Downsizing in Louisiana
Going from a house to a townhouse is enough to keep you busy getting rid of years of accumulated stuff. And moving from upstate New York to southern Louisiana is enough of a culture shock to keep you confused about what to keep and what to get rid of (I just tripped over a powder suit in the upstairs hall! How did that get here?! But we are going to visit...). Leaving the kids and the grandkids behind and going half way across the country to live is enough to make you miserable going through everything again because you didn't get rid of enough stuff before you moved and when you had help. And that's where I am, unpacking, sorting, gardening in the sun, making new friends, crying...
I've got to admit, I had a lot of stuff! I'm a collector of everything, I like to have plenty of supplies around to do arts and crafts, I've got to have toys for the grandchildren when they visit and games and puzzles for the older guys. Our hobby of Civil War reenacting is especially helpful in adding to the clutter; First we'd buy what ever we needed, which was plenty especially since we brought along the grandkids, and then we'd go to antique stores and buy the real thing to keep at home and not ruin or lose out in the field. Same with clothes; we'd buy or make outfits for out in the field, then find antique outfits and had to have them. I swear I got rid of two thirds of the stuff before we left NY, but here we are in LA and I just can't fit that last pod full of stuff in either the townhouse, the garage, or the attic! As I am emptying out boxes I'm throwing out stuff and making piles for Goodwill, Habitat, the consignment shop. We gave some stuff to the neighbors. How can we stll have all this stuff when we gave so much to the kids? And we made all those dump runs and trips to the Salvation Army. Three days ago I threw out two of my 34 year old daughter's baby blankets. They were old, torn and ragged, but full of warm memories. Today I cried about it. We were out looking for a bookcase and I just started crying. And that's another thing: How can we possibly need anything? All this stuff and no bookcase!
I don't miss the snow at all. I miss my youth. I miss my family. I'm starting to accept that I'm middle-aged, which basically means I'm having more trouble moving furniture and boxes, I ache in places I didn't even know I had, and I can't remember where I put the tape I just unpacked! But I can remember the phone numbers home, and that precious little voice saying "Happy Valentine's Day Nana!" or "I love you!" They got a foot of snow. My tomatoes have blossoms and the herbs are overflowing the pot. I wonder if we'll have tomatoes when they come to visit? I wonder if the boxes will be unpacked, or will the pod still be in the driveway. We should take them to the French Quarter. They'd like that. Life is a mixed bag. You may as well just say "thank you" and keep showing up to see what comes next!
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