A little dramatic perhaps, but it does feel a bit as if 2016 is out to get us.Some of it is trivial – like the mower deck falling off the mower (with a couple of acres of grass to mow) and the volvo window getting cracked and the axle on the boat trailer failing (mid trip) which all happened on the same day in early July.
Some of it much more serious. My father had an ICU incident – spent 5 days in ICU recovering from a bleeding episode related to warfarin misdosage (most likely – harumph) and requited an emergency trip to another state far away to get my paralyzed mother resettled in a nursing home and care for him. This was late May – then in June I spent another 2 weeks working on their house – think hoarders, think haven’t moved in 50 years – think lots of trash and outdated clothes and a ton of decisions needing to be made. I also had to resettle my dad after his 5 day ICU stay and then a month at the rehab facililty where my mom was staying. My goals were to get the bedrooms cleaned out so a hospital bed could be moved in for my mother making her care easier, and bedrooms for people to stay overnight in should an emergency arise, and to clear the floors and halls so someone hired to clean could actually clean. I worked like the dickens – my mother will never forgive me – but most of my goals were completed and they have a cleaner, safer place to live since they refuse to move and make their situation better.
Back home by July 4th to try and enjoy some summer with my boys. But then the man about the places Grandmother began declining – and there was some sorting and shifting of her worldly goods. Just makes you stop and think about that thing you just have to have – will your children or grandchildren be sorting through it some day?
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy old things. I love vintage linens and domestic items – I like vintage sewing and knitting stuff. But mostly I like it when I can use it and it has a memory tied to it. Cute vintage napkins, great! Hanging onto my ugly artwork from my childhood, not so much.
So what do you keep? What do you throw away? In this digital age, I think it is nice to keep a virtual record sometime – but not boxes and boxes of actual high school writings of a nearly 50 year old. These got pitched – forever erased except for this one picture.
It was a bit fun to see this artwork from my 8th grade art class – but also fun to pitch it. Will I ever regret throwing it away? I hadn’t spared a thought for it during my 20s, 30s or 40s so far – so no, I don’t think I will.
My mother saved ALL. THE. CLOTHES. Now, I have saved a few pieces from my children’s lives. I have their going home outfits. I have their christening gowns (I made each one a christening outift to give to them when/if they ever have children – should they want them). And a couple more outfits that I either made or they wore and loved – but overall, very very little. After all, I had three boys and one income so hand me downs were important. And then we passed them on to a nephew or someone else needing jackets or pajamas – I just couldn’t fathom letting them rot in an attic until ..forever. My mother had a different opinion. So polyester plaid suits of my dads from the 70s, my 4 year old selfs favorite swimsuit, girl scout unis, leotards from ballet, every baby outift we ever had. It was easy to pitch a lot of it – elastic disentegrates and things get mildewed in the humid climate where my parents live. Fabric itself rots or gets moth holes. I did save a few pieces for posterity – a layette knit by my dad’s mother. A dress sewn by my grandmother. But only if they were in great condition, and potentially usable again should I someday have a daughter in law that might love vintage baby clothes as much as I do.
A ton of it got donated though. And sometimes I wonder if I am too ruthless. And then I think about what it takes to store and preserve these things which I cannot use and may never use – and then I feel glad to have space in my closets. Space. For air circulation, so I can see what is in there, so I can have room for guests to hang a coat – none of which was possible at my parents home.
Yes – vintage cigars – circa 1966 – when I was born. You do the math – you will know how old I am…
In the end, I did have my father there to help with some decisions. After all, it was his stuff. It is my mother who will never forgive me. But I am ok with that. Healthcare workers and cleaners can now do their jobs – people can now come visit – emergency help can now be called in should there be a need. The house is STILL very full of stuff – but a lot of the mold, mildew, termite food, roach food, rotting stuff is now gone.
And me – I have a box by the backdoor for Good Will right now. Something new comes in, something old moves out. I am also frantically going through unfinished projects and saved fabric scraps trying to USE them – not let them rot and get full of bugs – either use or donate or make a plan for it – and hopefully, when the time comes and I cannot do this type of stuff any more, I will be gracious enough to let my children pass it on, or pass it on myself. Getting old sucks in many ways. It is scary. I am going to try to do it gracefully.