Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cleaning out...

I’ve been cleaning out my house and I’m here to say this is no fun.

It all started about 9-10 months ago.  Brooke came to me and told me she and Jared were thinking of moving.  They wanted to find a home and settle in permanently before the kids started school.  

Backing up almost 5 years  when Steve first became sick, we very quickly began discussing  that once I was alone I did not want to live in our home.  We built this home together and have lived here since 2002.  It was such a fun adventure and we enjoyed planning every inch of it and watching it grow into our home.  I knew once I was to live alone, I would want something very different.  This wonderful home has too many memories of us.  




So Steve, being Steve, began his quest to find me the perfect house.  After about 6 months of Steve wanting to look, needing to look, I finally put my foot down and said no.  We were going to spend his remaining time living life, not worrying about what I would do once he was gone.  He finally relented, but he would continue to broach the subject whenever possible.

Then Brooke and Jared came along with their idea to move.  Their initial thoughts were to make their move in 2 years, give or take.  One morning on one of my walks about 2 months before Steve died, it hit me, I had the perfect plan.  I came home and told Steve of my decision, I would buy Jared and Brooke’s house once they moved.  It was perfect, everything Steve wanted for me, smaller, less upkeep, 4 bedrooms (that he was adamant about), one story, gated neighborhood and we both loved their home!  Done, everyone was happy.

Little did we realize that the Meabon’s perfect house would come along so quickly.  They closed on their new home November 1st and therefore I bought their/my new home on that day.  Holy moly, that was quick...now I own two homes.

So after I calmed down a bit, I decided to take my time.  I will remodel their home to make it more me.  I am not going to put my house on the market until later, after the holidays, after my trip to Israel...later.

In the mean time, one evening Brent was sitting in the kitchen, innocently looking ceiling to floor, wall to wall, shaking his head and flatly with little to no emotion, said, “What are you going to do with all your stuff?  I mean Mom, you have stuff everywhere.”  Steve had been saying this to me forever and I always thought it was humorous, but for some reason when Brent said it, I started to hyperventilate.  What was I going to do with all this stuff?

The day he left, I went straight to HEB and started grabbing boxes.  I vowed I would begin packing a few boxes each day until I moved.  Thus my daunting task has begun.

There are areas that feel good to purge.  My pantry, full of serving pieces I never use.  My closet...heaps of clothes that were decades old, yet I could never get rid of.  I kept thinking, “Oh, they were so cute, surely they will come back in style again?”  Gone!  

Knick knacks, or rather, treasures, or as Steve called it my junk, that I’ve hauled around with me for way too long...out!  Purging feels like a great weight loss program, that’s working.

There have been areas of the house that I have gone to with great trepidation.  I boxed up all our framed photos.  Oh, incredible memories came flooding back as I looked into Steve’s eyes.  I smiled back at his spellbinding smile. The tears came as I wrapped each frame carefully and placed it in the special boxes labeled  ”Important.”  

I went into an upstairs closet and lining several shelves were all of our travel books.  Fodor’s from France, Croatia, Austria, Greece, Italy... stacks of books from Maine, California, upstate New York, Bryce Canyon...we had traveled.  I stood staring longingly at all of those shelves of books and tears poured out of me like a broken spigot as I touched each book and smiled through my tears.  



The books were dog-eared from handling.  Steve was big on referring to Fodor’s for the best restaurants, hotels, things to do and see.  I had written in the margin of many of the books, commenting on what we loved, simply liked or felt like was a waste of time.  Steve’s handwriting was there on many of the pages.  He was the one to plan our trips ahead of time.  He would read through these books for hours before we would go on trips, making reservations, plotting our course, determining our routes.  



What is one to do with mounds of travel books?  Books of places you have been with the person you most wanted to go with...and now, well now I’m left with this painful stack of books.  So I scooped them up, grabbed a glass of wine, and I spent the evening flipping through the pages of each of book.  It was a private, intimate time and it was difficult, but once I had looked through each book I laid it carefully in the trash bin and at the end of the night, I shut the lid.



I think I may be through cleaning out for a while, my bones feel too dry and I have time.







“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...

    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away…”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-6

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