Sunday, March 2, 2008

Clean-Up Day

Saturday morning found me driving south on Highway 220, bound for South Carolina and a day of work at my grandparents' house. The first project was to help my dad repair the pump on the swimming pool. I use the term "help" in its loosest sense--I handed him tools and washed the gunk off the filters while he did the actual repairs. (People familiar with my own mechanical incompetence are astounded to learn that my father is quite handy when it comes to fixing things, and Teresa has wondered more than once how I managed to live with my dad for 18 years and not learn anything except how to catch fish and play centerfield.)

Once that was done (and I must say that those filters WERE exceptionally clean) my mother and I began cleaning out one of the two sheds on the property. My grandfather lived in that house for 20 years, and not only did he keep every bolt, every screw, every odd piece of metal that he
"might be able to use" during those two decades, it soon became apparent that many of the items in that shed had been moved from his previous shed. Need a left-side gimaflaggelator for a 1965 Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine? It's probably in that shed. Well, it's at the dump now, but it was in the shed, or at least something similar that my grandfather could use to make that engine work again.

And then there are the chemicals. My grandfather did not exactly come of age in the era of organic gardening. In his world, the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there was a noxious chemical to meet every gardening need, and he had six cases of each one of them. The EPA would have a fit if they knew what was in there. I saved all that for another day--preferably a day after I acquire a biohazard suit.

After our last trip to the dump and a reprimand from the presiding attendant about not putting metal in the "brown goods" bin...I got my shovel and dug up as many Spring Snowflakes and daylilies as I could fit in my car, then headed back to North Carolina.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are a good Grandson. Here there is a day during spring that you can take hazardous waste to a pick-up point to get rid of it properly. I hope you find such a program for your Grandfathers chemicals.

Tina said...

Well shoot. Here was my husband just looking for a left-side gimaflaggelator for a 1965 Briggs and Stratton lawnmower engine yesterday! See what happens when you throw things out?

Robin's Nesting Place said...

He sounds like my dad. We got in BIG trouble one day when we tried to clean up the junk. It is not junk to him, (Mr. Fix-it). We'll have a mess on our hands one day too, hopefully that one day is a long time away.

jim/ArtofGardening said...

When my dad passed, back a few years ago, we had to clean out his garage and FOUR sheds. He had six right-side gimaflaggelators. Your granddad and my da would've made quite the pair. And they could've made a whole gimaflaggelator.

Annie in Austin said...

Right now I'm glad you live in NC, David, or Philo would be helping you clean up by taking the bolts and stuff for our garage...not the chemicals, though - hope you have a facility that accepts the hazardous stuff.

I'd rather help you get rid of excess snowflakes and daylilies than the shed pickin's ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Catherine said...

Sounds like my husband, not only does he keep every bolt,nut, screw,& pieces of metal that~ "He might be able to use one day~but he has all kinds of friends that bring him junk ~that they think he might be able to use one day! :)
You are a good son! And a good grandson! And an excellent gardener..:)
I enjoyed your earlier post too, with all those signs and hints of spring..just what I needed to chase my winter blues away!

Mary said...

Your reference to noxious chemical and and a biohazard suit cracked me up. I think most men in that generation saved every nut and bolt like you grandfather. You are a great person to help clean up such a mess. My own father was a scrap saver, too :o)