ben vandgrift · on living the dream


"a tool for every job" andrew would say.

"a job for every tool" i always add.

cleaning up the garage—not a trivial feat.

i have three tool boxes. one reasonably small, and two even smaller. one of the smaller boxes is for 'parts of tools', drill bits, saw blades, pieces of screwdriver and the like, the other for electrical tools and supplies. the main box is for 'everything else'. this includes everything which will fit in there that is actually a tool and excludes the sea of detritus not tool-related. there are quite a few things that won't fit—pry bars, saws, caulking guns, miter boxes, and other things taking up space on my shelf. i'm considering constructing some sort of extradimensional space for these.

to give you an idea of the number and variance of tools i am trying to arrange, let us consider only one category: the saw. i have two pruning saws, a hacksaw, a mini-hacksaw, a jeweler's saw, a coping saw, a good old carpenter's saw, a hand-miter saw (with box), a circular saw, a jigsaw, and a compound-miter cross-cut saw. these are just the ones i can think of off the top of my head. incidentally, the only one which fits in the toolbox is the minihack. i could perform a similar feat with almost every category of tool—there's just too many. i've needed all of them at one time or another, and can go into great and suicidally boring detail about their use.

the problem? i hate throwing something away. some time ago i bought a sink stopper that is the wrong size. this ended up in the main toolbox. when sorting through it today, i actually thought "someday i might move into a house with this size sink." i put it back into the pile. this is the level of insanity you're looking at. i have an entire pile of bike-related gear, even though my bike was stolen two years ago. i'm in need of one of those big scary tool chests with a drawer for every conceivable purpose. getting a chest like that won't matter, though, as junk expands to fill all available storage space. i recall moving from the townhouse to the casa ben proper, a house with easily three times the kitchen space as the townhouse, and not having room for all the kitchen gear in the cabinets.

i also, apparently, need a 'parts box', something to hold the pieces of outlets, switch plates, hinges, door handles, locks, and other fixtures that slowly accrue as i replace crappy old parts with newer ones. why don't i throw this crap away? this might be a good time to ask my dad. he is currently constructing a third garage to hold all the junk he keeps around. he's worse than me in that he actually goes out to yard sales to look for more junk. in addition to the tools and god knows what else,he has two trucks, a dump truck, two cars, and a jeep, without taking into account all of the lawn equipment. all in all, that i only have the back of a garage and an outbuilding full of stuff, most of which is actually at least tool-like, is something of an achievement. i am, of course, only thirty.

give me time.

i picked up my shovel
and went to the mine

written: Aug 17 2005