was about a half foot too short.

“Yep. That serves a very useful purpose.”

He walked over to some boards standing forlornly in the corner.

The belt went around the boards, buckling them all neatly together.

I rolled my eyes, the air slowly seeping out of my lungs.

He laughed, but did remove the belt and said I could have it for the “donate” pile.

It only took about two hours to get one item, but it was a start.

Don’t know about the deck screws, though.

Wonder if I could get him to trade out a bucket of screws for a half dozen pair of eyeglasses ... but don’t get me started on the eyeglasses.

That’s another headache all together.