Hold me put, here

It’s either a dead worm or part of a banana adhered to the grout in the kitchen tile; it’s gotten that bad, the house. Shrew-killing season in full swing for the cats and some, catch and release style. The cats are sisters and work together when hunting and position themselves on either side of the sectional couch, with Dawn and her headlamp and broom, trying to get it out.

The dog doesn’t know what to do with the dead shrew so she holds it in her mouth, spits it out, then squats over it, pees.

And my hearing is worse now from eight days in the garage with loud music, washed-out, far away, resurfacing at the kids’ school in the drop off corral air-drumming to Led Zeppelin with the windows down, a permanent crick in my back from lurking about the upper loft, its low ceilings.

The kids make a Leprechaun trap out of an empty case of beer that says Wellcum with friendly smily faces to lure the Leprechauns inside, and fix the door closed with a 2″ wood screw and some glue. It’s amid the other clumps in the garage that have a logic only I can articulate, with paths carved out from one room to the next.

On Tuesday I dismantled five tool boxes and grouped items by species to work out the redundancies, a kind of corporate down-sizing. And I yanked items by the napes of their necks and hauled them out of the house with their roots screaming and buried them in bins to be hauled off and buried elsewhere in the earth.

An inordinate number of pocket-sized black combs, as if for some school project, breeding like eyeless spiders exposed to light. Contacts on scraps of paper never made. Subjects in photos I can’t identify, ticket stubs from the Tube, 1994. Something died or leaked out at the bottom of the bin and there are brass tacks clumped together in a jelly substance, interlocked.

If you believe what we own is a part of us, getting rid of the unwanted parts is like sloughing off dead cells, brown leaves, the remains.

There was a year I had a Word of the Day desktop calendar and I loved the words so much I saved all of them loose in a box, believing they held some secret fortune. And I could not throw them out without going through them one by one and keeping some for the refrigerator.

Topo maps in Ziploc bags, a 10 pound note in a birthday card from my step-dad’s estranged father to him, a brief signature, the note unspent.

Cut up credit card shards, loose change, binder clips, condoms, tea bags, a plastic device used for joint-rolling, puzzle pieces, locks without combinations.

Our house is a wreck but it’s lived-in, I’ve let it go. When it smells I open a window and burn sage over it. You can tell a house that’s not lived-in, it aches to be inhabited. It has different smells, it’s hollow.

I watch Charlotte cross the street and get on the bus and she turns around many times to see if I’m still there and I am.


Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Where is everybody?
    You know I like these rooting around pieces. It’s like getting a glimpse in your medicine cabinet. I like domestic decomposition. I have a box of tools turning to rust in the basement and in the attic plastic bags that crumble at the touch from years of sun baking.
    I’ve taken a week off, my last week of vacation. I hope to spend it watching snow melt.


  2. tearing down to rebuild. fun to rediscover and purge every so often. wondering what your motivation was and having no idea now that a bit of time has passed. one of life’s great mysteries.


    • Nothing like moving out as a motivation. We’re moving temporarily for a year, renting our house out to some friends starting this July. So I’m getting this out of the way now so I can enjoy the spring and a well-organized garage, for a bit. Won’t last long I’m sure, but sure feels good. I think I could have a meal out there it’s so welcoming!


  3. I love this so much. A while back Joe wrote about The Things we Carry and I mentioned that I had been thinking about that of late, the things we choose to keep and why and this is what I wanted to write, but you did it better. And beautifully.


    • Hi Dina – gosh, thank you for your kind words here. I was out of town for a few days in a self-imposed Internet time-out but saw this while I was at a friend’s cabin, and was so happy to hear you enjoyed my post. Thank you, and best to you and yours. – Bill


    • Jon!! Jon. I keep writing Joe. I think it’s because his last name starts with an e and my fingers keep going to the ‘e’. Jon. Sorry, I felt I needed to clarify 🙂


  4. I had suspected that only I found gelatinous collections of debris. . .


    • No, they seem to collect in dark, unnoticed spaces. You have to embrace a part of your mind that enjoys taking things apart and putting them back together, to deal with stored-up crap. I’m glad I did and got through it, as it may be another 20 years before I can ‘go there.’

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What’s great about this for me is the multitude of images that you toss out and know the reader will fill in. The vividness is in the tiny detail and not in an overwritten description.


    • Hi Jon – thank you for this, really made me happy to hear because that’s what I’m going for, and you’re astute to point that out. Thank you. I was out north of Spokane at a friend’s cabin for a couple days and was delighted to read this while out there, ‘disconnecting.’ Thanks for your words, means a lot to me. – Bill


  6. Having fun? We moved last year, so I know what it is like! But you are making progress and when the time comes that you actually move, you will be glad you started on the process earlier.


    • Yes, I am having fun Valarie! Thanks, you’re right – making lots of progress and getting stuff done. Stuff that’s not blog-worthy too, like getting the roof/gutters cleaned and so forth. Life insurance policy renewals, that kind of thing. Nice to hear from you and I hope you’re well. – Bill


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