Nothing is quite so comforting during hurricane season as a garage full of plywood. But when hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, a plywood stack can be an unwelcome guest.
Plywood takes up a lot of space. Plywood becomes a habitat for very large spiders and cockroaches, which often choose the moment you step from your car in the dim light to scamper up your pant legs.
Of course, intelligent Floridians will keep the plywood no matter how inconvenient. After all, hurricane season returns every June, and nobody who's sane wants to stand in line at the hardware store for 10 hours ever, ever again.
Still, not everybody is a pessimist. Not everyone wants to stumble over that mountainous plywood pile for the months ahead.
Here are a few carefully thought-out suggestions for recycling garage-cluttering, ankle-breaking, roach-harboring storm shutters.
1. If you busted your budget buying expensive plywood at Home Depot, your family may be in for a low-budget Christmas. Handy folks with cool power tools might build old-fashioned toys _ dolls, tops, yo-yos _ out of the wood. Give that spoiled, geeky nephew a wooden Game Boy.
2. Speaking of rotten kids, if we are threatened by another hurricane, remove shutters from windows and use them to construct a modest "pen" or jail cell. Next time a school day is canceled, sentence the little darlings to timeout in the homemade gulag!
3. Nerf b-ballers, this is for you: Build yourself a real basketball court. Re-create the old Boston Gardens and its wonderful parquet floor.
4. If you live next to one of those overflowing rivers, construct an ark, rowboat or raft. Huck Finn, welcome to the Hurricane State!
5. Start a baseball bat factory. Who needs Louisville Sluggers when you can swing for the fences with a Florida Wonderboy? Note to Lou Piniella: discount for the Devil Rays.
6. New hockey sticks for the Lightning. For the Bucs, cut plywood into long, straight boards. Insert long, straight boards into backs of jerseys. With that porous offensive line, quarterback Brad Johnson more than anyone will need to stiffen his spine.
7. Donate unwanted hurricane shutters to Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway construction crews who are trying to shore up pilings sinking into what apparently is quicksand.
8. Grind up plywood. Pour sawdust into oatmeal box. After hurricane season is history and your digestive system returns to normal, you may require extra fiber in the morning for the sake of regularity.
9. Build funky furniture. Psychiatrists all over Florida will need new couches for hurricane-stressed patients.
10. Nothing is tastier than a big, fat mullet roasted over a fire on a plywood plank.
11. Don't own waterfront property? Now's the chance to build a beachfront, plywood lean-to!
12. Large box to bury the nagging spouse who wouldn't let up about building hurricane shutters and is now complaining about all the plywood junking up the garage.
Jeff Klinkenberg can be reached at (727) 893-8727 or klinksptimes.com.