Spring cleaning


Once again, the all too familiar scourge has descended upon this town, covering everything in a gritty yellow powder.

Yep, pollen season is upon us once again, and, pardon the pun, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Unlike other springs, though, somehow this year we went from winter straight into summer. Lucky for me, I was inside all last weekend cleaning out the basement. Yes, dear reader, it’s spring cleaning time.

The Wife and I have been in our house for almost five years now. I figured it was about to time to unpack the boxes in the basement.

Really, it was her idea — something about finding Blinko vases. Now, I don’t profess to know the difference between a Blinko vase and a Walmart vase, but they were important to her. That’s all that matters. And that’s why I spent all weekend looking for them.

It’s truly amazing what one can find in boxes that haven’t seen the light of day for over five years. My rule of thumb has always been that if you haven’t touched it for 12 months, then you really don’t need it anymore. It’s time to throw it out.

When I told The Wife my rule of thumb, she replied, “Blinko vases you don’t throw out. Husbands with silly rules of thumb are another story.”

When I heard her reply, I put my foot down! I’m the man of the house and quickly put my other foot down. I continued putting my feet down … eventually reaching the basement and the 30 or so unpacked boxes.

You say you don’t have a basement? Then just look in the attic or tucked away in the bottom of closets. Odds are you have a bunch of unpacked boxes and maybe a Blinko vase or two.

In the first box, I found my passport. Eight years ago, we each had gone through the rigors to procure one. Travel and see the world. Yep, that’s what our dream was. Unfortunately the way the economy is now, I don’t really need it anymore, but it was still good to find it nonetheless. I put it back into the box and marked the outside, “Dreams yet to be fulfilled.”

In the next box I found something almost as good as the passport: my original birth certificate. I sure had a small foot back then. I lost it about 10 years ago. My birth certificate, not my foot — I still have both of those.

I also found the certified copy of my birth certificate provided by that nice person down at the department of vital records after a three-day wait in line. Okay, so it really wasn’t three days. It just seemed that long. And if I’m being honest, the nice lady wasn’t nice either. I marked the box, “Small Beginning.”

Around box 15 was the biggest find of all. In the bottom was my diploma from Briarwood High School, home of the Mighty Buccaneers. Included was a picture of a much younger me, sporting shoulder-length blond hair, throwing a graduation cap in the air with one hand and displaying a peace sign with the other.

I marked the outside of the box, “Clueless” and gingerly packed both the diploma and picture away. I really miss my hair.

And so it went for the better part of two days. I found many treasures and long-ago memories. And in the last box I even found those Blinko vases.
Emerging from the basement with arms full of the trademark blue glass, The Wife danced her happy dance. Then she asked me a question, “So are you going to re-think your rule of thumb?”

I answered, “Yes. From now on when I look through boxes, I’ll start with the last one first.”

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is saferick@bellsouth.net.]