Day 281

I’ve spent the past week playing cat and mouse with a… mouse. Or mice. Hopefully just one mouse. It got into our pantry. At first (and second and third) I caught it manually with a plastic container after emptying out the pantry. I just let it go in a far corner of the backyard. I can’t say for certain if it has been the same one.

A shopping trip on Amazon later, I’ve got seven ultrasonic repellents, some little scented bag that are supposed to shoo pests away, and six live traps. Yep, I’m a softy. I got three more (or the same on three more times) in the live traps.

This ordeal began last Tuesday. Saturday and Sunday Dana was helping out at a Powerlifting Meet at Horlick, and by Sunday evening I was at my wits end.

Dana ended up taking off of work Monday and Tuesday (thankfully since there was a pretty big snow squall and the schools didn’t shut down). We tore apart the kitchen: going through cabinets, pulling out the dishwasher, wiping down the cupboards. We think we found the spot of ingress behind the dishwasher and ended up throwing away the insulation padding that encased the back of the dishwasher. The padding had taken on an alternate role as a mouse turd bank. We stuffed up holes that were accessible from the basement with aluminum foil wrapped cardboard and steel wool.

Of course, pulling apart the kitchen caused us to do some reogranizing and consolidating of kitchen stuff that hadn’t been fully done. We found a couple of items that we didn’t know what the hell they were. One of which is a Flavorwave Turbo Oven. Glad to know we’ve had one of those for nearly three years.

The kitchen table and a portion of the dining room table have been filled with pantry items for nearly a week. There was about a day and a half where I put everything away only to pull it all back out again after catching two more of the little buggers. Note: They LOVE peanut-butter, chocolate granola bars. They also are pretty good at sampling just a little bit of everything with a package they can gnaw through.

The rest of the dining room table is now filled with miscellaneous kitchen stuff that needs to be boxed up and put in the storage room down stairs. However, the storage room is at box capacity. Sure, I could put more in there, but it would be awfully hard to get to anything at that point.

So, first thing on the agenda today is to move a bunch of boxes around down there to pull out a number of them that are labeled “old clothes.” I guess it’s time to face the reality that I’m not going to repurpose all that material into some creative or utilitarian purpose. Getting those boxes out is going to be a chore, but I have to remember that’s one of the three broad reasons I don’t have a job anymore. Still, the excitement I have about doing that is such that I’m procrastinating by writing a post about the ordeal.

I classify the three broad reasons I am no longer working as: The shit RUSD has been dishing out to its teachers (75-80%), the need to get this organizational stuff taken care of (15-20%), and because I could (0-10%).

I certainly don’t miss having to go to work, but when I think about “if I had to go back,” the thing that causes me to cringe the most is how much the job has changed since I started. The next thing that causes me a slight amount of anxiety with the thought is simply the amount of time I spend doing things I don’t exactly want to be doing around the house. There have been plenty of days spent frivously, playing video games, doing hobby stuff, doing absolutely nothing in particular. But there have also been a lot of days I’ve spent cleaning, organizing, inventorying, managing, tackling the “to do” list. I’m not sure if it’s been more than I expected, but it sure has been more than desired.

Curiously, just a couple of days before the mouse invaded, I was reflecting that I was starting to get — not bored — but antsy. I had finally reached a point (six months later than anticipated) that not only did I feel fully “recharged,” but actually beginning to wonder about “what’s next.” The mouse problem seems to have nipped feeling in the bud and distracted me. Fortunately, that’s okay because that’s 15-20% of the reason I’m not working any more.

As I work up the motivation to go downstairs to move boxes, I’m relishing the feeling of finally defeating a level boss (gaming reference). I think — *think* — that this should be the last of the stuff that needs to be boxed and stored. There are maybe one or two more things that need to be considered: a box full of stuff from my father’s bedro oom’s junk drawer, and my mother’s hope chest. But the hope chest is it’s own storage, and my father’s “junk drawer” should be able to be absorbed into boxes that are already stored once I start the process of “going through” those boxes.

Let’s reflect on this process:

First, I had to go through all the paperwork my parent’s had. While a lot of it was thrown away, a bunch of it went into boxes to be stored.

Then, in order to fit in all of Dana’s and my belongings and make the house habitable for us, we needed to go through every nook and cranny of the house to see what we had and organize it so that like things were with like things.

During that very long process, a lot of “sentimental” stuff was boxed up and stored to be dealt with later.

Then we needed to fully move in order to allow my tenants to make the Racine house habitable for themselves. This caused us to leave some stuff at the Racine house in the garage and basement. But, so far so good… we haven’t needed anything, and the tenants haven’t complained that anything is in their way.

More boxes were added due to sifting in the moved stuff and storing boxes that I had been storing in the other house.

The above took two years. Two frickin’ years. Granted, I was still working, grieving, dealing with the legal aftermath. It feels like forever, but it also doesn’t seem that long.

The next step was to make sure everything in the living spaces had been adequately gone through. And this is where I started to lose steam and not feel pressured. The kitchen was one of those areas, as are a number of the clothes drawers in my bedroom. Ack! This is why I wanted to start typing things out. My goal for today is to pull out “old clothes” boxes from storage to put into a staging area to deal with soon. I still have more clothes to go through. Sheesh.

Fortunately I finished inventorying the DVDs, so that I can “stage” the old clothes boxes. That’s kind of a bummer because I still have the blu-rays and VHS tapes down there to go through along with a few remaining boxes of collected “what needs to be done with this” from the moving in step, job, and last of basement/garage items. Speaking of which, there are still boxes in the garage that need to be sifted through.

Hmphh. Well, this has served as a sobering reminder that I still have a long ways to go in terms of being truly ready to consider “what’s next.” Maybe that’s why I snapped a couple of weeks ago when Dana asked me what my goals are. Somewhere in the back of my mind, where I shoved these thoughts for the last few months, I knew that there was still a lot to get done before really being able to start fresh.

But, at least I *think* this boss battle is just about over… the one where everything that’s needs to be stored for the next level will be stored. That next level being going through everything again to determine: keep, donate, rummage sale, toss.

Dana, when you read this, I’m thinking the “big” project for this summer is to go through all the stored kitchen stuff to do that: Determine what we want to keep and donate or toss the rest.

Ok. It’s going to be a chore to move boxes around. But, I just need to remember: that’s all I need to do today. Get the “old clothes” boxes out of the storage room to make room for the stuff on the dining room table. I don’t need to actually put the stuff on the dining room table into boxes and bring them down there today. However, I should take pictures of the boxes in the storage room as I move them around so I can see what’s there. It’s a chore. It doesn’t have to take all day. It’s not that much to do. Besides, what else do I have to do today other than wait for the mechanic to call about the Equinox, read some Walking Dead comics, play some Battlefield 1 with the new maps, slap another coat of paint on the bases of the minis I’m working on, continue my crocheted crockagator, give myself another banjo lesson, eat, feel guilty about not working out, take a nap, maybe play a round of Imperial Assault when Dana gets home today earlier than usual… gah! too much to do.

Move boxes.

I move boxes.

8:20am

 

Day 272

I’m happy to have started to have a game night again with friends and board games. So far we’ve been playing a Risk Legacy campaign and some of Fantasy Flight’s Arkham titles. 

Separately, Dana and I have a game of Star Wars:Imperial Assault set up on the front room coffee table. 

Video game wise, I picked up For Honor and The Bioshock Collection. I desperately want to like For Honor, but I can’t quite get a feel for the controls. That coupled with my general suckiness at PvP games leaves me fearing that title will not get much attention. 

Having never played Bioshock before, I am finding it delightful. 

However, I haven’t been playing Xbox too much recently. I finished the DVD inventory, spent some days giving rooms a deeper than usual clean, am entertained by crocheting, and have been grooving on painting the Star Wars miniatures that come with Imperial Assault. 

February seems to have flown by, and having just looked at the date, I see that the first week of March is just about over. 

My thoughts have been void of existential crises. That has been a welcome relief. 

3:15am