The Building We Don't Go In
Updated: Jun 15
[Note: My English, in one instance, has been ruthlessly corrected for this post by Tori Crawford and Anna Richardson, though not proofread, meaning that I am still on the hook for errors that remain in this text. I wanted to put this in tiny print at the end, but have been informed that it must precede the article. I suspect I'm being jacked around, but the one thing they know for certain is that I, for certain, don't know.]
When we moved to Halfway our new home was mostly empty, as even an old new home should probably be, when one moves in. But there was ample stuff in the garage and other various outbuildings to placate any sense of having been robbed of good adventure. We thought it would be sort of fun to poke through whatever the previous owners found too useless to take with them, and too burdensome to throw away. There were old broken fishing poles and busted up aluminum lawn chairs, a TV antenna for the TV we neither had, nor wanted, and though I don’t remember what they were, there were a few things we thought might someday be useful. The thirty or forty cheap, unfinished mobile home cabinet doors seemed too precious to throw away, though eventually not too precious to use as kindling. There were lots of old tires and windows. Just junk, really.
But there was one building that had a great gob of stuff in it. It almost seemed to us as if, in the process of moving, the previous owners had forgotten that they even had this building.
We called it the Green Building, for reasons that I’m hoping the intelligent readers of my blog can figure out on their own. (Okay, for Chad’s sake, because it is green.) Interestingly, or perhaps not, we didn’t really go through the stuff in the Green Building. We just started putting our own stuff in on top of what was already there! We had several old feather beds that we’d found in our newlywed house. They went in, and seemed to fit nicely with the spirit of the building’s contents. We had old torn backpacks and gunny sacks, old bedrolls, couch cushions, and cardboard barrels full of coats and clothes we never wanted to wear, or see again, but feared some day we might, in fact, need, after the Mad Max invasion. We had barrels of wool that were intended to be used in making felt, but it was of inferior quality for that purpose, so it needed to be stored in an inferior sort of way. We had high-chairs and baby walkers, but no real babies, so they went in there.
After perhaps three years, we just quit going into the Green Building. There was nothing in there that we wanted, and there wasn’t room to put anything more in it that we didn’t. Over the next several years, we quit calling it the Green Building, and started referring to it as “The Building We Don’t Go In”. Once in a while, we would be asking one another where something or other had gone off to, and the other would say, “I think it is in the building we don’t go in”. Then a brief shudder of revulsion, and of course, end of conversation. That would be that! We might never know for sure!
But even awful things, (like this pandemic), sometimes come to an end. One bright day, a few years back, I woke up with a stupider than normal grin on my face, and declared, “I’m going to empty The Building We Don’t Go In!”
Tori was mortified, of course! “How can you do that?” She said. “We don’t go in there!”
“But I have a plan!”, I said! So I jacked up the building, and slid an old axle under it, such that I could pull it like a trailer, with our tractor. I thought that if I turned it around, and put it somewhere else, such that the ever-optimistic light of the morning sun would shine into it with the door ajar, I might gather up enough courage to fully open that door, and maybe go in!
With the door now facing east, it indeed started seeming like a building with purpose! A place where, but for the circumstances, one could put things! And one bright fine morning, I opened that door! I didn’t go in, because I couldn’t go in. There was no floor space. So I backed the pickup up to the doorway, and started chucking anything and everything, as I could reach it. Soon we could go inside, and chuck more stuff! We completely filled our pickup with junk! Enough for a $26.00 dump run! Along with the normal junk, we had been storing an unidentified mummy of an animal, perhaps a raccoon, a great pile of dead kittens and a few cats, lots of dead mice, hundreds of
thousands of dead yellow-jackets and an old hornet nest as big as a basketball! I think Tori and I both thought that we had at least some stuff in The Building We Don’t Go In that we wanted, but the only things we kept were the baby walker and some empty barrels, and I don’t know why we kept them.
I set the building on concrete blocks. I took the old leaky roof and rotted rafters off, and replaced them with a new weather-resistant roof. I filled in all the gaps between the rafters to keep mother cats and mice from entering, and having their babies inside. I put screened vent holes in the bird blocking, and made a nice tidy little shed of it! We call it the Green Building! (Yes, Chad, same reason.)
Now we have a shed that we have been steadily filling with stuff we don’t really want, but don’t feel like throwing away. My old letterman’s jacket is in there, I think. We have a few camping things in there, if memory serves me. I don’t really know. But last summer, every evening, when the wind would shift down-slope, we would smell a skunk. One or two such evenings would seem normal enough, but every evening for months on end? Sometimes I’m
like Chad, a bit slow to get the picture, but as the months wore on, it dawned on me…. We don’t have a bad tempered skunk coming around and spraying his grievances every night! We have a dead skunk. Under the Green Building! When the stink reintroduced itself this spring, fainter, but in the same vicinity, as the evening breeze shifts, I’m sure of it. But I guess it’s alright. You have to sniff pretty intentionally to smell it. And besides, I don’t much go in there. Neither does Tori.