Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 16

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So, for fans of the tv show Lost, who waited week after week to learn more about, say the Hatch, or the Smoke Monster, or the Dharma Initiative, this post will speak to you: Day 16 is where I finally start to work on the garage.  Also like the show Lost, my garage looks like a plane crashed into it.

When we were kids we had a housekeeper come once a week.  I remember that because we had to clean the house before the housekeeper arrived.  It never made sense to me; were we embarrassed that the housekeeper will see a dirty house?  Isn’t that why we hired a housekeeper?  Things like that make perfect sense to me now.  I floss furiously in the week leading up to a teeth cleaning and try to get into shape before a physical.  The other day I decided that the only way I would get my garage cleaned was to hire an organizer.  Fortunately, a good friend of mine– still a good friend despite having set me up with my Crazy Ex– is an organizer.   To some, er many, er most, er all of you it may seem like a cop out to have someone else clean out my garage.  However, I believe that it’s best to focus on what you’re good at, and let other people do what they’re good at.  Unfortunately, my skill set is almost exclusively writing sitcoms.  Anyway, as I opened the garage door again today I realized there’s no way I can let another human being in here, no less a friend.  Sure, she introduced me to a girl who sucked out my soul for five and a half years and cost me a $25,000 payout and at least that much in therapy, but does she really deserve to see this?  The answer, is no.  I have to clean up before I hire someone to clean up.

The task is extraordinarily daunting.  Everything I move reveals another geological stratum of junk: croquet sets, Moroccan lamps, sit and stroll car seats– it’s endless.  A simple solution would be just to move, but unless I sold my house to a hoarder it would stay on the market for years, accumulating more junk (and even hoarders, I’m guessing, are partial to their own junk).  So I decided to start by putting together the shelves that my wife bought to help organize the garage (the shelves arrived two weeks ago and I tossed them, unassembled into the garage, enjoying the irony).  But today, there would be no irony.  Except for the fact that I had no room in the garage to put up the shelves to help organize the garage.  So I had to clear out room to put up shelves to clean the garage so that I could have an organizer come and clean the garage– it was like a Passover song but without the cattle disease.  I started where I always start: my tool chest.  Which is in my basement which is almost as cluttered as my garage.  My tool set– which is only slightly less-used than my snow shovel– was behind a decade of party favors.  I would have to clean out my basement to get to my toolset to put up the shelves–   Screw it, I decided to go to the best place on earth: Home Depot.

On the way into Home Depot I passed a lineup of day laborers looking for work.  I thought briefly about bringing one home with me to help me at least clean up part of the food chain of clutter that was weighing me down, but then I looked around and noticed my car was too dirty.  I’m not kidding.  I won’t add another verse to the song but you see how my day is going here!  Instead, I went into Home Depot– I so wish I was the kind of guy who knew what the hell he was looking for at Home Depot– and I found my way over to the hook section.  I figured that was a great place to start: if I could hang crap up in my garage instead of turning the entire garage into a giant game of Jenga, maybe that would clear some space for the new shelf.  I bought a dozen giant hooks– on the back of each package were pictures of things like ladders and tools hanging from hooks in clean garages.  It was perfect: I would throw these hooks into the garage…   NO!  I would mount them with the “idiot-proof” directions on the walls of my garage and start getting my life in order.

In case I haven’t mentioned it: I am NOT handy.  Growing up, I recall my father and I putting together various lawnmowers, furniture, bicycles– each one deemed by my father to be “irregular”.  Our entire house was equipped with upside-down soap dishes, teetering cabinets and three legged chairs.  In fact, I would venture to say that we never ever not once put together anything that was not one washer short or had two screws too many.  Thus: irregular.  (Not to be confused with my clothes growing up which were from the irregular bin since we were not long on cash in those days, but a different time for that story).

In any case, I was determined today to put together three shelves and two sets of hooks in the garage.  And while I only put up one shelf– which had two extra parts–some black plastic ring thingies– I did get the two sets of hooks hung (even though I smashed the top of one of the screws off with a hammer.)  Anyway, mission accomplished: my garage is now 1% cleaner.  And you know what? I feel FREAKING GREAT.  Two more weeks like this and I’ll be able to have a professional come in.

Also today: lunch with agent, uneventful except I was told that young people don’t blog anymore, they tweet (I can’t believe I’m out of date with blogging).  Took my car in to get a routine oil change.  Deemed by Toyota a minor repair: $69.  Cost me $490 including $189 for what sounded like a cracked “sphincter valve” and I have to rent a car tomorrow because the thing I actually went in for: my front left headlight goes out after 3 minutes, may be part of a bigger problem.  But first I have to clean my car…

Do you see the extra parts?

Day 16: A New Beginning

Some day my son will build an irregular shelf with HIS son.


Written by 100daysoff

March 1, 2011 at 5:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Told you not to call it a blog.

    David B. Kopp

    March 1, 2011 at 6:06 am

  2. By the way. Dont know if this is the butterfly effect or not but iv finally begun to rid my apartment and studio of unnecessary wires. 🙂

    David B. Kopp

    March 1, 2011 at 6:12 am

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