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The Modern Dad’s Cleanse: Basement Storage, Baby Dolls and Tea Cups

We guys just need to have our own space. I’m not talking about alone time here, but that is important too. I am talking about our own physical space in the house that is ours to manage or just simply enjoy! It’s good for the marriage.

Some have a man cave in the garage or the basement; that’s not me. I have my own storage area. Well not really my own, but I have chosen to be in charge of that space, that is until this last weekend.

On a cold, blowing snow day, my wife and I had different plans. As I envisioned sleeping in a little longer and avoiding the morning rush, she boldly announced, “We are going to clean out the storage room.” This project has been on HER to do list, but it was MY space.

I accused her of being the only one to enjoy this idea, but secretly I knew it was a well overdue project. After all, this was my space that I had loosely organized in my own way -- okay it was not organized.

I value my marriage more than my storage area, and I decided this was not where I would draw the line in the sand. The day started out fine as we found photos of treasured memories, as well as lots coats that no one could wear and broken items that weren’t good for anyone. I was gaining confidence as we worked together for a few hours, but that confidence was shaken soon enough.

I heard my wife’s voice from the bowels of the storage area: “What’s up with all these baby dolls shoved in a bag?”

To which I respond, “Remember, when the kids outgrew them and you wanted them out of their rooms, but you were not sure if we should save them for grandkids.”

At this point, she spoke in a more stern voice with a hint of irritation, “So, that’s how you dealt with it – shoved them in a bag, in a corner, not even in a storage container? (I mean really, why did she have to repeat the obvious.)

I should have made up something cleaver, but I was honest in the comfort of my familiar man space, and told her I didn’t care about baby dolls. After more than 23 years of accumulation and marital experience, why did I make such a rookie mistake -- giving an honest answer to her direct question and not interpreting this could have been a loaded question about more than baby dolls?

It went downhill from there. Once my wife crossed the storage room threshold, the floodgates opened and I hadn’t even been drinking any beer. She found three deep, dish sized moving boxes that had not been opened since we move in, over 11 years ago. Again, I heard a muffled voice, bouncing off the packing paper as she talked into the box, “Didn’t you say a few yeas ago that your grandma’s china tea cups and silver were all gone?”

At that point I froze, no longer finding any comfort in what used to be my man space, a place where I could just throw stuff in and not worry if or when it surfaced again. It was once my space of “why handle today, when there is more fun stuff to do.” It was my place for “there is always tomorrow to deal with this mess.”

In silence she pulled out teacup after teacup. Now grandma’s favorite china sets and silver are on a visible table in the basement, and I know that my wife is wondering waiting to see what I decide to do with it all.

After donating or selling other stuff or storing “keepers” properly, I agreed the basement cleanse was a good idea. Next time my wife mentions cleanse, however, I will quickly change the subject and get out the kale and body-cleanse diet book. I think that will be less painful in the long run.

To hear of more of Mike’s commentary, pre-order ZagZig Parenting The Official book launch date is April 25.

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