Rodents Ruin Retention

Dearest Rachel –

As Jan and I (mostly Jan – she had me going through your old school papers) continued to clear things out of the basement, Erin came up to me. Yes, she was here, on her vacation no less, doing a lot of the heavy lifting – at this rate, Jan’s likely to hire her as an assistant for future jobs if she’s not careful.

“Wow, I see why you’re apologizing to Rachel so much in your blog.”

Yeah, we’re throwing out a lot of stuff. Even the schoolwork – frankly, for all the math and computer science you did, and did well, it’s all just numbers. There isn’t any of your soul in any of that. Not like this sort of assignment:

Read more books, watch more movies, and go on more water slides. Not a bad bucket list.

That has so much more of you in just a few short lines of text than all the lines of code you put together throughout your college career. And, as all that assembly language went obsolete so long ago, this is what stands the test of time.

Of course, it might have been the code that could have gotten you employment, so there’s that. But that didn’t happen, so… yeah.

Not that you would have treasured any of the accounting homework I might have saved if the tables were turned. Come to think of it, I haven’t found anything like that of mine: only the artwork I did as a series of side projects (and I may talk about them some other time).

But the trouble is, we stored so much in the basement. So much, in fact, that for the last few years, we couldn’t even get into the basement to look over any of the stuff we stored in there. And that turned out to be a problem, somewhere along the way.

You see – and you’ll remember this – we had something of a mouse problem back when we first settled into this house. Now, we set traps, and poison (which you really didn’t like using, but sometimes there was just no other way), and eventually, the problem was resolved, for the most part. Although apparently, you noticed it popping up again recently, and engaged a pest control service to combat it – I just got their first quarterly bill just last week, in fact.

So again, we have the problem under control, and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. But, after all, the little critters have had the run of the place, especially in a place we don’t – or really, we couldn’t – get to.

Which means that some of the stuff we stored downstairs – especially nearer to the floor – has essentially been ruined. We can’t use it, we can’t in good conscience donate it, it’s just… useless.

I know you hated to throw anything away. Everything is useful to someone, you would say. Well, it was useful to the mice as food and bedding, but after that point, it wasn’t of any use to humans anymore. At least, not if you wanted to avoid contamination.

And it doesn’t matter that the mouse is dead and desiccated. He’s still there, and that ruins everything. So, out the box goes.

And yes, darling, I am so, so sorry to have to do it.

Jan tells me I’m doing the right thing. For the most part, I have to agree.

But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt to do it.

Still, there is some feeling of accomplishment to see the room clear out.

I don’t have a ‘before’ picture per se, but imagine this throughout an entire room.
Everything pictured here, except for the shelf with Risk and Pictionary, are being donated.
And this isn’t exactly an ‘after’ picture yet, but these shelves were once piled full.

Now, again, it’s going to need some serious cleansing. Probably something along the lines of and out-and-out sterilization, to be honest. But the room could actually be usable some day in the near future. Put a reasonably-sized flat screen on the one wall, replace the mouse-eaten couch with something new, and voila! Brand new man cave!

You know, since it’s just us men living here, now.


Honey, I know you wouldn’t be entirely happy with what’s being done. But I hope you’d at least appreciate the fact that we’re getting to a point where we can actually make something of this room. Maybe we’ll be able to have others over once again.

Because, Lord knows, without your presence, we need a few more people in this house, doing stuff, making noise, just enjoying themselves. And yes, I do think it would take several people to put enough joy into this place to make up for what we lost when you left.

I do hope, for our sakes, we can manage it.

I’ll keep you posted, honey. Until then, remember that I love you.

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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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