Gar(b)age Day

Dearest Rachel –

I’m afraid this has been another one of those days in which you would not approve of what I’ve been doing. But honey, it had to be done.

Jan was over again, along with her husband Scott. She promised not to charge double for the extra manpower – and indeed, Scott texted her the same, saying it was his gift to me for all the help I’ve been to him with regard to the church’s and the camp’s books. Kind of like how the staff at church wouldn’t take payment for the funeral, because losing you was something they felt as well as Daniel and I (albeit not to the same extent).

Today, she had resolved to finish with the kitchen, moving all the newer foodstuffs from the floor to the pantry, which was to be cleared of all the expired goods filling it up through this morning – which is to say, virtually everything in it. I mean, come on, honey – we hadn’t been able to get to the pantry for how long? Months? Years? because of all the stuff on the floor in front of it. Everything in there was just sitting there, quietly growing old, and we couldn’t even get to it. So now, it was time to act.

And act they did, hauling bags and bags out to the dumpster.

Although to be fair, not everything was meant for the trash. She also pulled piles of cookware from the cupboards that we hadn’t used in so long. Duplicate sizes of pots and pans, instructing me to choose the best one(s) and discard the rest. But not for the trash, no: these would be donated to Goodwill (which, I guess, I have less problem with than when it comes to clothes). All in the name of condensing:

“Are you or Daniel really going to be needing a 9×13 Pyrex? The church doesn’t do potlucks anymore.” Especially not with Covid hanging over our heads, but no, even then, it’s not something we do, and the two of us would hardly be expected to produce anything anyway (or if we did, I’d wager it would be looked at with rather a suspicious eye. Sexist it might be, but who expects a newly minted bachelor and his twenty-something son to know anything about cooking?)

“A roasting pan? And a serving platter? Do you really expect to use this in the future?”

And on and on it would go. She’s right; most of these things aren’t something we used much as a family. As just the two of us, that much less so. Between sheer incompetence and the ease of ordering out, yeah, there’s a lot in that kitchen that has been rendered superfluous.

And therefore should go.

Then they moved on to the garage. And while I’m sort of apologetic about not showing a “before” picture, the pile in the dumpster says it all.

This is from just the kitchen and the garage – wish you could answer the question on the placard
We’ll soon be able to get your car in here, honey. Remember when this was so packed, we couldn’t open the kitchen door?

But as you can see, there’s still a fair amount of stuff left to clear out on the right. So I actually had to call and arrange for the dumpster to be taken away and a new, empty one brought in its place – which won’t happen until Monday. So, it turned out to be a fairly light day in terms of hauling stuff out, after all; this thing was full before it was even noon.

But most of the kitchen organization, including pulling the cookware for donation, happened after we’d filled the dumpster, so Jan kept Scott and I busy.

And even though so much of this was necessary, it still bothers me. I know you would not have let go of so much of what I have, and I wonder if you would be upset with me for doing all this.

Of course, if you were still here, I wouldn’t be even dealing with Jan on this matter, let alone. So it’s pretty much a moot point.

Logan is over this evening, and he and Daniel are hanging out together. I really appreciate his ability to keep Daniel’s mind on the lighter things in life. Left to his own devices, he tends to drift down any and several of the rabbit holes the internet is littered with. Nothing all that poisonous – indeed, his attention is drawn to preachers and Bible studies, which I approve of… sort of. But sometimes, the topics range into political territory, which is a dangerous place for a preacher. After all, neither Biden nor Trump are mentioned in scripture, which suggests they aren’t nearly as important as the news would have one believe.

You can’t take life too seriously, as the old line goes, it ain’t nohow permanent.

As you would know.

Logan came by the bedroom at one point to acknowledge that the kitchen looks so much better, now that it has been cleared. On Jan’s behalf, I thanked him. But I’ll be honest, it just looks… empty. Just like the house itself, devoid as it is of your presence. It’s just one more reminder that you are, in fact, gone, and not coming back.

And it continues to tear at my soul.

The other thing about Logan’s being here is that you and I would stay out of the boys’ way, here in the bedroom. No funny stuff, just… us, hanging out together. Lying on the bed, watching a few videos of our own, maybe falling asleep. Just us, being comfortable together.

And while I’m free to type out another daily letter to you this way without interruption or distraction, it isn’t at all the same. The room is empty, and dark – and not just because you were the only one who knew how to make the halogen bulb in the torchiere work properly. There’s only me here, and all there is of you are your old possessions – Kevin and the other stuffed animals, the funny papers you saved from months or years of your parents’ daily news, books of prayers and devotions, sermon notes and puzzles – which do nothing to keep one company in a room devoid of any human presence other than my own.

Even the prospects of human interaction are diminishing: I’ve gone to the website to discover that AnimeCentral has once again been canceled as an actual physical convention. So, I went to the site, and cancelled our (yes, it was ours, when I made it) hotel reservation. No point staying there if there’s no there there.

Well, at least you won’t be weeping while watching the hollow shell that would be the online ‘convention’ this year.

Small mercies, indeed.

Chompers has been fed and… well, not so much ‘walked’ as ‘propped up in several places outside.’ At least, he should be relatively content for now. I hear laughter from the family room: guess that Fairy Tale has some particularly funny spots at the moment. So the boys are having fun.

Me? Well, you’re hearing from me now, just the click of keys accompanied by the bedroom space heater and the hum of the several computers that have been running in here for what seem like years. Perhaps I’ll turn one of the monitors on, and make my own attempt to drown out the silence with something. I’ll rest against my reading pillow, and try to get comfortable, the way Chompers tries so hard to do.

But I’ll still be wishing you were here, nestled against my shoulder like in the days before.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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