Let the excavations begin…

February 19th, 1988. Receipt – 19′ U-Haul Truck.  $34.79

Just me and the ex-husband*, taking a day off – leaving our 2 year old daughter at day care in the morning so we weren’t tripping over a toddler while moving furniture.  We didn’t ask friends.  We didn’t hire help.  We just did it.

Not that there was much to move.  Our first house was a smallish three bedroom home, barely a third of the size of the newly purchased home.  After just two trips with the truck, we finished up, moving small items in the car.  Bruised, battered and completely exhausted, it still took us less than 6 hours.  And there was a lot of empty space in the new house when we were done…

Fast forward a little over 20 years.  i have absolutely no idea where all this shit came from…  but it’s gotta go.  Both children are away at college, with their own scavenged furniture.  My new place is about the same size as this one, but only three bedrooms.  It’s not that i couldn’t put all this crap into the new crib, it’s just the wrong stuff.  Clean slate… that’s what’s needed.  “Simplify” is my battle cry! 

So, out it goes.  And since i’ve committed to a “yard sale”** in two weeks, i need to push hard on the excavations.  Tonight?  A start…

i braved the shed, where the lawnmowers sleep in varying states disrepair and loneliness… only the spiders and husks of their spider ancestors to keep them company.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as i’d remembered.  it’s been over a year since i’d opened this thing – it’s a 20′ x 10′ barn, with a storage loft.  Even found the “Pig Farm” from our guinea pig ranch era… and my sailboat…

Which led to the second round of excavations – if i’m going to sell the Sunfish (the sailboat i retained from the divorce), i need the registration info and title to the trailer.  Ummm…. right… Two teeny tiny pieces of paper lost in the haystack of my desk-al region. 

Never fear, i’ve got a fabulous filing system!  When we moved in, i was so organized!  Set up drawers, labeled folders, sub-folders… and everything is up to date.  Through about 1989.  Yep.  Maintained it for about a year before i gave up and just started throwing stuff in folders near where they should go…. 

Tonight, i spent about 2 hours wading through receipts for long-gone storm doors, random report cards for my elementary school-aged children, traffic tickets***, auto accident reports accumulated over 20 years…  all of that life-shrapnel you hang onto thinking you’ll need some day.

After rooting through the places i thought they might be, such as the “car titles/registration folder”, “purchases”, “warranty information”, i eventually stumbled on the proper location.  Buried in a bottom file drawer, i found a folder, cleverly labeled “Sailboats”. [smacks forehead]

Whew!  Success!  Well, sort of…  i also discovered that i still have the title for the other sailboat and trailer – the one my former husband kept.  Happy to have located both necessary treasures, it was only as i was putting his title in the “go” stack that i noticed it was titled in my name.  And, invariably, the trailer that has been collecting bugs under my back deck for the past 10 years?  Titled in his name… 

One more thing on the “to do” list.  Which is buried on my desk somewhere…

* Still hate the term “ex-husband” in regard to the man i was married to for 25 years or so….  In my family, the connotations include ex-spouses with attempted murder charges, crack-whores, transvestite bank robbers, suicide, incest (sorry, still haven’t gotten to that one, folks), and a kindly, but deeply confused Palestinian taxi driver, who was briefly married to my bi-polar lesbian sister.   I usually call my former spouse “baby daddy”, although  i saw the phrase “was-band” somewhere and kinda liked it…

**  A friend will help organize and execute the sale, with her three indentured servants children.  In return, she gets half the proceeds.  I’m also keeping the kids overnight so she can go on date with her adorable hubby.  Something for everyone!  My motivation – i work best on the clock.  Since the advert is out, i am committed to the sale, and must move merchandise.  Forcing functions rock!

*** LOTS of traffic tickets.  There are 88 counties in my state.  i realized tonight that i’m well on my way to getting a ticket in every one of them!  Woo hoo!  Gotta be good at something, right?

19 thoughts on “Let the excavations begin…

  1. “was-band”, I like that.

    I like moving. I like fresh starts. But I always have a hard time going through my stuff. Memories, dramatic or mundane, always make me cry.

    Very brave of you, Good Girl!

  2. Gosh, this brings back memories. Not good ones either. There was the nightmarish move with 15month old and sick (didn’t know he was dying yet) first husband. Friends gathered to help. They did not help pack and things were shoved in dresser drawers and any old tote and….I was still finding things I thought were lost when I was purging and packing for the move to Canada – three years later.

    Rob and I pared down my 3 bdr house to one u-haul trailer. Goodwill probably couldn’t believe its good fortune last summer.

    Good luck!

  3. Used to be that when my house got to a certain level of clutter, an opportunity to move would appear. Unfortunately, my apartment is now at that level, and I’ve no opportunity for the cleansing of a move. Yes, a fresh start is always good.

    Love “was-band” but don’t like the ex enough to give him an affectionate name like that.

  4. i used to move every 3 or so years as part of the job. it was an excellent opportunity to relieve the house of the detritus that piled up. i’m finding, as are you, that if you stay in a place for over 10 years, you need a shovel and mining hat to safely navigate. good luck on your adventuring. (and, i am impressed you were able to find stuff after so many years ‘hidden away’).

  5. heartbreaktown – there were quite a few “Awwww….” moments as i went through the desk drawers. Suspect there will be more memories dredged up over the next few weeks. And i am more than a little excited about a ‘fresh start’…

    paisley – thanks! i love them too. most of the time! if i tried, i could probably find something good to say about each one of them… well, maybe not my brothers first wife… no, take that back… she was a helluva lot of fun when i was in junior high school because she bought us beer and cigarettes and let us get drunk at their apartment!

    annie – wow… that would be a whirlwind. my other “find” last night was the stack of diplomas. my ex and i had planned to have them all framed (2 BS degrees and 3 MS degrees between us) and use them in one of the bathrooms. after a water-disaster a few years back, i put them somewhere safe. and forgot where that was… found them last night when i was trying to decide if i wanted to keep a particular end table downstairs!
    only four years after i put them there!

    silverstar – this is a very necessary purge – and what doesn’t get claimed by the yard sale treasure hunt brigade goes directly to Goodwill. Nothing goes back in the house… the more that goes out, the less i move!

    kyknoord – i have a dead tree in my dining room. with ‘chili pepper’ lights on it. Wonder what i could sell that for? If i pay shipping, would you like a matched set?

    nm – sorry, but i didn’t think to download the listing pictures before the advertisement came down. will get some up one of these days!

    gnu – if i could find my hard hat, that would be useful… and yes, so far, i’m doing well on locating targeted items. but i’m sure there are items that are hard and deeply buried targets!

  6. It must be a technical person thing. The filing system you set up just so echoes the one I did. Even some of the folder names are identical.

    Sadly I must confess that my adherence to the system lasted about as long as yours. I know I need to go through the stuff, but keep putting it off in favour of other activities. And it gets worse with each passing day.

    Been in this house for going on thirteen years now. Longest time in one place…ever. Not sure how it fills up with stuff, but it sure is a lot of work to empty it.

    Irony is I go on and on about not being one of the “consumer sheep” and then I’m somewhat chagrined when I look around my basement and garage.

    Good luck with the yard sale prep. Hope the proceeds are large!

  7. Awwww, I’m sure said ‘friend’ will be ever so grateful. Have fun with her munchkins … especially the little ones. They’re most adorable.

  8. Ooooh the grand purge … looking forward to my own nightmare in the next few weeks. One of those things that feels great when it’s over, but until then … another glass of wine? 😉

  9. Whilst your receipt collection may be impressive to, well receipt collectors, that picture of you at your desk causes great spiritual suffocation! Throw it all away, give it all away, burn it… free yourself!

  10. rob – Geeks shall truly inherit the earth… except no one will notice because we’ll be wrapped up in our geek-stuff, and not paying attention. Last night? cleaned out the “island of misfit cool appliances”. yep, the breadmaker and ice cream maker are going out the door… virtually untouched by human hands!

    bob – the “friend” has been an awesome business partner in my condo adventure! she is a shark – comin’ at ’em like a spider monkey… kinda looking forward to selling my possessions to strangers for pocket change. something liberating in that! Can i corrupt said young ‘uns in just one night? Suspect they’ll enjoy the large, smelly brown dog a bit…

    practically joe – yes, my dog is going to suffer the most dramatic change. no half-acre fenced yard to mindlessly wander. he may decide to strangle me!

    tNb – last night it was the whiskey. will be moving one of my cars out of the garage by the end of the weekend to start “staging” the stuff to go… and NOTHING shall re-enter the house. it sells, is stolen, or will be given away. Good luck with your purge!

    Bb – Free, FREEEEEEEEEE! once i get rid of the crap i don’t need, and separate out the info for the stuff that is actually attached to this house, there may not be much left. Less is definitely more…

    Bb – *snort* Physics is Phun!

  11. Pingback: CLEANING OUT « Archies Archive

  12. archie – LOVED the poem, but alas, i’m much more heartless. i attach to odd things – such as the board games the kids and i used to play, clippings we’ve had on our refrigerator for years, etc. Thanks for also finding the reference – i knew i read it somewhere! Had lunch with my was-band today and all’s well with the world. He’s a good baby daddy, too!

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