Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Bloke and his shed

"Why don’t we clean out the shed?” I said hopefully. “We could get a skip.”
“But I’m using that stuff,” Bloke said, offended.
“What, for a CSIRO-sponsored redback spider breeding program?”
“Ha bloody ha. Ha!”

We opened the roller door on Saturday and I found I was wrong. The shed could still be used as one of the sets for Arachnophobia VIII: Weekend at Incy Wincy’s, but it wasn’t full of redbacks. (I should have known – the redbacks are under the front window sill. They're freaky white ones that I have to nuke every couple of months to keep them from forming a right-wing government.) It was actually in the possession of a gang of giant daddy longlegs with an attitude problem that made the Khmer Rouge look like the Smurfs.

The spiders are a symptom rather than the problem. The real problem is that Bloke is a bit of a hoarder. You know, the way Charles Manson is a bit unstable.

I know that many a lad falls under the species blokus Australis packrattus. My dad could hoard with the best of them. It took mum years to clean out his shed after he died. It was full of odd-shaped pieces of wood, spanners that were measured in inches and Vegemite jars full of rusting tacks. Number One Brother is a hoarder too. He’s been packratting one and a half Lightburn Zetas for a good 25 years now. Hell, even chicks have packrattus genes. I’ve got more than a few myself. Books are a constant problem and one of my desk drawers is crammed full of old birthday and Christmas cards. Yes, I know – redcap, meet Planet Ark.

When we moved into this house, the shed was empty but for spider webs, ivy and a huge collection of tomato stakes. Then we started renovating and piles of rubble, old pipes, wiring and dunnies sprouted in the front and backyards. Little bits and pieces from those piles began to be spirited into the shed “for future reference”. That was nine or ten years ago now, but I’m fairly sure some of those random bits of Steptoeness are still in the shed. It’s just lucky that I accidentally broke the old dunny with a sledge hammer, or I'm sure that would still be there too, being used to store kindling or something.

Naturally, I’m not blameless in the creation of the bomb zone that is our shed. I’ve been known to use it as a handy staging point between house and tip and then forget to take the final step because out of sight is, well, in the shed. (Note to self: call council for hard rubbish collection for old mattress. Seven months in the shed ain’t making it any sweeter.)

And sometimes, just sometimes, the things in the shed do come in handy. Bloke claims that most of the materials he used to build the biltong box were already in the shed. Well, except for the latch, the hinges, the fine fly wire, the sealing foam for the lid, the black tape to seal the edges, the flat bits of wood, the glue, the hooks and the small nails. But everything else was in the shed.

There are also the times that I’ve said, “Ohbuggerit, I need a whatsits!” only to have Bloke appear five minutes later with a whatsits. This is great, but does have its problems.

(a) He’s had to take a cricket bat with him to persuade the spiders to give up possession;
(b) The whatsits is covered in dust, spidershite and unidentifiable crud; and
(c) I have to endure smug little “See, I told you my shed was useful!” noises for the rest of the afternoon.

I know the shed is never going to be free of either packrattings or spiders. I know that. It’s like trying to hold back the tide. But I can’t help thinking that the time spent on sifting through a shoebox that contains 14 types of nails, clouts, tacks, bolts and screws (but not the sort you want, and that's if you can even find the bloody shoebox), might be better spent on a quick trip to Bunnings. Sure, it means you have to spend $2 on a new packet of picture hangers and while you’re there you’ll see enough builders’ crack to trauamtise an entire Gay Mardi Gras, but look on the bright side. They have a sausage sizzle where you can get lips, ears and arseholes all in one handy package WITH fried onions and barbecue sauce. You can even have mustard if you want it.

Sold.

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28 Comments:

At 4:38 am, April 04, 2007, Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

does he say "you never know when *insert name of useless piece of crap* will come in handy" every time you challenge him? My folk have lived in the same house for 47 years and have the remains of a glasshouse and orchard rototiller that they moved in from 2 houses before the current one. I guess that is my inheritance, but I won't fight my brother for them.

 
At 8:04 am, April 04, 2007, Anonymous MikeFitz said...

Having lived in this same house for more than a quarter-century, I too have quite a collection of stuff kept for 'Ron. (Later on)

It's even worse for us geeks; we can store lots of important electronic stuff as well. Like software for computers that no longer exist, Outlook diaries from decades ago. Did you know that on this day in 1997, I was flying from Cairns to Brisbane on QF643 at 11:30?

 
At 8:15 am, April 04, 2007, Blogger londongirl said...

My shed (which I can't get into and have to shove shut due to huge amount of crap, sorry, essential stuff) smells strongly of dead fox right now. But I'm too much of a chicken (oooh and using bad back as an excuse) to clear it all out and find the inevitable corpse.

Eeeek. Would rather not have had a shed in the first place, frankly.

 
At 9:09 am, April 04, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

TG, yes he does. Sigh.

Mike, Bloke is an engineer, so his study is infested with old computer monitors, electronic bits and pieces and things that have died, but might have useful parts. The study is nearly as bad as the shed, but has fewer spiders. We lost the cat in there recently.

LG, ah, the scent of decomp. Nothing like it :P Pay someone else to do it, would be my hint!

 
At 9:15 am, April 04, 2007, Blogger kiki said...

don't even think about 'cleaning out the shed'. that's like saying he has a small penis.

he'll never forgive you and he would never admit to the benefits of having a cleaner / easier to access shed

 
At 2:28 pm, April 04, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Kiki, don't worry - I'm not nearly crazy enough to clean it out without "permission". Hell, I don't even want to go in there, full stop. The shed was cleaned up once before, though, and he did kind of like being able to get to his workbench for a change.

 
At 5:04 pm, April 04, 2007, Blogger ashleigh said...

Ah! A brother into Lightburn Zeta's. He didn't work for DSTO did he? If so I might have worked with him!!!

I was once taken for a terrifying ride in one of those. With a 2-stroke motor you got 4 forward gears, and 4 in reverse (cos the motors is just started running backwards, see?).

The guy I worked with drove one to and from work each day for years. He was once stopped on the way because his "car" was blowing a bit of smoke. When he explained it was meant to do that because it was a 2-stroke, he was allowed on his way - with much shaking of heads by the plod. After all, what could the old Bill do?

As for the shed...

I have a workshop which I try to keep tidy, but because the rest of the family see a large space it is frequently used as a dumping ground for all sorts of crud. HOWEVER, we have 2 rules in our house:

- T'other half wont tell me to clean up the workshop

- I won't tell t'other half to clean up her workroom / sewing room. Even though the ironing board is in there and when I want to iron a shirt for work, sometimes it requires pitons to find the power point to turn the iron on.

 
At 1:51 pm, April 05, 2007, Blogger The Man at the Pub said...

The four most important things in a man's universe..

1. His penis
2. His shed
3. His (s)mother
4. His partner

I'd like to say these are in no specific order but...

 
At 5:20 pm, April 05, 2007, Blogger PetStarr said...

HA!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is one of your best posts ever. Bloody hilarious.

 
At 8:09 pm, April 05, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ashleigh, no, big bro' never worked at DSTO, but my uncle did and he had the Zeta before BB did. Adelaide's a bloody small place...

TMatP, I can cope with playing second fiddle to his dick, and even to his smother, but a spider-filled, dust-coated shed that he can barely even get into? Le sigh.

Pet, ya reckon? Cool! :)

 
At 12:55 am, April 06, 2007, Blogger Nai said...

"They're freaky white ones that I have to nuke every couple of months to keep them from forming a right-wing government." - I have just snorted coffee up my nose. At least it's cleared my sinuses. Gold.

 
At 9:39 am, April 06, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

I know what you mean about the middle ground between the tip and the house. Whenever I move house, my shed usually has to be moved wholesale to the tip.

Luckily, my bloke is an anti-hoarder. So, actually, our shed is full of my old papers, rollerblades I bought from the Salvos, etc.

Nice post!

 
At 1:22 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Nai, sorry 'bout that, chief. Is coffee any good for a blocked nose? If only we could get rid of John Howard with a bit of baygon...

Ariel, thanks :) Think yourself lucky the Husband isn't a packrat. Hope your trip is going well!

 
At 5:10 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

My trip is over! I got back exactly a week ago, but have been too sluggish to return to blogging so far, aside from commenting. It was greaaaaat - too great, maybe.

 
At 6:23 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ariel, gosh, those seven weeks passed quickly! And about being too sluggish, believe me, I know what you mean :(

 
At 7:16 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

I know - they sure did. So it's not just me who feels sluggish after a trip? I fear I will never write anything (apart from work stuff) again. Though of course I will ...

 
At 7:31 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

I had exactly the same problem. Once I was home, nothing but Africa seemed worth writing about. I'm even having trouble motivating myself for work purposes and my fiction output is zero. If only we were in the same city, we could form our own little support group :) When did you say you were coming back to Oddelaide?

 
At 8:43 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger Ms Smack said...

three words..hard rubbish collection.

Maybe entice him into making it a boys room if he clears it out. 2nd hand pool table, bean bags, bar, tv, with video - girls not allowed.

 
At 9:27 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger Steph said...

I may not know much, but I know not to come between a man and his shed!

The one and only time my parents almost divorced was over my mum clearing out his shed when he went away for work.
Sad times.

 
At 11:15 pm, April 06, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Honey, oh, I've tried that. I've so tried that. But I've given up.

Steph, more power to your mum! She's my kinda chick. If only I had that much bottle.

 
At 9:37 am, April 07, 2007, Blogger meva said...

Unfortunately, we don't have a shed. And we haven't been able to fit a car in the double garage for yonks. Do you think there's a connection?

 
At 10:08 am, April 07, 2007, Blogger Ariel said...

Nice to know it's obviously a symptom of returning from travel, not just me losing it! I like the idea of the support group. I SHOULD be in Oddelaide right now, according to my plans, but my Troubled Dog (as opposed to the other, normal one) made my housesitter's life hell by escaping every day, so I have to stay here until The Husband returns. *sigh* I'll let you know if I figure out my own escape route!

 
At 12:18 pm, April 07, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Meva, you do have a shed - a double shed :)

Ariel, ah well, the best laid plans of mice and whatsitses...

 
At 5:03 pm, April 11, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

One shed----you are only one shed people---I suppose there are still some of "those" around---
Now, I have the little shed in the corner which is packed with lots of "stuff" from my married shed and some of my father in laws old "stuff"
Then there is the other shed which has a lot of "stuff" that my father had in his sheds
And I have the big super garage size shed which has the newer stuff from when I moved in to the house and stuff from my mothers unit and stuff from my mothers room and stuff that I've bought to do jobs.
But when I need that stuff, I'm not quite sre where it is so I go to the Hardware shop and get the sausage and onions and some extra stuff to put in the shed.
Guess I'm lucky that I have the house Garage and a store room inside

 
At 4:24 pm, April 18, 2007, Blogger redcap said...

Ted, I think that means you've got too much crap.

 
At 8:23 pm, April 19, 2007, Anonymous Teddy said...

Nup
I just like the sausages and onions

 
At 2:42 pm, May 29, 2007, Blogger ging said...

Omilord, redcap, this is bang on...

My, er, engineer ;) partner has just merged the contents of his 2brm apt with the contents of my 2brm house... and we are st...ruggling! The house is chaos in itselt, but I'm finding I have to keep using the line, 'put it in the shed'...

As for what's in the shed... I'm talkin' regular 'man tools', an 80s computer sans monitor, just the big fuck-off drive (because the fact that we both have laptops is incidental, right?), computer/geek/engineering-associated accessories, and yes, a MATTRESS and a King single bed that he can't part with for reasons I know not! Saving it for our first-born?! The lot! He does, however, deliver the goods whenever I say, 'do you have a... '

But, I hear your pain...

 
At 10:05 pm, June 22, 2007, Blogger River said...

I've moved house many, many times, each time taking only the things most important to me,books,tv,my favourite 20yr old quilt, oh, and the kids, leaving behind 2 or 3 wheelie bins full of "stuff". After about a year or so I find I no longer miss the "stuff". And on my last move I left the kids behind as well.

 

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