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Crazy D  had promised, a couple of weeks ago, to come and help me with a few chores –raking leaves, lifting heavy things, sorting through and taking some of his stuff remaining in the basement. Now I realized that he had work some days and , since his schedule can be erratic, I didn’t expect too much. I wasn’t disappointed.The day I finished up the raking, he called and said:”I’m ready to come help tomorrow. I’ll do the raking first.”

To which I replied, “Well, that was a lovely offer. But I had to do it myself…winter waits for no man — even a dutiful yet tardy son!”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. I really meant to do it. I had to work so I couldn’t come.”

“It’s okay. There are still lots of things for you to do.”

So Crazy D showed up yesterday and we began sorting through the random tools, shoes with no mates, old guitar strings, metal bits that were indistinguishable as anything useful, and his old amps. (Those amps have moved in and out of my basement so many times they must have whiplash.I have a Bill Murray Groundhog moment each and every time.)

I found a cardboard box filled with junk. I picked a metal object up in my hand. “What the hell is this?” I ventured.

“Damned if I know,” came the answer.

I dug deeper. “Oh, look…a wrench. And another…and another.”

“Mom, are you sure that’s a wrench?” Crazy D asked.

“Of course. Do you think I’m an idiot? Shall I put these in the ‘keep’ pile, the trash pile, or the ‘donations’ pile?”

“Oh, just trash it all,” he announced, already tired of playing this game.

“Oh, but that seems wasteful,” I offered. “I’m sure somebody could use these bits and pieces. I think I’ll donate them.” Crazy D rolled his eyes.

I delved deeper into the mix. “What is this?”I asked again.

“Don’t know; don’t care,” came the reply. “It was probably something of Dad’s that went with the lathe. Pitch it!”

Then I reached into the box and came up with two very sharp, very lethal looking knives with curved blades. I vaguely recalled my ex using them when he did his stained glass projects…30 years ago. “Hmm,” I muttered. “No rust…that’s good.”

“Are you sure?” asked Crazy D.

“What do you mean? Am I sure there’s no rust or sure that it’s a good thing there’s no rust?”

“Mom, this stuff is all useless! Who in their right mind wants this shit? I thought you wanted to get rid of stuff…so far you’re just sorting and shifting it around.”

“Just because you’re the king of throwing sofas off balconies so you won’t have to take them with you doesn’t mean everyone is so cavalier with their stuff! Some guy would probably love to have these tools.”

I didn’t quite hear what Crazy D said in response, but it might have been:”Yeah, a tool for a tool…”

I was turning the knives around in my hands.  Crazy D piped up:”Wow! I don’t think I want to meet the guy who wants those two knives…especially in a dark alley!”

“Very funny. I now have here quite a large pile of useful things for the Diabetes or Kidney or CF people. THEY will appreciate them.”

“Fine,” Crazy D said. “But don’t tell Gill we were cleaning out the basement and throwing stuff out. She always gets stressed and accuses us of throwing out HER stuff.”

“Do I look like I have a death wish? Her piles of stuff are just where she left them– as per her instructions. So if and when she ever returns to Canada, she will be ready to set up house with three picnic baskets, an old surfing poster, a few unloved pots you and L’il Sis haven’t pilfered,some moldy books, and a collection of all of her ‘scribblings’ from her childhood–postcards, notes, letters– and her parakeet Newton’s valuables.” Don’t ask. Just because we’re likely the only family weird enough to have a tiny china teapot and matching dishes belonging to a dead pet bird, that doesn’t make us freaks. And I’m sticking to that story!