Adventures in Spring Cleaning: The Unexpected Snake Encounter and Attack of Encapsulated Memories

This display is a veritable paragon of neatness compared to my garage. Image by Tiffany Terry via Flickr. Image cropped. License.

It seems this is the year for serious (and I mean SERIOUS!) Spring cleaning here at the Tryptophan household. I have spent maybe 6–7 sessions of some hours out in the garage, simply clearing out junk and re-boxing books that were closely packed into boxes too large and heavy for my crumbling bones and irritated nerve-endings to manage.

So, the first thing this morning, I saunter out to the garage and start lifting the door — and a snake falls on my head. Literally. I had to shake the poor fellow off my shoulders. I think it must have been 3–4 feet long, a rat snake that disappeared back into the maze of boxes in the relative shady cool of the garage. I wasn’t too worried about finding him, after all, he was keen to get as far away from me as he could. I also decided just to let him get on with his regular job — finding and eating rats.

I spent about 3 hours out in that warm garage, weaving in and out of obstacles in higgledy-piggledy array, throwing away probably 5 boxes full of excess books, miscellaneous junk, and broken toys. I probably repacked about 200 books and sorted through every kind of collectible and non-collectible item known to Man (and some that are probably only known to aliens and Time Lords).

I didn’t see the snake again while I was working out there, but you can bet I’ll be very careful while lifting that garage door next time. I limped back inside, liberating the dogs from their pen to accompany me; I could barely walk due to the heartbreak of sciatica. Funny I didn’t notice it while I was hard at work; is it perhaps because I was warmed up?

One of the aspects of the garage-cleaning project that I hadn’t fully considered was the sheer mental overload of poring over the masses of old junk that we had bought up to 12 years ago and stored in there. It brought back little memories of how things were back then, when we were trying to organize all our yard sale finds and perhaps sell some of them online, only to finally give up in the rush of real life and shove them in a box and thence into the oubliette of the garage.

I remember the push-pull between wanting to get rid of a bunch of clutter and the urge to keep it around just in case we suddenly needed something to sell online for extra household funds. That was a real concern back then, and, in some ways, I still feel that pressure. One feature of life that has dogged me is the lack of a feeling of stability; I always felt like somehow things were going to go horribly wrong, and I would need the buffer of all this stuff to generate income with.

I get the idea that people who lived through the Great Depression also had this feeling, but for me it started when I melted down at the job that was keeping us alive, and I finally had to give my notice. If I hadn’t done that, the looney bin would have been the next step. It was truly one of the worst employment experiences ever and the reason I try to treat customer service personnel with courtesy. They’re not your punching bag, and bashing the messenger or taking out your frustrations on someone who is trying to help you truly has some devastating consequences.

Well, that went rather far afield. Also, I was so tired last night that all this is from yesterday, and I’m just making a few end notes now. Maybe I’ll be able to post it sometime this century. Cheers, and g’nite y’all!

The culprit himself, in the process of trying to put some distance between himself and the crazy mad organizing lady with the cellphone. I hope he gets some rodents. We could use the help!