A man’s home is his castle? Nah…that’s his wife’s domain….Still, if you own a house, as we do, you just might have a little hovel to call your own. That, my friend, is my garage. Techically, it’s "our" garage, but my wife, she prefers to park on the street in front of our home, even though it’s a two car garage. This way, as she put it when we first bought the place, I can have somewhere to put my guy stuff – tools, workbench, etc. Why is it that even in this day and age of equality and equal rights for all sexes and races and ethnic groups, etc. etc. some women still refer to tools as "guy stuff"? Anyway, the garage is my domain, my little castle if you will. The only two occupants you will ever normally see in there are me and the cat. The cat because, as long as I don’t have the electric loud drill going, has a quiet respite from the play of our five year old daughter, Megan, who likes to put him in her play doll buggies and highchairs and pretend he’s her real "baby". No dignity there! And me, because that’s where all my guy stuff is….
So that’s how it was, for the three years we owned the place. House – Kate and Megan. Garage – me and cat. Until one Friday night, home from work, relaxing with a movie on t.v. and pizza delivered (not to mention a few bottles of beer in the fridge), Kate mentioned two words no one on earth likes to hear. "Spring Cleaning".
"It’s March", I reminded her.
"That’s right – the time to begin Spring Cleaning."
Fine. I told her if she and Megan wanted to get at it on Saturday I’d escape to my garage and play with my guy stuff. I looked over at Kate, face lit up like a glowing Jack-O-Lantern.
"Good idea, huh?"
"Great idea! Your garage needs a thorough cleaning! That’s perfect! Megan and I can do the house and you can spring clean the garage!"
No amount of arguing could convince Kate the garage was spic and span clean and didn’t need any work done to make it any better. Megan chimed in. "I can help, Daddy!"
I was defeated. Oh well, I’d toss a few things, wipe off the car, and call it a day. Just enough to pass muster. Or so I thought.
Next morning, Saturday, bright and early, Kate and Megan accompanied me to my domain.
"Let’s see….", Kate began…"You’ll need a mop, bucket, paper towels, spray cleaner…."
"And lots and lots of big trash bags!", the daughter chimed in.
What were they planning? That I was going to toss out everything and leave the garage looking like it did when we first moved in? Empty and clean?
"Go for it!" I told them. While they scurried off the get the cleaning supplies and box of trash bags, I sipped my coffee and surveyed the garage carefully. How could I accomplish this with as little actual work as possible and still pass inspection? Walking through, I noticed cobwebs here and there…drops of oil spilled…..sawdust from my woodworking projects…..
They returned rather quickly with necessary items. They presented them to me as if i were receiving the greatest treasure in the world. I was told if I picked up everything on the garage floor and put the stuff on the little table and shelves I had in there, I could get the floor cleaned, and then clean off everything and put it in it’s proper place. And for the stuff that wasn’t needed – trash bags – or –
"Garage sale!" Kate and her brilliant mind.
"I have nothing here to sell," I reminded her.
"Oh, I’m sure you’ll find things as you move along. Just set them to one side. Megan and I will do the same in the house, and next week we can have a garage sale! I knew this was going to be fun!"
Six hours, three coffees, a sandwich, two beers, and I was done. I actually took their advice – at least – initially – and found there were some things I could toss. A broken wrench….old receipts from new tires…..and my daughter had a wonderful idea. She decided some little plastic containers would be perfect to hold all those little odds and ends from my workspace. I could label them and keep them on a shelf.
Not that the garage looked like anything out of House Beautiful, but even I was impressed at what a great job I did. Kate and Megan, exhausted from their day at spring cleaning the house, barely gave it a glance.
"I took your advice, Kate..your’s and Megan’s….," I began.
"Fine, hon…I’m tired. I’m going to take a shower …no I’m going to soak in the tub for a while. Can you go pick up something for dinner?"
"Hey Megan – look – I used those little containers…"
"Daddy, can you get McDonald’s? Please?"
A couple hours later, as Kate and I wearily tumbled into bed, she turned to me and said, "By the way – great going with the garage…." and before I could reply, she was fast asleep.
"Great going with the house, too, Kate," I whispered back, and then joined her in deep slumber. And as I slept, visions of dancing mops, swirling paper towels, and tumbling spray cleaners filled my head…..
Entry for free daily short story writing contest