Thursday, October 28, 2010

Downsizing... a moving experience in more ways than one

Home Sweet Home!
Whew! Thanks to my new neighbors, Jack and Eric the physical moving went off without a hitch. Well... not much of one any way. I rented a U-Haul truck, but it wasn't near big enough, so we had to make 2 trips. Jack is the husband of the listing agent of the house I bought, which just so happens to also be my neighbor. Eric is Jack's son. I owe my life to those 2 guys!!!! They moved EVERYTHING!!

I know I brought way too much stuff to the new house. Downsizing and all that... but I had to move out so quickly that I was afraid I would leave something important behind. At least I can throw out the stuff from here that I don't want... but am secure in the knowledge that I have everything I really want.

Speaking of trash and throwing out stuff... The trash removal around here is AWESOME!!! At the old house we had to pay for a private company to haul our trash. They came once a week. Larger things like box springs, old rugs and such needed 'stickers' that you had to purchase from the company, making this an expensive proposition. Once a year the township held 'dump day' where you could bring your larger items to the dump... IF you applied for the special resident dump sticker, stood on your head and asked politely.

At my new house the trash gets picked up TWICE a week!!! And large items can go on the curb every other Wednesday. AND... here's the kicker... this service is all included in the TAXES!!!

As a matter of fact... I was used to having trash removal included in my taxes. I remember when I moved to the old house there was a note on the kitchen counter stating trash had to be on the curb every Wednesday night. So... we took the trash out every Wednesday night. One morning 3 years later while standing at the school bus stop with the kids I heard my neighbors complaining that trash removal costs were rising. If I were really paying attention I would have realized then that we were supposed to be paying for private trash pick up. However, being brain dead... I just smiled politely and wondered to myself why they would even care about the prices going up. Were they afraid of their taxes increasing?

So imagine my surprise 4 years after that conversation (having lived in the house for seven years now) when I received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon from a guy named Nunzio from Raritan Valley Trash Company. He asked if we were a customer of theirs, because it seems they have been picking up our trash and he didn't see our name on his customer list. Hmmmm... it started to make sense to me now. Long story short... Nunzio said his job was to keep track of all the new people moving in to the area and sign them up as customers. I explained that we weren't new... we have lived there for 7 years. Nunzio FREAKED!!! "We've been picking up your trash for seven years, and I didn't know it"? He asked. "You can't prove it", I replied. Nunzio was afraid he would be fired if his boss found out about the seven years... so we compromised... I paid for a year. THAT was the day I learned that not all trash removal is paid for with tax dollars.
My lake view

Back to the new house... It's my HOME. I fall asleep to chirping crickets and wake up with squawking ducks... and a smile on my face. The old house represented my past... raising the kids, taking care of an ailing husband, running the parent/teacher association, girl scout leader and all the rest. This new house represents my new life, my future. Sewing, baking, calm lake water and breezes, walks on the beach just a few miles away. Learning to fit all of my belongings in a space one third the size that I'm used to.

Trying to get my kitchen under control, I began to unpack some boxes the first night I was there. Much to my surprise, I never once gave a thought to where things would go. I grasped my wok close to my chest and spun around realizing there was absolutely no space large enough to hold it. This house is over 90 years old. They didn't have woks back then. There isn't a space for a wok. Come to think of it, I didn't see a pantry either. I started to panic. What was I thinking??? This house is way too small!! Look at the refrigerator... it too is small. AAACCCCKKKKK!

"Calm down", my friend said. "You don't have a need for a larger space or refrigerator, you are downsizing, remember"? "Are you disappointed you bought this house?", he asked.

I had to really think a moment before I answered. My life as I knew it, was rapidly changing... almost overnight. Was I ready for this? Part of me is excited about it all... yet another part is extremely sad. I miss my kids. My house is quiet. Not enough commotion. Who will I discuss how my day went with? Who will console me when I'm upset? How in the world do I only cook for one? I see a lonely future ahead. It's time to learn a new way to live.

"No, I'm not disappointed. It will just mean a different way of thinking on my part".

The next morning was a new day, with a new attitude. I went downstairs to the kitchen, took a deep breath and started to put things away. So I didn't have a pantry any more, so what... I had a whole bank of narrow cabinets along one wall that would work well. Things would only be one deep so I could easily find what I was searching for. And snacks could be put on top of the refrigerator, the dog food fits nicely in the basement landing. Using my many years of jigsaw puzzle experience I found new places for everything so far. Deciding it was time to take a break, I thought it would be nice to bake some brownies for my daughter Lauren. The move had been tough on her and maybe the waft of sweet chocolate and the familiar brownie smell will make her feel more comfortable.

Now... where are the mixing bowls? Damn... they aren't unpacked yet... but I know where the wok is! So, on my first morning in my new house as I begin the next chapter of my life I made a batch of brownies using a wok (bowl), fork (wooden spoon), and coffee mug (measuring cup). You know what? The brownies turned out just fine. I will be just fine.
Some critter is munching my pumpkin!!

1 comment:

  1. What a CUTE cottage! And a beautiful view! Congratulations!