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  • Dear Pippo,

    I hope this letter finds you well and free of rips in your seams. I am fine.

    One of our faithful readers (no, not that one, the other one) matter-of-factly stated that we had mentioned Dolly Parton's name in the last two postings. I assured this reader that I do not have a Dolly fixation, and I would suppose that you do not either. It was only coincidence that both postings played well with a DP reference (Dolly, not Dr. Pepper). I have promised that I would work hard to curb the Dolly references. This person said, "If you keep talkin' about Dolly, I'm a-partin'."

    I've been trying to decide if I am going to buy a portable storage building.

    It's not that I don't have a storage building on the campus where we live. But before I had the free storage unit, my stuff was in a pay-per-month storage facility. I am amazed at the number of storage buildings going up everywhere I go. We, as a cultural community, are storing ourselves into bankruptcy. I had a good excuse to have one a few years ago. My wife and I married and combined two households into one house. We needed time to sort through the things we were going to get rid of, give to the kids, or integrate into our blended Abode of Bliss. However, like most folks, it was more convenient to keep stuff than get rid of it. Notice, dear Pippo, that I said more convenient--not more cost effective.

    The last storage building we rented we kept for two and a half years. When we moved out of it, I realized that we had paid $50 x 30 months ($1500 to us who are not math whizzes) for a 10 x 10 room full of stuff that wouldn't bring $45 at a yard sale. Unlike the TV reality series, there were no antique guns, high dollar jewelry, or classic cars stored in our unit. There was, however, a trash bag of Beanie Babies (the irony of that statement is not lost), a box of bed linens (a perfect winter homeland for various rodents who require a pillow, blanket, pillow shams, and sheets for king siz....Hey! We don't even HAVE king size bed anymore!), an Early American style kitchen chair, and several boxes of "treasures" from our children's dressers and cabinets (such as broken Happy Meal prizes, empty gum cartons, spent .22 rifle casings, broken pocket knives, and a myriad of cologne bottles that were used to camouflage, not enhance odors.)

    Imagine my surprise when I came across a box of rocks. Yes, I said rocks. Not arrowheads, not flint rocks, not granite, not semiprecious stones, not even Arkansas diamonds or fools gold. Just rocks. Plain ole' ordinary backyard rocks. The kind you threw at the stray cat you caught in the act of befouling your mother's rose garden. The only justification for keeping a box of rocks would be in case someone says, "That guy is as dumb as a box of rocks!" and we can rush to the storage building, grab the box...and compare. Or perhaps if you are staging a factual reenactment of the story of David and Goliath (we have enough rocks in the box to do several "takes"). That's it. That's the only justifications I can think of. And yet we keep them...

    So, even though I have a storage building on the campus a few hundred yards from the house, I am now considering moving in a portable building. Of course it could be argued that a portable building only makes it easier for someone to steal your stuff. Just load the building on a trailer and haul it off (which, if it housed all of the things mentioned in the previous paragraphs, might be beneficial).

    I intend to put all of my important stuff in this building. This would include my rolling toolbox which contains 8 drawers of tools. The Wife says, "What do you do with all those tools? All I ever see you use is a hacksaw, a screwdriver, a hammer, and a Crescent wrench." (Ok, she didn't really say "crescent wrench". It was more like, "that silver tool with the little rollie thingy in it for those bolt thingies."--But I KNOW she was talking about a Crescent wrench.) She is so wrong. She left out my two favorite tools--the bubble laser level and the measuring tape--a 25 ft. tape. The 25 ft. tape is the equivalent of the western Colt .45 Peacemaker. Real men carry them and aren't afraid to use them. And the laser level...well,...heck, IT'S A LASER! What other tool could be that cool?

    But I digress.

    In this storage building I am considering, I also would put my industrial duty metal shelves that I bought from a bankrupt car dealership. I don't own anything industrial, but the shelving (in cool Army olive drab color) is tangible proof that I have important stuff to store in an orderly fashion. Where else could I put my collection of 1/4 full spray paint cans in colors that can't be bought any more? Where would I put my spring collection (both compression and tension springs for you spring fanatics)? What about my three automotive drop lights (even though it's been a couple of years since I even remotely considered doing anything to a car that required lighting)? I have three large rolls of commercial paper towels to store in the shelves--you never know when you might have an industrial level spill that needs mopping up.

    And then there is the extension cords. I have to have a place to store my extension cord collection. My dad taught me, "You can never have enough extension cords." I'm not saying I have an extension cord fetish, but if I hooked all of my extension cords end to end they would probably reach all the way across Beautiful Downtown Cherokee--both city blocks!

    It's a foregone conclusion that I also must have room for my shop vacuum. I admit that at one time I had four of them. But I got rid of one and one died. The funeral was very touching. Don't ask me about it--I get teary. I don't require much of a shop vac. If it will pick up a horseshoe and hold it, I'm okay.

    Time and space fail me to mention my chainsaw with no chain, my seven gas cans, a 50 ft air hose (even though I no longer have an air compressor), my two shovels with the broken handles, and my battery charger that can jump start the space shuttle.

    You now have my plan for the storage building. I'm sure The Wife is hoping she can store old picture frames, Easter baskets, and boxes of retired knick-knacks in this building. She's kidding herself.

    Perhaps you and I should put a roll away bed in it, though...just to have a backup plan.

    Now if I only had that $1500 of rent money to pay down on the building...


    W. D. Fordy and his band, The Plumbers' Helpers
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