No Dead Bodies, But Skeletons Nonetheless

Dearest Rachel –

I have a feeling we’re not going to be making a whole lot of progress today. Today Jan has resolved to begin work on the crawlspace, and while I know you kept most of our Christmas stuff and the stuff for the island down there, if there’s anything else from anywhere else, I have no idea what to expect.

I’ll say this much: if I had known we had this when I ordered all those Torani syrups, I would probably… still have ordered the green apple syrup, because this looks like it’s in bad shape.

It may be in bad taste to reference a certain… incident… from a few towns over in the title, but it’s the sort of thing one’s mind runs to. Since I’ve been down there – albeit not for at least fifteen years – I can vouch for the fact that we don’t have that kind of issues that Mr. Gacy did. There will be no dead bodies lying around down there, unless you count the possibility of mice.

I say that sort of half jokingly, but as Jeff Goldblum put it, “Well, there it is.”

Really, what I’m more expecting to find out here as a matter of skeletons that would otherwise belong in a closet. The crawlspace was a place you (and I say ‘you’ in the most general sense here) put all the excess clutter. Considering how much clutter filled the rest of the house, I can only imagine what this is going to look like.

One of the challenging parts about the crawlspace is the fact that there’s almost no headroom to speak of.

001 rs retro space gif's march 1 2k15 | Max headroom, Expressions  photography, Kiss album covers
Not-not-not-not him, either.

The vent for the air conditioner runs underneath the stairs going up the split-level portion of the house, so the entrance to the crawlspace is that much lower because of it. I’d say you had an easier time of it because of your small stature, but when we’re on our knees or all fours, we’re all basically the same height, aren’t we?

Still, it was a place to put things, and that’s why you kept certain seasonal stuff. And because of that, you’d climb in there a couple times a year to get that seasonal stuff out. So that’s what I’m expecting to be finding on this, our first attempt at spelunking into the depths of this place.

At least there’s water at the mouth of the cave. I have to tell you, I wound up doing a lot of explanation to Jan as to what everything was, and why it was. In this case, you never liked the water on the island – and taken as it was straight from Lake Erie, who could blame you? However, why you kept the water in the bottles all this time when you could have just kept the empty bottles and filled them when we left for the island, well, that I couldn’t answer for her.

Keep in mind, I’ve not been down here in, I’d say, at least fifteen years; maybe more like twenty. This place seems to go on and on and on. Or maybe that’s just the claustrophobia from the ridiculously low ceiling talking. I don’t know.

One of the first things that we encountered in this deep dive was the shoes:

As I recall, you were of the impression that the soles of athletic shoes could be recycled into athletic track. As far as I know, you never figure it out anywhere to donate the shoes to in order to build such an athletic track… and that’s why we wound up with all these shoes in our crawlspace. They aren’t even ours, for the most part.

And it wasn’t just shoes that you meant to recycle and never got around to:

I’m sure you meant well by saving aluminum foil and plastic and all those other things for the sake of recycling them, as opposed to just throwing them out. But you always felt the need to wash everything before throwing it out… er, recycling it. Sorry. Anyway, that was always a fairly back burner job, wherein you could set everything aside to be done later. And of course, later never came.

And I suppose I shouldn’t even get into the fact that you kept stuff to burn, as well.

Popcorn containers, donut boxes, orange juice cartons, fast food boxes… the list goes on and on.
And should I mention all the empty boxes? What were we planning to do with all of these? Most of these aren’t big enough to store anything of any consequence.

I hate to tell you this, honey, but you are going to have to deal with Jan for a very long time when she finally gets up there. Thanks to today, she’s got quite a list of things to ask you about.

For instance, I understand the need to have things packed together for the island, but couldn’t we just buy toilet paper for the trip, and not have to salt it away under the house? Or at least, take the rolls from the rest of our household stash?

So many questions we’re never gonna get the answers to on this side of the veil. For all I know, you’d probably not be able to explain why you did everything you did even if we were able to catch up with you now. Such as a present you never opened:

I’m guessing that this is something that you received from Sally, as she’s the only one I know who would send you a Precious Moments figurine. And this isn’t even the only thing we found down here that hadn’t been opened.

That’s right, we have a ceiling fan that we never took out of the box. I think it might actually go with the decor that I decided on with my visit to Detail the other day. It looks white and contemporary, judging from the box. We’ll see how it goes; for now, it stays in the box in the crawlspace.

And then, there are other things we need to say goodbye to:

This was Daniel’s first fish tank. Poor little Kingler (yes, he was named after a Pokémon) couldn’t survive a December trip down to Grandma and Grandpa’s down in Macomb.
I haven’t a clue what this was or why we kept it. Certainly, being kept in the crawl space couldn’t have done a plant any favors.
I kind of wish this could’ve been donated; it looks like it could get more use, but it also looks absolutely filthy. We’re setting it out with the garbage; maybe somebody will pick it like your dad used to do.

All in all, there’s a really big pile being set out there for tomorrow’s garbage pick up:

Believe it or not, that one pile in the middle is almost as tall as Jan, just to give you a frame of reference.

We’ve gotten a lot of stuff taken care of, and we’ve barely covered a third of the crawlspace. She’ll be back on Thursday, and we’ll take on some more.

The irony is, while we’re in the middle of this process, we’re cleaning up a ‘room’ that no one ever sees, and in order to do that, we’re making messes in all the rooms that we’ve already cleaned. But it needs to be done. There’s stuff there that just needs to be dealt with. And in the case of the fan, we needed to know about that so we can use it going forward. That’s how things go.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted about how things are going. Until next time, remember 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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