Ever have one of those moments when things are going real real well and then, out of nowhere, you get blind-sided across the temple with a reality check?
I had that happen yesterday, as I was putting the finishing touches on my garage.
And God, it sucks.
There I was, doing something I love to do/straightening up my super-small corner of this humongous world/feeling like the human-incarnation of the first sweet southern notes of that Allman Brothers tune, ‘Blue Sky‘, good honest natural things trickling down through my bloodstream like the wild honey dripping down off of Dickie Betts’ guitar, when it occurred to me that, well… I’d been ripped off.
Held up without a gun.
My belt sander was gone. It had been a gift from my wife when we moved to Pennsylvania last year, something she’d known that I wanted bad so that I could enjoy the bit of Sunday afternoon Zen that comes from sanding down and refinishing old yard sale furniture.
My guts rolled as I noticed it was MIA. I remembered seeing it in the old house, the night before I moved all my garage things back to this new house. But, it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen it since. And yeah, I tore the house apart to see if by chance it was put somewhere else by accident, but no dice.
At first, I didn’t think it was flat-out thievery. In fact, that didn’t even occur to me, really. I simply didn’t know what to think; maybe I had loaned it to someone and then forgot? No, that wasn’t it.
Maybe I had left it at the old house? Nope. I had done a mega-dummy check before we had split, opening every cabinet and drawer obsessively, throughout the whole house and the garage there.
I was so bummed out, but that’s life, I figured. You simply can’t win ’em all.
So, I started back at finishing up my garage project with the blues on my back.
I began hanging my fly fishing stuff up over on a wall I had driven some nails into. Vests, chest packs, my waders, I hung each one up and stood back like a dork to look at my work like a real artist would when he or she steps back away from a painting for perspective.
There were some old cheap shelves that I had sitting around and I hung them up over in the ‘Fishing Corner‘ too (dork!), figuring that I could keep all of my flies in their boxes up there. I went to grab the big wooden box with painted deer on it that I kept all of my fly boxes in and that’s when I noticed.
Again, the shotgun of cold hard truth blasted off right beside my ear and I was literally spinning around the room as I stood looking around my man-cave and could see, plain as the damn day, that it was nowhere to be seen…that it was history
Now, I felt that real physical sickness that comes with the territory. It’s that overwhelming aura of being royally-screwed and helpless you get when you join the wide-ranging ranks of the plundered.
There were hundreds of flies in there, mostly tied by a good buddy of mine who had selflessly given so much of his free time to create boxes full of fly fishing art for me to catch trout with. And now they were someone else’s; somewhere else; anywhere else but here where they belonged.
I sat on a block of wood, sucker-punched.
The big box of flies had been in the old garage, on top of a pile of stuff, I remembered, right near where my sander had been. The garage was old, there was no locks or anything, and it was the kind of town where people just didn’t steal from one another. Or so I thought. Someone had just waltzed in there, I guess, while we were all sleeping on the floor inside, our beds already packed away in the big moving truck parked out front, and they’d just helped themselves to some material parts of my life that had meant a lot to me.
But what can you do?
No one got hurt. The kids don’t even know anything is missing. And my wife,Monica, she’s sympathetic, of course, but the sting doesn’t sting her the same. I understand that.
I sat on my wood block for a while, processing the hit I’d just took. Twenty minutes dragged on by.
Then, I did what I had to do, and finished the job at hand.
Now I’m back in the groove and this garage of mine is looking fine as wine, my friends.
Yeah, I had a setback in realizing that some most excellent stuff I had really been looking forward to hanging out with out here is gone for good, but whatever. Doing this project with The Home Depot’s help has made me realize some things that need periodic realizing, if you know what I mean.
Mostly, the I needed the reminder that stuff is just stuff. Most things can be replaced and those that can’t…well, at least you got to enjoy them for a spell.
It’s funny, the day I went into the Depot with the $150 gift card that they had given me to help me fix up my garage, I honestly felt kind of strange. Here I am, a dude being able to pick out some fine new things, cool steel shelves/a shiny new screw and nail chest /some handy tool storage bins, and not having to pay a dime for them, while at least a few other guys/girls walking around the store were probably eyeballing things they wish they could take home to their own personal secret hide-outs, but just couldn’t afford to make it happen that day.
I’ve been there. I’ve been busted and broke, and so I know how that feels. And that afternoon in the store I felt sort of odd, getting something for free.
The irony of it all though is that somewhere in the next county over, someone else had a bunch of things that they had gotten for free too, my things, or stuff that used to be mine. And I didn’t even realize it at the time. But now that I do know what was all going down, in retrospect, I’ve come to see that what matters here the most is that I still have a place I can go to, a hideaway/man-cave/garage, whatever you want to call it, and it’s really an important part of my life. So, I feel fortunate about that
In the end, I gained some brand new things thanks to The Home Depot. And yeah, I lost some pretty wonderful things thanks to some doofus sneaking around out there in the nighttime shadows.
Yet, the wheel keeps spinning, buddy. Life plows onward. Stuff, it comes and stuff, it goes.
I’m still standing, no worse for the wear, and I’m still pretty damn excited to tell you how this garage project of mine has turned out after all.
So stay tuned for Part 4, The Final Chapter…
See Parts One and Two of this series here: