My poor car. It got ousted from the garage in September 2015 to make room for overflow from our home reconstruction project. Would it ever find its way back in?
Those many months of sitting on the driveway under dawn-to-dusk sun were brutal. At the outset, the paint job on the hood was beginning to fail. More recently, the hood resembled a planetarium depiction of the swirling Milky Way.
Cheryl and I had not drawn straws to determine whose car would get ousted for the duration of the project. There was no way Cheryl would allow her still-shiny Prius to be thrown to the wolves while my 16-year-old, sun-scarred jalopy luxuriated indoors.
I didn’t disagree. One car had to be sacrificed.
It took practically no time to fill my Honda’s garage space with stuff. Kitchen chairs, the old dishwasher and refrigerator, a new sink and light fixtures. And boxes, boxes, boxes.
The Courtneys had seemingly cornered the box market.
With every passing month, the heap in my bay grew taller, denser. Any random thing that didn’t have a permanent home ended up there. Old fluorescent tubes. Paint supplies. Samples of wood flooring. Acid for the pool.
The mass became so dense that our cats could no longer reach their cat bed. Or maybe they still could, but no longer liked what was happening to the neighborhood. In any case, they abandoned the garage.
In situations such as this, many car owners give up. Once clutter has established a beachhead in their parking spot, there’s no budging it. Temporary storage becomes permanent. Vehicles must fend for themselves outdoors. Forever.
I wasn’t willing to make that concession. While having a garaged car isn’t as essential as indoor plumbing, it’s pretty sweet. In the garage, no dew forms on the windshield overnight. There’s no frost in winter, no having to lock and unlock. Your car is always dry, always ready to go.
An outdoor car is the flip of all that. On dark mornings, just finding the keyhole is an exercise in Braille-like finger exploration.
Our new home addition went live on Thanksgiving morning when Cheryl fired things up and cooked a turkey. In the following days she spent untold hours setting up her new kitchen and anguishing over the clashing colors of our old living room furniture.
Ahem. What about my car?
We made a deal. We wouldn’t complete our move back into the house — specifically, back to our old bedroom — until the Honda had been resheltered.
Put another way: We would continue sleeping in the garage attic as long as the Honda was sleeping in the driveway.
Soon after, Cheryl had some good news. This is your Honda’s day, she said at Saturday breakfast.
Deconstructing the heap took two days. We filled the Honda’s trunk with donations to Community Projects. I ripped up untold cardboard boxes for recycling. Cheryl single-handedly stacked two bikes, secured by bungees, atop six-foot shelving, then bolted a cabinet from her old kitchen to the garage wall for more storage. With an axe, I chopped a child’s crib that no longer met safety standards to splinters.
Some objects I found worthless and would have tossed. Disagreeing, Cheryl dragged them to her side of the garage where they could snuggle up against the Prius.
At the end of the second day, it was time for a test park. Proceeding ever so slowly, I inched my Honda into my newly excavated parking bay, with less than 18 inches of clearance on the right and none in front where my grille bumped up against a mattress.
We fit. Barely.