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Monday, October 21st : Relative Value





We have moved into a house that has been stopped in time for 17 years. Before that it was inhabited by an elderly man (Simplicio's grandfather) who lived alone for many years but before his wife's passing and the children forming their own homes, the house was home to a family of 7. There's a lot of history here, loads of accumulated objects that were used and loved and held memories of a time gone by. However, we are moving in with the intent of renovating, bringing new life and taking care of the structure. In order to change floors, paint walls and CLEAN, we have to clear out the nonessential, what we know will not be used, what we see as outdated, impractical and "out of style". I will be honest, there are moments when I look around, I open a closet or find yet another box filled with what I see as "old junk", I am filled with despair and want to simply throw EVERYTHING in the trash! I like an organized house, I may be on the OCD side with cleaning (as my husband loves to point out) and, for better or for worse, I am part of a generation that prefers the practical, doesn't expect things to last a lifetime, and will opt for affordable, easily replaceable and moveable furniture over hard wood, hand crafted furniture that, once installed, will outlive its owners. But then, a pang of compassion creeps in as I recall how I felt cleaning out my own home after my mom passed away. We were preparing for our move back to Brazil and the house had to be cleared. All her things were left untouched and I knew I was the only one who could go through each one and decide what stayed and what had to be given away or sold. It's funny how a physical thing, many times with no monetary value can carry so much sentimental weight. When we look at it, smell it or feel it in our hands, we are visited with a rush of tender recollections, those very precious moments are brought to the front of our minds. I suppose I learned to be objective and select the most precious of these objects, many which I carry with me till this day. But how do you do that for someone else?! My mother in law, who has always been so generous to me is also very attached to her things and tends to lean towards hoarding, always purchasing multiples of everything and rarely getting rid of things, even if they are unused or even broken. No one is perfect, right? So, we are having to come in and triage, clean and prep the house for construction and new, younger inhabitants without her presence and knowing that, if it were up to her, everything would stay frozen in time forever mo matter how much mold and dust it had on it! Thus our challenge! Today, we did more triage, trips to the recycling bin and carried lots of heavy furniture down the stairs to be disposed of, sold or donated. I got some large, clear bins for the items I imagined must have sentimental value which I wrapped and stored in hopefully a safer way. I hope we are making the right choices!

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