All right then. How was your weekend? Good? Good. In Minnesota, it's been a balmy 40-some degrees for the past few days, which means people are traipsing about in shorts and flip-flops because apparently the thing to do when it's finally warm enough not to see your breath outside is to dress insensibly enough as to ensure you're still as cold as you've been for the past five months. I will never understand this. Yes, it's nice to brave the great outdoors beyond my front door with my coat carelessly left unbuttoned, but I'm still wearing a coat, dammit. It's 45 degrees outside; that's just good sense. My skin is not ready for direct exposure to the elements. One must work up to such things.
I actually didn't spend much time outside breathing non-recirculated air this weekend, despite WhiskeyMarie's compelling order to do so. No, instead I went the opposite route and spent nearly all daylight hours in my cold, dark basement, like the common mole person I generally strive not to be. I am making slow but certain progress on this basement semi-finishing project, by the way. At this rate, I'll be ready to watch a movie in a comfortable, naturally air-conditioned room by mid-August, which is, incidentally, the only time this basement room I'm working on will likely be livable at all. (Note to self: Must buy a space heater if I intend to be down there for any length of time at any other time of year. This I've learned so far.)
This weekend I tackled the least fun part of the basement beautification and organization project: clearing away all the detritus that Ralph's family left behind and that I've been lazy enough to ignore up to now. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge one more of the many, many differences between owning and renting? When you rent, you can leave all manner of shit and rubbish behind, but the cleanup will come out of your security deposit, thereby ensuring the next renter starts off with a clean slate. There is no deposit when selling a house, but if there were, Ralph's children would have been billed a balance after that deposit was depleted. Here is but a brief list of the things I cleared out of my basement today--things currently piled in and near my alley-side garbage bin, ready to press the limits of the City of Minneapolis's rather generous solid waste & recycling rules (not to mention my own environmental conscience):
- One wire shelf and metal handle for a fridge I do not own.
- One metal furnace filter (from the days, apparently, when we had time to clean and reuse furnace filters, rather than buy paper-based, disposable ones manufactured by 3M).
- One envelope of keys that I am sure I will regret throwing away within weeks from now, when I finally discover some locked secret compartment within my home that's somehow gone unrecognized for the past four and a half years.
- Four rolling furniture feet from a piece of furniture I have never seen.
- One box of assorted wires, tubes, and pipe fittings.
- One dingy white wicker hamper, minus the lid.
- One Montgomery Ward exercise bike, most likely circa before I was born.
- Six vinyl tiles of assorted patterns, none of which are currently installed within my home.
- Three screens that are not needed for any window within my house. (Update! The screens are gone! Is there a screen fairy trolling up and down my alleyway? Is there a Golden Goat for building materials that I should know about?)
- One (leaking) tub of Dutch Boy "Texture Paint," which I think serves as the answer to my long-held question of how the hell they created that weird "sponge-painted with a garden slug" effect on the walls of my living room and bedrooms.
- Two sets of first-generation radio earphones (complete with what I'm hoping is simply aged and yellowing plastic, as opposed to ancient earwax).
- One whatever the hell this is, which I finally unscrewed and removed from the worktable beside my furnace. (Does anyone know what this machine is used for? And also, do you need one?)
- One disassembled end table/magazine rack (in pieces, it's hard to tell just what it used to be).
- One chipped and rusted metal bowl, half-filled with a clay-colored powder of unknown origin.
- 24 paint cans ranging from empty to nearly full. (In all fairness, approximately half of these were mine. But that doesn't forgive the half that weren't.)
None of this should surprise me, of course. The first thing I did when I moved in was scrub the inside of the refrigerator so I felt safe putting food inside. The next day, my friend Lisa and I scraped all surfaces of the kitchen to rid them of the sticky, greasy, yellow goo in which everything was coated. "I keep expecting to find a whole pork chop," I remember Lisa saying. I agreed, but was extremely relieved we never found it.
Time flies when you're not having fun, and after all those hours in my basement, I feel I've been cheated out of my weekend somehow. In even better news, there's a winter storm warning for tomorrow into Tuesday. Apparently, neglecting to acknowledge the onset of spring dooms you to another several days of winter. Actually, snow this week is just about right. When that whole March Madness thing doesn't interfere with my friends' ability to attend my birthday festivities, a late-winter blizzard does the trick in its place. Payback is a bitch, I tell you. I had no idea ignoring the onset of spring weather meant more winter in its place. That damn groundhog has nothing to do with it; it's hermitude in the face of sunshine that really determines how much more winter we have. Fellow Minnesotans, if my productivity really is to blame for the snow we're shoveling tomorrow, I do apologize. But if I tell you it's my birthday week, you have to forgive me, don't you?
* What was that you were saying about tone the other day, Noelle? You know I love you, right? I hope that sentence didn't sound like I don't.