My family and I are downsizing… We’re selling our current home, the one we’ve lived in the past 16, 17 years--- a personal record so far ---the only house my youngest son has ever known. The move has, so far, been monumental, life changing, herculean task with, seemingly, no end in site.
Our current house is fairly large. It’s not the biggest place on the block, not a McMansion but it’s big. Our new place is what Zillow would describe as “modest,” pretty much literally half the size. It’s a rental, we haven’t found that next perfect spot. I keep trying to think of it as a pause between life events, an intermission between acts.
But no matter how you slice it, it’s still downsizing. It’s still sifting through everything I own, bits and pieces of my life.
1. I accumulated a lot of crap in 17 years… A LOT of crap. More if you count the years before that, three or four moves so far. It’s not hoarder level but I’ve been dragging some of this crap along with me from as far back as when it was at my dad’s house. A big parade of crap…
2. Everyone involved in our move has an opinion about how to do it. When your kids are older, like mine, they have opinions, too. And they are not shy about expressing that opinion. Loudly. Often. And in front of our new neighbors or the cable guy.
3. The stress of so many opinions eventually makes my heart do things it’s never done before. Things like making it go: “ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP, paaaaause…” “ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP, ka-THUMP, paaaaause…”
4. Even after some serious purging and consolidating and three loaded-down trips to Goodwill, we still have too much CRAP!
5. After an entire day of clearing out the garage: sorting through shovels, rakes, flowerpots, sleds, bags of potting soil and loading them into a U-Haul… there’s no such thing as the “good” kind of tired.
6. The next time I decide to construct a 112-square foot HO scale train layout in the tight quarters of a 5-foot tall crawlspace for my sons, I hope someone seriously smacks me! It’s like those tiny ships people used to shove into tiny bottles--- except they never have to pull them out again.
7. No one should get to the point in their lives where they need to move firewood!
8. We owned waaaay too many cellphones over the years. It’s obscene how much technology is rotting in landfills because if my family and me. I found six or seven of them in a drawer, piled on top of each other, like paperclips. That’s not even half as many was we went through. None of them were smart phones, no Wi-Fi, none of them would work with current cell carriers. I guess I was saving them for something.
8B. Same goes for Walkmen, Discmen, iPods, floppy disk drives, zip disk drives, headphones, microphones, iMacs, video cameras, analog TVs, VHS players, and a Betamax. Stuff that was really cool and cutting edge for about six months, a year or two on the outside and then we moved on.
9. I have a weird, emotional attachment to the crap I owned. Letting go of my reel-to-reel tape recorder, the old school machines swanky bachelors had in 60s movies, was like putting down the family dog.
I looked at it longingly as I let the recycling guy take it away and throw it the heap with the rest of the outdated technology. “I hate to see you go, old sport…” It took me through a lot of adventures, that tape deck. I recorded bits with my comedy group that Jonathon Brandmeier made popular on his show. Joe, the Love Potato. Edie, the Breakfast Fairy. When we got a 2-hour show of our own on WLUP, I recorded it on The Ol’ Girl.
The problem was, it didn’t work anymore and I couldn’t find anyone to fix it. I asked a few people if they might want it but no one volunteered. So out to pasture she went.
I still have waaaay too much crap… but, hey, if I get rid of everything, what’re my kids going to go through when they ship me off the assisted living?
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