The Last of the Crawl Space

Dearest Rachel –

You probably remember that scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That harrowing bit when Judge Doom announced that he would “try, convict and ex-ecute” Roger, all while nonchalantly lowering an otherwise inoffensive (and subsequently terrified) clown shoe to its death in a barrel of ‘Dip.’

That was the sensation I felt when I first got into the crawlspace this morning, and Jan bumped into an old toy piano. The pitiful planking noise reminded me of the shoe’s honking noise as it tried to escape the sadistic villain, and made me regret what I knew what I was going to have to do.

You see, way back in the crawlspace, unbeknownst to Daniel and I, you kept every Fisher-Price toy I think any one of us had. That wouldn’t be so bad in and of itself, except down here, the mice have gotten into things at some point in the past twenty years, and things, well… let’s just say that Jan tells me that she can’t, in good conscience, send these things off to Goodwill at this point.

You can see some of what they left behind in the seat of that Tonka jeep in the foreground. That’s basically how pretty much everything looks down here.

Basically, it seemed as if just about everything you had stored back here had fallen prey to mice at some point in that length of time, and would have to be bagged up to be set on the curb for the trashmen. It wouldn’t be as painful a process as being immersed in ‘Dip,’ I suppose, but it would serve as that final abandonment after being left ignored for all this time underneath the house.

Ironically enough, as it so happened, the piano was spared from the worst of the infestation. Since it was a sealed unit, the mice couldn’t get inside of it and actually ruin it.

Jan literally did most of the heavy lifting today, clearing out bags of old toys while I continue to sift through boxes of paperwork. A lot of it was never meant to keep; advertisements, magazines, old homework.

Including a lot of old math tests and quizzes. I don’t know if you ever returned the stuff to your teacher like she seems to have requested every. single. time, although the fact that she did request all the time suggest that you didn’t comply very well. I mean, you still have it here.

And no excursions through the crawlspace is complete without finding at least a handful of things that leave us scratching our heads as to what you were thinking in keeping them:

I suspect we won’t remember when we get up there to talk to you, but I wish I knew what all these rubber bands were here for. I can assure you, they are hard and brittle at this point, and of no value to anyone.
My apologies for the poor quality of this photo, but it seems that we couldn’t keep the bag held open long enough. Suffice to say that that was a couple of bottles of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup. Look, I can understand keeping a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix (because she was about to be taken off the box, rendering it something of a collectors item this year) but I have no understanding as to why these syrup bottles were down here.
That old commencement speech that I’ve referenced several times in these letters instructs us to “keep [our] old love letters, and throw away [our] old bank statements.” Now I’ve been trying to do that with these bank statements (or credit union statements in this case), but I didn’t count on finding cash in amongst them. Jan was disappointed to not be the one to find it, but who would’ve expected this to be down here?

One of the last things we pulled out is probably the most perplexing. I’m going to assume it belong to your dad at one point, but considering how deep in the crawlspace it was, you must’ve brought it home from your parents long before his passing. In any event, I have no idea what this thing is. A recording device of some sort?

It was contained in this leathery toolbox type of apparatus, but when you opened it up…
…this is what it looked like. And I have no idea what it was, or what purpose it served. Since it, like the toy piano, was completely self-contained, it seems to be in decent shape for donation. Somebody is going to find this, and know what it is, and consider it a real valuable antique of some sort.

It took a long time going through things, but we did manage to get everything sorted out by one o’clock. By then, both of us had had enough, and broke for lunch… and, ultimately, to try and get me set up on a dating app.

You know, I think Jan is looking forward to this more than I am. But hey, I guess I’ll do this for the sake of everybody else’s amusement, if nothing else. At this point, I don’t know what to expect, or if I should expect anything. We’ll see what comes of it, and I guess I’ll keep you posted.

Until then, honey, wish me luck, as always. It seems I’m going to need it.

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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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