Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, October 18, 2019

Four Things That Happened in the Garage

As I mentioned last week, I've been chipping away at a post-move wall of boxes in our garage during (part of one of) the wee hours in order to beat the Florida heat. I have been very happy with the progress and the end of that tunnel is surprisingly close. Here are four side-benefits, of varying degrees of importance and in no particular order.

1. The task requires some occasional focus, but my mind is free to wander. This has led me to notice two things I can use.

First, since I am doing this task piecemeal, my subconscious works on it while I am doing other things. I have had several very good ideas on how to do this task and organize the house that I don't think I would have had otherwise, if I tried doing it in big chunks. Doing other large tasks might benefit from this approach, and I now have something to try the next time I hit a wall on one.

Second, the non-demanding (but not brain-dead) mental nature of this project provides time and opportunity to think, which reminds me of what Alex Epstein called altitude in one of his human flourishing project podcasts. I have gotten some good thinking done regarding both a good problem I currently have and a difficult circumstance I will soon face.

In other words, I'm getting the benefit of my slow-working subsconscious for this job and others. I am also getting extra time to focus on other problems while I do this.

If I do take up home brewing again, I'll look into kegging rather than bottling. I had inconsistent results with bottles. Feedback from any experienced home brewers out there is welcome...(Image by Adam Wilson, via Unsplash, license.)
I am now thinking about incorporating more of that kind of project regularly into my schedule. A couple of old hobbies of mine -- home brewing and model railroading -- strike me as possible candidates that could take up the slack when I don't have something I need to do, like the task I am doing now.

2. My son asked the other day about his huge teddy bear. I found it this morning and I am looking forward to his reaction when he finds it sitting on the couch after he wakes up.

3. Part of living in Florida is having to be prepared for hurricanes. I have had several good ideas for doing this while plowing through the boxes. For example, I (once again) found several (more) bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. Here we go again, I thought, Where am I going to put this? Almost instantly, I realized I could put the newest sunscreen into our hurricane supplies and use our oldest -- this batch -- first. Whenever we need another bottle of sunscreen, I can get it from the hurricane supplies and put sunscreen on the shopping list, to replace what we just took from that reserve.

This means we won't get caught without sunscreen at home and I won't have to worry about old sunscreen should we need it when it is hard or impossible to buy it new.

4. My wife and I are both former academic scientists. This means we have a fair number of old boxes with papers. Most of this can go, but needs sorting. My wife has little time for this, but I have thought of a solution that also translates well to the biggest headache, which is the bulk of the kids' toy collection. I call it staged sorting.

Using the papers as an example, I don't know what my wife will regard as important enough to keep or discard. But there are clear categories of things in her boxes and I do know enough to be able classify those things. (I'll make sure with her that I am correct.) So I can get the boxes through a preliminary sort. Then my wife can do the part I can't do later, when she has the time.

-- CAV

P.S. I had another great idea while hunting for images. Our house is new, and so follows a recent fad for very high ceilings. I just realized I could have a handyman install some very high shelving in our laundry room to make use of some of the wasted space in there.

It's my blog: I'll think out loud if I want to...


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

For some reason your last comment conjured up a song by Lesley Gore. And then word association took me to Tom Hanks in "A League of Their Own".

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


I intended the first as a joke; but I have never seen the Hanks movie, so whether the joke was better than intended (or whatever else) is an accident.