Sunday, June 26, 2022

Ignoring the elephant in the room

Once upon a time I blogged about the floating elephant rule. There is a very large floating elephant consuming the news right now. I'm trying to ignore it, but it's difficult. All I'm going to say is that the relevant historical parallel happened Nov 9-10, 1938. Like the events of then, the recent court decision is a big step along what is now an inevitable path. I consider the USA a failed state and it's only going to get worse. Get out while you can.

To happier topics. The peonies are still almost ready to do their thing. Perhaps today I'll go take some photos of the ants on the peony balls that are almost ready to bloom. The other thing today is bottling another wine kit, the second last of the season. 

Something that should be a thing today is tuning up the lawn mower. I use one of the reel mowers, and mostly it works well, provided the grass isn't wet or too long. I need to sharpen the blades and tweak the exact position of the cutting bar, which is a bit tedious to get just right. I'm wondering if it's time to send it to the shop and get the bearings replaced and new wheels installed. The old wheels are nearly smooth. No idea how much that will cost, and I won't be surprised to find it's more expensive than buying a new one. If I do that, I have to figure out what to do with the old one.

Those following me on Facebook might or might not have seen the photos from the great kitchen cupboard clean out yesterday. (Who knows what Facebook will show users?) What had happened was after I washed the coffee cups I tried to put them back where they go. Except some other mugs or glassware had shifted position and the door wouldn't close. I started shuffling things around a bit, then realized I could see some stuff that hadn't been used in a decade or more. Why was it taking up prime cupboard space?

Associated with this was wine glasses. Linda found a set of nice ones, since all we had was twos and threes of older wine glasses. You will be astonished to be told there was no space for the new ones. 

I started hauling things out. Stuff that I figured we didn't need at all anymore went on the table for review by TOIC. (She picked out 3 things to keep, one of which is a replacement for something nearing the end of it's useful life.) Stuff I knew we wanted to keep stayed on the counter to be washed and put back, hopefully in a more orderly way. 

One of the things I found was an engraved mug commemorating my departure from the City in August 1990. Yes, more than 30 years ago. That mug has been sitting there unused, taking up space, gathering dust. There were lots of work related mugs, none of which get used.

It was kind of fun. There were many things in the back of the cupboard that I had forgotten we had, and several that neither of us had any memory of how it came to be here. Two large boxes went to the Women in Need store. Mugs, glasses, an electric kettle, travel mugs; it would be nice if they found a home where they'll be used, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of it goes straight into the trash bin.

When I was a child I loved roaming around my grandparent's farms. I was fascinated by all the stuff that had accumulated over time. On a farm one never knows when something will break or stop working, and what it will take to fix it, or at least get it working long enough to finish the job at hand, or get it back to where you can work on it properly. There is no end of bits and bobs, and thingamajigs, and thingies, and doodads, stuffed into boxes, or under a work bench, or up in the rafters, or hanging on a wall. Both farms had the same smell where that sort of stuff was kept, a combination of various petroleum products, dust, leather, wood, and in one of them, cigarette smoke. Nothing got thrown away because it might be needed tomorrow or next week, and it's cheaper than buying the new part. Money didn't grow on trees, after all! Thinking about the original purpose, or what the related (but missing) parts might be, or if it was something I could play with occupied many happy hours.

Now, of course, neither of those farms exists. Even in my childhood I suspect neither was actually economic. One was a hobby farm on the wrong side of the dike between the Fraser River and the nearby town. The barn has been replaced by a home, though I think the drive shed is still there. None of the 4 homes in a row fronting the old farm are owned by my family anymore. The other was a small dairy operation a long way from the bleeding edge of mechanization. Last I saw it was an empty field, and now  Google maps shows me a swanky McMansion.

At some point all the farm stuff was examined. Some of it would go to the scrap metal yard, some to the dump. I suspect there was an auction sale for the rest. Whatever route, it's not there anymore, regardless of the utility or actual value, or whatever emotional value it might have had.  

I came by my pack rat tendencies honestly, and don't deny them. But I have been thinking about the purpose of things. Why we buy them, use them, and keep them even if not used. Some things are obviously needed again, like a winter parka and other cold weather gear. Some things have an emotional value, like a gift from a friend. But other things stop getting used, and they sit there gathering dust. Some people think of what they paid for the item, and can't bear to let it go because they will have "lost money" on it. Or maybe they intend to use it again, like that set of golf clubs I have in the basement, that I bought in the mid-80's because I actually played golf. (Very badly, in case you're wondering. I came within sight of breaking 100 several times, but never actually did so.) I'm not likely to ever use them again, but the possibility is there. Which I guess explains why so many treadmills actually function as a laundry rack.

I'm thinking the next clean out project will be the drawers beside my desk. 6 drawers, 8 cm, 11 cm, and 17 cm, all of which are essentially completely full of mostly paper, but all manner of other odds and ends. I can't remember when 5 of the drawers were last empty. The one least full one is only half full because I removed the corporate tax paperwork to put in a box labelled 'shred in 2030'. When I was cleaning it out I found a pay stub from 1997. I've no idea what I'll find this time. Maybe I'll actually document this for posterity.

I suppose if we're talking about things that have outlived their owners, or are past their lifetime, it makes sense to show you some flower blossoms past their prime.



















Of the Day

The industrial view from a ridge in Calgary, with an odd sky.

Film (35mm, Ektar 100)

1 comment:

  1. Love the images of flowers past their prime. They seem so - I dunno - proud and mysterious somehow. I'm not sure where "proud" came from. Maybe like an elderly matriarch dressed for the opera. Anyway, thanks too for your insights from a pack rat. We are struggling to declutter on this end of the country too. I keep reminding myself I don't want to leave it for strangers to pick through if something unexpected happens and we're not here to supervise disposal of it all ourselves.


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