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What do you get when you cross an organization freak with a man’s beloved workshop? A battle of wills.

For years, I’ve been asking (nagging, from his point of view) H to clean up the disaster zone in the basement, otherwise known as his workshop. Piles of paint cans, step ladders and assorted implements of destruction grew from unsightly to hazardous.

H: “Yea, I have to go through it.”

Translation: “No.”

He did not actually refuse outright, so I held on to hope with cautious optimism that the little shop of horrors might actually look like a workshop some day rather than Grey Gardens.

Alas, the day arrived that he agreed to get started by going through decades of paint cans to assess what’s empty, dried up and potentially usable. After we disposed of empty or useless paint, and found a home on shelves for the survivors, I was revved up to tackle the boxes, bags and cans of…stuff.

H: “Just leave it.”

Me: “Why? We got a good start. Let’s keep the momentum going.”

H: “It’s my domain and I have to go through it.”

Me: “Yes. That’s what why we’re here – to go through it.”

H: “Just leave it.”

Me: “It’s an opportune moment to get this done. A Sunday with no plans. Cool basement on a hot day.”

H: “I’ll get to it.”

Yea, sure. So we sort of compromised. He sat while I lifted, sorted and presented each box, bag and can of nails, picture hooks, tools, used paintbrushes and sandpaper, and unopened items purchased and long forgotten. All I needed was yay or nay to keep, trash or recycle. Several huge trash bags and countless dust rags later, the formidable task was accomplished.

The battle was worse than the task. What is it with men and their workshops?