Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cleaning Daze

We've been cleaning out a cellar this week. Hot, dirty, dusty, sweaty work. Bleah.

When we showed up, the cellar looked, as my grandmother would have so delicately put it, like a shithouse in distress.

There was the oddest assortment of stuff down there - things to do with camping and fishing and photography and ham radios and home brewing and woodworking and all kinds of stuff. And it all needed to come out of the cellar and be sorted for keeping or throwing. What a job.

After the first day, we learned that the foundation had been poured backwards, so that the bulkhead through which we had been schlepping crap all day was, in fact, on the wrong end of the house from the original plan. Hell, we could have told her it was on the wrong end of things. At least it was good to hear that it was not designed badly on purpose.

So then there was this desk. It was one of those old teachers desks that they cranked out in the 1960s, maybe. It was 5 feet long, maybe a little longer, and battleship gray. It has three drawers on the left side and a cabinet door on the right with a little metal slide-out platform. And a lap drawer. It was FILLED with radio parts and odd bits of wire and screws. Holy crap. I filled a 30-gallon trash can with what came out of that thing, lugged the can up and dumped its contents, came back down and discovered that the desk still weighed a ton. Shit.

Laura and I tried to get the thing up the steps on a four-wheeled hand truck, but that didn't work. I tried to lay it flat on some planks up the steps and push, and that didn't work any better. Finally, Laura got the idea to call a guy whom she used to work with to see if he could help. God bless this young man. Big, strong, 19 years old, still more enthusiasm than brains or sense. He was perfect. She went and fetched him from his house down the road and we had that desk humped up over those stairs and around the yard into the garage in about 15 minutes. What a guy. We gave him $20 and Laura brought him home again. He was a lifesaver.

Three days of steady work with two people, plus the kid we hired, made for a nice little job, however nasty it was at the beginning. Here's what it looked like when we were done.

And here's supper when we finished. That's a beautifully grilled rib-eye steak with two big slabs of bleu cheese on top. Oh, man. It was the perfect end to three days of miserably dirty, physical work. I think I am ready for a smart job again.

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