Seeking practical, finding poignant

The latch on the door to the cabinet where I keep my kitchen garbage needs repair. It won't stay closed. And though I know it won't stay closed without me fiddling and finagling the broken latch to keep it shut, I open the darn thing each time I need to throw something away.

With Jim still as broken as the door — hobbling about on crutches and currently unable to help with even the smallest home repair — I'm determined to fix the thing myself.

"Why don't you just switch the garbage to the other side?" one of my daughters asked... after she'd opened it when I warned her not to as I had just finagled the thing shut... again.

It doesn't work that way, I told her. I've opened that door a billion times to throw something away. Moving the garbage can to the other side won't change my habit of opening the current side. I have no doubt I would still open the darn broken door out of habit, still have to fiddle and finagle the door to stay shut.

The other night I told Jim I was going to run to Lowe's to get a new latch. "Don't!" he said. "I'm pretty sure I have another in the garage, in one of those drawers."

Unable to go through any of "those drawers" himself, I headed out to the garage yesterday morning to look for the spare cabinet latch.

After an hour or so, I came back with this:

three happy dogs 

A picture of my sweet Moses (left) and Mickey (right) along with Hunter, Brianna's dog who lived with us when we first moved to this house. All three dogs were happy as could be that day nearly nine years ago, long before Moses passed away and Hunter moved out.

How did I go from seeking a latch to finding a photo?

If you're anything like me — and have a garage anything like mine — you likely don't even question such a result. You get that after picking through drawers of nuts and screws and nails and emery boards (?) and hammers and bolts and bits that fit funky tools I've never seen Jim use in search of the extra latch, I got sidetracked by what was on top of those drawers: a counter filled with empty windshield wiper fluid bottles and empty plastic bags and empty packages that once held screws and nails now scattered about those drawers of do-it-yourselfer detritus.

I gathered the gunk from the counter to take out to the big green recycle bin. As I dropped the goods in the bin, I saw on the bin label that empty aerosol cans can be dropped in there, too.

What? I had always assumed aerosol cans were unacceptable and dangerous recyclables according to the recycle rules. Which meant several empty spray paint cans from years of spraying crafty things lined the garage counter top along with other "unacceptable" crud, waiting for us to participate in our county's annual "we take all your paint cans, electronic parts, unused prescription medications and more" drive in exchange for canned food donations. A drive we inevitably miss every darn year and hear about on the news after the fact.

So I gathered the empty spray paint cans and carried them to the recycle bin.

As I walked back into the garage from the driveway where the recycle and garbage bins sit, I noticed another garage shelf that held miscellaneous muck Jim plopped there a couple years ago after an accident totaled our Explorer. At the time, he had to remove all personal items from the vehicle being towed and hurriedly set them on the shelf. And forgot about them. I'm talking CDs, cassettes (honest), emery boards (?), old keys, old pens, old business cards from now-closed businesses, bank deposit slips, old registrations, and 15 years of automotive repair records previously kept in the glove compartment. Plus the leather-bound manual for that 1998 Ford Explorer I loved and lost without bidding it farewell, as Jim's unfortunate collision with a tree took place while I was in the desert with my grandsons.

I decided to clean up the pile. I'd take the CDs inside (cassettes, too) and everything else would be pitched as garbage or recyclable, accordingly.

Now, Jim likes to hide dollar bills and printed quotes and pictures and cards and whatever else might spark his fancy in books. Why, I can't tell ya. But I learned early in our marriage that before I donate books or lend printed materials of any sort to friends or family, I must first rifle through them to rescue long-forgotten treasures I might mistakenly give away.

It was in rifling through that Ford Explorer manual that I came across Moses and Mickey and Hunter, happy as can be. Nine years ago. Before Moses passed, before Hunter moved out with Mommy Brianna, before Mickey aged and had days he was unable to go on his daily walk (as was the case yesterday, which is why I had time to kill searching for the cabinet latch).

I smiled at the sweet photo of the three silly dogs and stuck it in my pocket. I pitched the pile of old stuff that no longer mattered into the bins, took the CDs (and cassettes) inside because they still did.

As does the poignant picture Jim had filed away for safekeeping. Or to elicit a grin when searching for answers to why an engine light won't go off or what bulbs to buy to replace a light that won't go on.

I didn't find a latch, but finding that photo deemed my search a success.

Though I also found myself right back where I began: needing to head to Lowe's for a cabinet latch.

Which I'll do tomorrow — avoiding nary a glance at any remaining recyclables sitting upon my garage shelves.

Today's question:

What in your garage might await the recycle (or garbage) bin?