Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Sanford & Son at Someday
When my older sis was here visiting at Christmas, I proudly showed her around the farm, as she'd only seen it through Facebook photos. She ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the house, the apple orchard, the proximity to both beach and river. She loved the hayloft and the old horse stalls in the barn. But when I took her to the shop, she started laughing.
"What?" I said, puzzled. "I know, it's a mess."
"It's not that," she said, still giggling. It was only when she started singing the theme song to Sandford & Son and doing her unique chicken-wing dance around the boat, motorbike, snow blower and tractor that I got it.
Sandford & Son, for those of you too young or too cultured to have ever seen it, was a show about a crusty old junk dealer who lived in a ramshackle, cluttered shop so full of "treasures" that people could hardly walk around without knocking something over. Ahem.
It seems that the more room one has, the more stuff one accumulates. After watching my sister's performance in our shop last winter, I've come to realize that the barns, garages and closets of Someday Farm are no exception. To put it bluntly, we have a lot of crap.
When I lived in the city, my house was often described by other people as "charming." When someone says this about your house, what they're really saying is that it's small and old. Charming houses have unlit, cramped closets, and cupboards too deep and too high to be used properly. Charming houses have teeny little vestibules with doll-sized spaces that laugh at your attempts to hang bulky winter gear or store your vacuum cleaner. Their garages are barely wide enough for one car, let alone bikes, sleds, lawn mowers, etc. And the backyard sheds are mostly decorative, seeing as how entering them means risking severe head injuries.
So on our first offical walk-through of Someday - before it was ours - I was delighted by the car garage, shop and two barns. I'd finally have room for my gardening implements, my skis and my BBQ! And I was over the moon about the 12 cupboards, pantry and various handy drawers in the kitchen. But the bedroom closets were horrific: a single door opened onto a long, dark hallway with a few shelves and no place to hang clothes! How did the poor previous owners LIVE?
A few discussions with our renovator gave me the closets of my dreams: double doors, excellent light, lots and lots of room to hang stuff. I was in closet heaven. We had oodles of space. In fact, we had so much space that we'd never use it all. Or so I thought.
As slow as a rising tide, my magical roomy closets began to fill up: my sister stored a few of her outfits while she went to Russia; comforters and blankets began to accumulate; and then came the mountains of baby clothes. One day I suffered a severe case of deja vu as I attempted to stuff a box into an overflowing closet. It was my house in Waterloo all over again. I'd been blaming the size of my old house for my space issues, but really, it was ME and my squirrel-like accumulation issues.
My husband is no different; his shop is piled high with a jumble of tools, errant farm equipment, defunct snowmobiles and lawn tractors. Our garage is packed full of strollers, wagons and other baby mobility equipment, offset by paint cans, snow shoes, and apple tree bug spray. It's a wild mix.
But I don't consider all our accumulations junk, no matter how many times my sister sings the Sandford & Son song to me. I don't think we've entered "hoarder" territory (yet); everything we have, we use (except for the snowmobile). When I look around at all the stuff, I swell up with a feeling of thankfulness. We have space, and we have stuff. How lucky are we?