The surprise of garage glory

On Friday, if I would have known that all of Saturday and Sunday would be spent in the garage, I would have anticipated a weekend I might rather quietly skip, landing on guaranteed basically garageless Monday.

It all started last Tuesday night, when the dryer suddenly stopped working.  I should have seen it coming because now that I think of it, it was taking about two hours for normal loads to dry.  So involved I was in plugging forward with what I had to do that I didn’t care about the dryer’s inefficiency.  Not having to go get a new one was good enough for me.

When my husband was out there messing with the dryer, it became even more clear that our garage needed serious help.  What could have been a simple reach for a tool was a precarious dance over followed by an annoyed shifting of miscellaneous items.  Then there was also the fact that the top of our dryer was a prime storage spot, so when it was time to actually take the top off the dryer, well, you understand.  My attempts to deal with the dust bunnies, hoping that would somehow make us feel better, now make me laugh.

What we needed was the opposite of what we felt like doing.  We needed to go get cabinets, take much of the garage apart, clean it, and put it back together.  Apparently we were both feeling Pollyana-ish because we were both picturing going to the home store, picking up cabinets, and placing them.  A lot of work, but rather wham-bam.  Ahem, and assembly…?

It was a long two days.  Neighbors drove by and waved without bothering to hide their expressions that said, “Better you than me!”  The low point came on Saturday night when we discovered that we had assembled one of the pieces in our biggest cabinet incorrectly, which meant that the holes for the shelf-holders were not lined up.  I felt like crying, but suddenly my heroic husband got an unreasonably-timed second wind and motivated both of us to fix it promptly (the thing weighs 200 pounds, so don’t picture nimble movements here).

This was one of my favorite weekends I have spent with my husband.  He impressed me by getting cabinets on the wall, installing shelves, and having the strength to move the 200 pound monster.  We ate pizza out of the box together in the middle of the mess.  We operated as a team even through the grouchy moments and took care of something that has been driving us both crazy.  I am so glad I didn’t skip it.

I tend to see projects like this as interfering with “my life”.  And what, “my life” is daily coddling and relaxation?  Constantly doing only what “I want” to do?  If it were, I would not be proud of my life.  Putting forth effort enhances my life, and becoming increasingly comfortable with putting forth effort will help me realize that my life is continuous until its end.  Aha!  I have not wanted to include some projects in “my life” because of my history as a perfectionist.  “I don’t know exactly how to do this project.  There will be things I won’t know, things I won’t think of.  That means I don’t know everything, which makes me feel more imperfect than I do when I’m ‘in my box’ [of doing things that are familiar and comfortable].  I need to be perfect to be lovable, so doing this project feels dangerous.  I’d rather avoid it.”  And there you have it- the reality behind my opening comment about skipping the weekend rather than living through it.

Three cheers for the dryer konking out, which wound up giving me yet another opportunity to take another bold step away from perfectionism.  Now I understand why the deeper part of myself chose this title before writing this piece; I thought I was simply surprised by how good it felt to have an organized garage, even though it meant “sacrificing” the whole weekend.  No.  I, in the mess, at times unsure of next steps, not knowing things about tools, getting filthy, being rather afraid of the power drill, felt loved and safe right through it all.  Now that’s what I call garage glory.

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