This has been a long span between blog posts, but I have a good reason. We’re moving … for the first time in 20 years. No more farm life for us. When we signed the deal way back in September it seemed like a great idea. “On to the next chapter”, we agreed, and high-fived to seal the deal. But as our closing date of March 15th looms, a few troublesome realities have cropped up. Like for example, before cutting us a cheque, the people who bought our place expect us to leave … and to take all of our crap. Did I mention we lived here 20 years? We have accumulated a lot of crap.
We’ve always lived by the tried and true “let’s keep it and decide later” school of organization, and we have a giant barn, which served as great storage for innumerable Rubbermaid containers full of papers. Each year we socked a few more away. Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, being classic helicopter parents, we thought everything our kids ever created was brilliant and we kept every single piece of paper they produced from nursery school until roughly, yesterday. Believe me, they were quite prolific.
We’re now trying to get it down to one tub per offspring. We can be found each night, rummaging through the dusty totes. We had a lot to get rid of , so did get progressively more discriminating and established new ground rules. All school worksheets – gone. All the math notebooks and tests – gone (It didn’t stick anyway). All “that doesn’t even look like a horse” drawings – gone. Can’t tell which kid did it – gone. Anything in French – gone. All “participant” ribbons – gone. Assignments with any teacher comments that contain feedback that resembles criticism – gone. I prefer to remember the happy times of enthusiastic and unbridled achievement…. so pretty much anything the boy did between grade 10 and grade 12 (both years) - gone.
In the “keep” pile, are multiple, multiple “Lifetouch” sheets with 24 school pictures in the same pose with each kid, for each year. Not sure why we always went with the “25 prints” package, when we only had one set of grandparents. Also, not sure WHO dressed those kids and did their hair on picture day, but it was someone with a cruel sense of humour for the most part. Also “Keep”: any piece of paper/macaroni craft/tissue, that says “You’re the best Mom/Dad/Parents … we do need that validation and we’re not above digging through a dusty tote to get it. Plus, I want that evidence handy, and strategically on display when they are making our elder-care decisions.
Something else I kept were multiple copies of the local newspaper if our kids made it in. Cleverly though, I kept the whole paper, so have spent a good portion of my time this week thumbing through 10 – 20-year-old newspapers looking for likenesses of my kids or their names in small print, so I could reduce bulk and just rip the page out, which apparently I was just too busy to do in the 90s, because then it would have been too dangerously close to scrapbooking. This has proven very time-consuming though, as I am easily distracted and inevitably end up poring through the classifieds, and beating myself up that I didn’t buy EVERYTHING at those prices.
There were other Rubbermaid containers too, filled with fun facts, by way of receipts. My wedding dress cost $279. Our honeymoon for two weeks to Bahamas all-inclusive cost $1080, for both of us. Fuel to fill up our oil tank was 39 cents a litre when we moved into this place. We got our septic system pumped for $70 in 1989. Additionally, we had the good sense and foresight to keep a little brown envelope with somebody’s extracted teeth in it. Also, I worked with someone somewhere whose name was Pat(?) who was sooo “sorry to see me go” that she/he bought me a card. I have no memory of this co-worker, but ironically, I was able to name every kid in a yellowed and ancient looking photo of my grade 1 class.
Yes, life has become a fun-filled, time consuming, teary eyed meandering trip down memory lane. Because we’re easily distracted procrastinators by nature and we have to examine each piece of paper thoroughly and play the
arguing remembering game about the timeline of events of our lives thus far, we haven’t had time to exactly hammer out some details, like exactly where is going to be our forwarding address. But we’re not too worried about it. We don’t have to be out until March. And luckily, it’s a leap year, so we’ve got that extra day in February.
This year March may come in like a lion, and go out like a middle-aged couple and a dog and 3 cats living in a van, down by the river.