Lost and Left

There is a law in the affairs of men — and women too. Not that type of affairs. Get minds out of gutter — that dictates that whatever you carry from place to place will end up being things you don’t even.

You know exactly what I mean. You start with good intentions: my clothes, his clothes. Open this first. Open that last. Don’t lose the baby, toss the bathwater.

But as the last frantic days of moving happen, you find yourself with a bunch of things where you go “I don’t even.”

This usually means “I don’t even know why I have this/where to put it/what the heck.”

The current bunch of “I don’t even” is sitting on an unopened box across from me. It consists of: A Mickey mouse statuette made of plastic plated with silver that a friend of my parents gave one of the boys, and which the boys treasured. Or one of them did. I suspect the boys don’t even remember it, but I don’t even. As in, if I toss it, will the kids miss it? If I save it in case of grandkids…. there will never be grandkids. If– Like that.

There’s also an embroidered doily. I have no idea where it came from. My side or his? I have crochet doilies from grandma, but I don’t remember her embroidering anything. Like me, she did crochet while too tired to do other things/bound to bed or chair, and not wanting to sleep. Embroidery? Maybe when she was younger. I don’t remember. Also a pile of tatted (I THINK) handkerchiefs from Dan’s step great grandmother, aka, my father in law’s auntie-grannie. As in, his grandmother died of consumption after birthing 7 kids, and the husband married her older, spinster sister, which, to quote my late mother in law “must have spent her life till thirty something making handkerchiefs.” To be fair, most of those disappeared when MIL moved to a care facility. I suspect they were sent to a charity store, unless someone had the foresight to put them on ebay. All I have is a little pile, lawn, with very fine needle work, getting more ragged every time we move. I meant to ask MIL for the rest, and had a vague idea of making curtains out of them. Though, judging by the things that younger son saved as I was about to donate and trash, which he says sold on ebay might just replace his car, I might have no idea what things are worth for other people. Or what should be done with them.

Anyway, this pile will grow, and it’s usually useless things that I have no idea what to do with, so I shove them in a drawer and the survive another day. (I wonder if younger son wants to sell the statue of Mickey?)

Then there’s the things that have been good and useful for years. Or at least pleasing for years. But don’t fit the new place. Like…. I have a triplane. The Red Baron novel that’s been waiting 20 years. It’s a kit. It hangs over my desk. Except here the ceilings upstairs are seven and a half feet. Unless I want younger son to run into it, repeatedly (and he will) that needs to be retired. Honestly I should throw it away. I just bought a little hanging model which will do, but what do I do with the old? I don’t actually have the courage to just throw it out. Maybe I’ll ask the guys to do it. It’s looking… bedraggled. And the novel not written, yet.

And there’s the things I left behind that I still mourn. Most of them probably stupid. Like there was this set of old blinds with no center, that we bought at a garage sale sometime in the eighties. I made lace insets for them. It was a thing in the eighties.

When we moved from Columbia, I left them behind. I hadn’t slept in 24 hours. Not a house I move into that I don’t think “That would be so useful here.” Unfortunately no one sells them (on purpose) because it was an eighties thing. (Though it should be coming around again any time now.)

Or the wreath made of calico stuffed leaves, in red orange and yellow that my host mother gave me back in the eighties. As we were driving out of Columbia, I realized it was still on the door, but it was too difficult to go back and rescue it and where would we put it? I mean the car literally had no space for ANYTHING more.

It’s stupid to lament it. It would be dead and ratty now. But I do.

Then there’s the novels. Oh, not the paper ones (though I should re-cull some of them too. The novels I’ve been carrying inside my head. The oldest being now…. 44? Really?

They must get written. That I’ll be dealing with soon.

But for right now, I’m unpacking and going “I can’t even.”

Before I go back this weekend to finish and stage the Colorado house, where trust me, I can’t even.

Bear with me. I can see the end of the tunnel. It’s probably an oncoming train. And I have no room for it in any drawer.

18 thoughts on “Lost and Left

  1. Every time that I’ve gone through a major cleaning or movement of stuff, I’ve discovered things. And, the sorting of piles happens.

    What has to go.
    What should go.
    What can’t go.

    I’m not sure how good of a sign it is that the what has to go pile grows smaller every time I do this, but the what should go grows larger. Perhaps I’m able to cull down to a good enough level…or not.

    Have to do another major culling in my storage unit soon. At the very least, after the first of the year I need to move into a smaller unit to save some money. It’s not a large difference in terms of costs, but any port in a storm…

    1. When I consolidated storage units, it came down to 1) can someone else use this now? 2) Are they books? 3) Are they clothes? 4) Are they financial records? If 1, then they were given away. If the answer to the others was “no,” to the dump they went. Except for my tack and riding gear. I’m not selling my saddle unless I have no other choice, literally or proverbially. (I do need to treat it with leather conditioner, though.)

      1. I have a few filled book cases in the ladder- accessible mezzanine above the workroom in my barn/shop. Some will move to the house (history/biography), some will find space(hah!) downstairs in the shop, others will go to the library, and others I can’t even.

        20-30 years ago, I bought a bunch of Squadron-Signal publications covering various warbirds. A very few correspond to model kits in the Round Tuit shelf (assuming I want to deal with the latest round of FAA regulations–sigh), but the rest ought to go to a good home. If I can find one. I’m allergic to eBay and CraigsList.

        At least the library isn’t fussy as to what they’ll take. Flyover County Main has a 5 box per trip max, and I’d not push the local branch any harder. Maybe 30 boxes worth up there…

  2. I’ve regretted tossing old treasures… every single time. The fact that they’re only seen during a move notwithstanding….

  3. Hugs. We left a helluva lot of stuff when we hauled ass out of Florida.
    We were moving someplace smaller, we were moving someplace older, we were moving someplace cheaper, so we stuck a ton of stuff in boxes with signs that read FREE TO GOOD HOME on them — including books, and printers, and desks, and, and, and…

    We bought smaller and cheaper when we got here. We made sure we had the few genuinely irreplaceable things (little boxes of letters and photos, hard drives and backup hard drives, computers). Some of the clothes.

    It was the 25th move for me, and I’d already had other people decide to toss shit I loved back when I was a kid, and then a young woman.

    You get to the point where you don’t actually have anything left that isn’t something you love.

    I brought my yarn. Boxes of it. My favorite books. Two weeks worth of clothes.

  4. It took us over a year to recover from moving from SC to PA and we moved into a larger house! I can’t imagine the trauma of moving into a smaller house. If we had to do that, I’d light a match and buy all new. It would be easier than choosing what to keep and what to get rid off.

    It’s been twenty years and I bet I’ve got a few unopened boxes from the move lurking in the deepest recesses of the unfinished basement.

    Eventually, this will pass.

  5. At the beginning of the pack, you recall sage advice from the internet on what to take and what to toss: hold up each object and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” At the end of the pack, you toss everything in the box and say to yourself, “I’ll deal with it later.”

    The ‘deal with it later’ boxes are what storage lockers are for. Ideally, you go through all the boxes in the locker one last time to pick out the good stuff, then quit paying the bill so they aution your stuff to some optimist and you never have to deal with it again. Also makes for entertaining television. A two-fer!

    1. then quit paying the bill so they auction your stuff to some optimist
      Sure, NOW you post this. This would have been a brilliant way to get rid of a ton of stuff from the old house. We ended up taking a lot to the dump because we didn’t know what else to do with it.

      At the end of the pack, you toss everything in the box and say to yourself, “I’ll deal with it later.”
      So much this. After two Budget (not that horrible second-person Haul) truckloads, I decreed that if it didn’t fit in the bed of the pickup, it was getting left behind. This led to some odd decisions and repercussions, such as the window air conditioner rubbing against a headboard, which is now ruined enough that I’m giving the whole bed to a thrift store – so why did I move it?

      It was the 25th move for me
      Eeek! I suppose that’s easier than one move every 20 years, but Yikes! nonetheless.

      Sarah, consider the time spent boggling at those sorts of things as break-time scheduled by G*d.

      1. We have a storage unit, filled with mostly books, until the other house sells and we can put up shelves in the living room, to take my research materials.

  6. When I moved every eighteen months—thank you, pilot jobs—I described my interior decorating style as “early monastic.” I had books, a writing desk, reading chair, bed, pots and pans (not many), clothes, and things to hold the clothes and books.

  7. Ah, stuff.
    There is a point in moving, when you are so tired of making decisions about “stuff”, it’s almost easier to just throw it away. Been there, a good few times.
    Things I wish that I could find now – I think they might be out in the garage. The black silk embroidered apron that came from my great-grandmother, whom I am supposed to be most like. It was sent to me, and I put it away, rolled in tissue paper … but where is it now?
    We have a bale of embroidered, tatted, fancy-stitched stuff from the great-grands, who must have spent their leisure time a century ago, doing table runners, doilies, bureau scarves, handkerchiefs and napkins. Some of it, alas, has holes in it – I should have taken more care in washing the darned things. Now, whenever we hit an antique store and they have bales of similar, I buy it. Just because…

  8. When my parents died I ended up with everything…and I mean everything – great grandparents on both sides on down. I have letters, furniture, genealogy stuff, photos, everything. My brother, fortunately, took a lot of stuff back with him (he flew over with an empty extra large suitcase and went back with it full). I have some idea of scanning all the old letters and photos but then I think if I throw the originals away…I don’t know. It will all move when we do in a month or so. I’ll deal with it later…

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