Downsizing: our home and our lives

My husband is back in Colorado for four weeks.  He has two big goals (three if you include eating lunch with friends); finish some major renovations in preparation for our house sale and get rid of our stuff.  It’s what you do when the nest becomes empty.  

It makes me wonder, at what point did owning all this stuff make sense?  I don’t remember the time when I liked to shop.  I also don’t remember what I had for dinner last night.  However,  in the case of shopping, I certainly excelled at it.  Now a life which fits in a carry on suitcase or in the truck of a car sounds about right.  So he is in Colorado getting rid of all the things we spent 30 years accumulating.  The phase between acquisition and divestiture doesn’t seem to have lasted long (nor does life itself, but that’s a different topic).

Sometimes I play a game in my mind.   What would I grab if my house was on fire.  It’s harder now that our cat, Tabby, has died.  Of course, we all grab pictures.  That’s an easy one.  Then, I’d grab a quilt which my great grand-mother made.  She lived to be 103 years old and quilted until the end.  She never bought fabric but rather pieced together her friends’ old dresses or flour sacks (they used to be cloth!).  When I was little, I looked at my quilt when I couldn’t sleep.  It had pink squares each containing a daisy.  The daisy petals were old dresses.  I tried to picture the person who wore the dress made of fabric which was a collage of little brown monkey heads on a cream-colored background.  I’m still not sure who that was, but I’m sure I met her.  Of course, I’d grab my son’s blanket which we know as “ninny”.   He slept with it long after he passed 6 feet in height.  It’s been thru a lot with him.    The sofas and chairs and tables and dressers and 2 foot high (and surprisingly heavy) statue of a pig wearing a suit playing the violin can all perish.  I say this even though I remember the day each was delivered as well as I remember the birth of our three kids.  

Have you ever seen a woman outside a house fire, she’s crying and wringing her hands and screaming to whomever will listen, “Please help me, there’s a large plasma TV trapped inside.”?  I never have.  If we all got the chance to live our lives again, I think we’d do it in far smaller houses and with far fewer things.   

My husband and I considered making a pile in the backyard and setting everything on fire.  We discounted this option fairly quickly as burning in the mountains of Colorado without a permit is a serious offense.  Besides, I’m sure we could give it to a nice young couple.  They’d arrive in their new Subaru station wagon and cram as much as they could in the back.  Tomorrow they’ll return for the rest.  They’ll never forget this day or their good fortune.  They’ll throw a party next Saturday to show off their new home and new furniture.   I bet we’ll get a thank you card.   

It’s the circle of life.  

In fairness to me and my purchasing decisions, when I reflect on life in our home; Christmas in the seldom used living room or Thanksgiving dinner with family gathered around the table, I realize it did all serve a purpose (with the possible exception of the pig statue – he went to Goodwill before we left for Bratislava)…



Categories: Ruminations

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4 replies

  1. Hi Julie! Pat told us about your blog last night at dinner — and I am anxious to read about the most interesting man! Pat told us a little about the man and he sounds fascinating! I love this post about down sizing — I am trying to figure that one out now! It was our pleasure to see Pat twice and he has extended an invitaion to us to move in with you in Brataslava — HAHA — just kidding. We do hope to visit, though. Cheers!

    • Hi Kathe… We will see the most interesting man in the world again. He has invited us to dinner. I can not wait!… Pat said he had a great time with you and Tom. Happy belated birthday. So great to hear that Tom is well… Julie

      PS: We’d love to have you guys visit…

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  1. What’s wrong with nice? | The World in Between
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