Monday, April 23, 2007

Once a pack rat ....

I don’t know if it was the influence of all those TLC shows where the professionals come in to help you reduce and get organized, or just the reality that we were downsizing to a house that was half the square footage and no garage, but whatever the reason, I was brutal in my determination to not move anything I would no longer need. And since we’d been accumulating stuff in that house for 16 years, it meant there was a lot that had to go.

The garage and basement were my playgrounds, so I got the pleasure of cleaning those out of anything that: a) was broken; b) we didn’t use; or c) just wouldn’t fit in the new place. Now I must confess to being a bit of a pack-rat as I rarely throw anything out because I know as soon as I do, I’ll need it for something, so there was a lot to go through. But I bit the bullet and started the cleanup. It was amazing what I uncovered as I burrowed into the back corners of the basement and garage: a 16mm film projector circa 1950 that still made whirring noises, but for which I had no spools and no films; hand made specialty tools for any one of the twenty or so motorcycles I’d owned but for which particular bike I had no idea; several hundred small scraps of various exotic and common hardwoods, none of which were big enough to be anything but kindling; maintenance manuals for every car I’d ever owned or worked on; power tools that had the guts hanging out or were otherwise defunct; used parts from said collection of motorcycles; etc.; etc. Excruciating decisions had to be made whether to keep all 23 v-belts in case the one on my drill press ever had to be replaced, or what to do with the curtain rods that we’d moved from our last house just in case they were needed but which were still stashed between the floor joists with 16 years of accumulated dust on them. It was agonizing work, but after several days and many beers the deed was done and we had one huge pile of good trash to dispose of.

And right on the top of that pile – I remember it clearly – was the original shop manual for the 1972 Honda TL125 trials bike that I had owned back in the mid-90s. I no longer had that motorcycle and I had already shifted my spare parts inventory to someone else, so I had no use for the manual. Out it went.

Fast forward 18 months. We’re now in our new home and the property is ideal for trials riding – lots of rocks, hills, swamps and muddy creeks – and that’s just the driveway! So I get to thinking I should see if I can pick up a decent little trials bike for a few bucks – cosmetics unimportant as long as it runs. The word goes out and some time later the call comes in – there’s a guy who’s had an old trials bike (3 actually) in his basement for 15 years. Two are spoken for but number three is still available. It’s a bit battered but seems to be a good runner, and the price is right – just what I’m looking for. So I’m now the proud owner of a – you guessed it – 1972 Honda TL 125 trials bike.

And it didn’t come with a manual!

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