Saturday, April 5, 2014

Call me Dr. Jones

There's a lot to be said for home ownership. Especially, I think, when the house in question is nearly 150 years old. The big old barn of a place we call home is a pretty cool place to live in, no doubt. But when it comes to the never-ending torrent of repairs and cleaning projects needed to keep our ancient abode from crumbling down around our ears, things can get a little dicey.
Did I say "a little?"
O.K. A lot.
After my hard-working spouse retired from over 35 years of elementary school teaching, we enjoyed the opportunity to spend a good part of the next three years on the North Carolina shore, while getting to know our youngest grandsons. The added bonus of a beachfront lifestyle kept us tan, happy and, well, relatively impoverished, too. Meanwhile, the old home place kept getting older.
Just like us.
So now that we're back in the Land of Lincoln for an extended period of time, it seems like we need to get, uh, serious.
Kind of.
Ergo, I've got an answer to the challenging mounds of indescribable stuff I need to sort and sift through. Because, here's the thing...
I always thought it would be kinda cool to be an archeologist, anyway.
It was a dream that faded a bit when I mentioned it to my high school guidance counselor. He, not unkindly, reminded me that archeology, like rocket science and brain surgery, required some talent, or a least interest, in heretofore unexplored subjects like science and math. Wiping tears of laughter from his eyes, he gently sent me toddling off to typing class, the fiction section of the library, and my eventual alternate career path.
But I still thought it would be interesting and fun, even, to dig up mummies, old bones and pieces of ancient pottery.
So, now is my chance.
It's been awhile since we've done a thorough "sort, discover, file & pitch" procedure in the vast, winding depths beneath our house.  Our basement, like the rest of the place, is old and extensive. And while we've cleaned it many times before, there's always a lot of stuff to go through. Part of it has to do with the fact that my sons are the fifth generation of Sloans to live in Galva. My mom's family came to town a little later, in the early 20th century, which just added to the accumulation of clutter, plus we inherited a plethora of papers, letters, books, photos, household items and other miscellanea after my mother-in-law passed away nearly 10 years ago. We've attacked a few tubs full of those treasures now and then, but there's always a more comprehensive bit of exploration a-waiting just around the corner.
"I feel like I'm one of those American Pickers in my own basement," she said, as she waded through a pile.
I, on the other hand, felt more like I was finally getting to live my high school dream.
"These are the ruins of the Galva people," I intoned in my best professorial voice. "They were hunter-gatherers who never, ever threw anything away."
Best, though, was my sudden inspiration for a brand-new Indiana Jones movie.  I couldn't help imagining the evil Nazis pinning Indy against the hot water heater, while grasping the valiant cat Max by the scruff of his neck.
"Zo, Dr. Jones. You vill tell us ze location of ze 1928 Galva phone book, or ze little cat dies."
Yep, there's one of those down there. And more. Lots more.
Now you might think what I really I need to equip myself with would be a rugged leather jacket, a scary-looking bullwhip and one of those cool slouch hats like Indy wore in the movies. But I've got a better idea, i think.
I figure all I really need is a dumpster.
And a stop watch.
Because here's my plan.
Dig deep.
And ditch it.
Before the place gets any older.
Me, too.
Meanwhile, just call me Dr. Jones.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Jamie has been begging me to tackle our basement also. He says "stuff goes down there but never comes back up". Once you get your basement cleaned, you can help Jamie tackle ours!!