D-day minus two

Serious chaos in the house today.

There are 18 bags of trash at the curb. 

Stuff designated for the Moving Sale occupies one-quarter of the basement.  In the cellar, we chose which basic tools we plan to take and consolidated them into one toolbox and one toolbag.  We don’t plan to buy a house that needs moulding installed, so we didn’t pack the coping saw; we plan to buy a house with excellent wiring, so the fishtape got put aside; our new house will not require major plumbing work, so the ancestral wrenches were given away.

Okay, we may in fact buy a house that needs some or all these things, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.  What’s important is that there’s  not much from our basement that is coming with us; unfortunately, much of it is still down  there.  But we both know what’s staying, what’s going and what’s for sale.  

Ditto on the first and second floor of the house.  We’ve weeded out every room.  One room serves as the repository for the moving sale; the rest of the house may look like it’s been in a category 4 hurricane, but there’s order in that disorder.  Really.

We almost lost all sense of order cleaning out the computer room.  I opened the file cabinet sometime yesterday afternoon and began culling.  What’s the rule on income taxes?  Keep the records for five years?  Then I guess I really don’t need the complete files, with receipts, from 1994 on.  Probably don’t need the papers detailing our medical insurance claims from previous years either.  Or the bank statements, 401K statements, maintenance records from autos we no longer owned, or vet records dating back to the turn of the century.   I pulled the files apart, setting aside those papers that needed shredding.  By dinner, that pile rose about a foot and a half.

After dinner, Mr. NYer began shredding as I continued culling.  After some time, I noticed that he could no longer turn his neck, so I offered to step in and shred.  It’s a tedious job, and it brings with it a degree of back ache.  Not to mention the dust, the confetti, and, of course, the increasing static charge with each emptying of the bin.

At some point I broke the shredder.  I would like to go on record and say that I believe the damage began during his stint, when a jam produced obvious strain on the motor along with a distinct odor of seething machinery.  As luck  would have it, I successfully cleared that jam and then produced a fine mess of my own.   Going at it with needle-nosed pliers and letter opener, I cleared the jam, but the cutting disks no longer turned, and a strange clicking noise signaled that the shredder was kaput.

Today we got a new shredder and dispatched the rest of the confidential papers.    A bit more weeding, and I decided enough was enough.

Tomorrow I begin my packing.  I’ll go through my dresser and closet and divide into three categories:  take now; leave for the movers; give away.  Maybe a fourth: throw away. 

I’m not really at ease about the house.  I had wanted to leave it so that Mr. NYer didn’t have to do anything else.  He’s got his hands full still working, runnning back and forth to the nursing home to which his Dad recently moved, and worrying about where Soon-to-Be-Abandoned will end up.  He’s going to have to take  care of the last minute stuff like filing changes of address, stopping newspapers subscriptions, ending memberships and returning the cable boxes. 

Ideally, I wanted to leave things so that when the movers came, the only things in the house would be what we want to take with us.  They would pack it all and load it on the truck.  And when our stuff arrived in Alabama, we would find that each item was one we wanted, and not a single thing was something we’d just as soon have left behind.

Instead, Mr. NYer will have to manage the Moving Sale, and then manage disposing of whatever doesn’t move during the sale.  He’ll still need to call the Salvation Army for some of it, wrangle still more down to the curb, and call one of those “men with truck” to come haul away the basement detritus.  We both avert our eyes when we see the remaining cans of paint, paint thinner, carpet cleaner, garden pesticides and assorted other household poisons that can’t come with us but which are not very easy to throw away.  The marketer in me thinks we can collect the various fertilizers, bug sprays and anti-fungal dusts in a lovely box, throw in a trowel and a pair of gardening gloves, and call it a “goodie box for someone with a green thumb.”  Mr. NYer thinks I’m crazy.

The point is that this is the kind of stuff we usually do together.  All of our major enterprises have been done together.  In fact in the last 33 years, there’s damn little we haven’t been side by side for.  Sickness and health, good times and bad, putting in a garden, buying a car, remodeling the kitchen, nursing sick kid and taking care of aged parents … when one of us got weary, the other wasn’t far away.  True, we’ve specialized and divided the labor, but we always have each other to lean on.  I don’t like the idea of being 1,000 miles away while he has too much on his plate and all I can offer is long-distance advice.

More than anything, that’s the new part of this adventure.


One Response

  1. Maureen..I’m feeling that kind of envy that I’ve experienced when a friend was about to give birth for the first time. having done it twice, I really did not want to have another baby..not t all..I just had pangs of jealousy about the newness..the excitement of a mildly frightening passage, the excitement.

    I don’t want to sift through my life, my responsibilities..my mountains of belongings..I don’t want to move to Alabama…but I’m appreciating the sensations by proxy.

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