Give until it hurts


Well, we made it another year. You know you’ve made it ‘cause you’re reading this column. I know I’ve made it ‘cause I’m still around to write it.

There have been some blunders along the way as well as some missed opportunities, but all in all, it’s been a good one. Now it’s time to forget the mistakes of the past, look forward, and get ready for the New Year.

For the last three weeks, The Wife and I been in the fight of our lives — no, not with each other. We’ve ventured down to the dark, dusty basement fighting off the ever-expanding population of spider crickets.

There were some sorting, keeping, and throwing away that had to be done in order to start the year off right. Getting rid of stuff you no longer need makes you feel really good.

Almost as much as leaving the basement and knowing all those spider crickets are behind locked doors and can’t escape. Or at least I don’t think they can.

Growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, Dad used to say, “You don’t really know what you have until you lose it.” After the last three weeks, I have a new spin on that old saying, “You don’t really know what you have until you start sorting all the stuff stored in the basement.”

“Give until it feels good,” is a quote Mom said around the holidays. I have an update to that quote also: “Give until it feels good, but stop before it starts hurting.”

Yes, The Wife and I soon discovered, getting rid of stuff really hurts. We’ve collected tons of stuff over the years and had to tote much of it to the dump. (I love the smell of dump first thing in the morning.) The stuff we no longer wanted, but was slightly used, we donated to our local Goodwill.

Yes, now I know if you have lots of stuff they’ll come out and pick up, but it was only after the final load that I saw the sign at their store.

In total there were six trips to the dump and five to Goodwill. Now that’s a lot of trash and stuff to haul out of just one basement in a house we’ve been in for only 10 years.

There’s only one explanation of just where all of it came from. I think the spider crickets have moved somebody else’s stuff in on top of ours.

The Wife and I are exhausted from holiday preparations, hosting the family dinner, cleaning, and sorting. Luckily for us, with two granddaughters running around under the age of three, de-decorating the Christmas tree today was easy, extremely entertaining, and provided some great pictures for next year’s Christmas card.

But even with their help, we still have a few days left throwing away stuff. Just hope some of that throwing away of old slightly worn stuff doesn’t include me. I am a little worn around the edges and can get a little grumpy when tired. Just ask The Wife.

Oh, and never fear, faithful reader – the soapbox survived all of The Wife’s attempts to donate it!

From The Wife, The Boy, Little One, Sweet Caroline, and me, here’s wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year. And if you ever need any spider crickets, just let me know. Got to start giving some of them away! Either that, or get a bigger basement.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]