Monday, May 2, 2016

Soooooo Much Stuff

We returned home from our spring break week completely exhausted, both physically and mentally.  In the last month since we bought our house up in Woodstock, we've spent ten days painting six rooms, sanded and painted two floors, and cleaned both inside the house and outside in the garden.  We had a few days before our storage unit arrived this week to finish up the painting and preparing for the arrival of a four-bedroom house worth of stuff.

After painting the walls and floor here, we decided to rip out that window seat.
Covered up lots of pink and peach paint around the house.

Proud of ourselves for figuring out how to put in that wall light above.
We took evening walks over to Lake Cooper across the street.  Unfortunately, it's a reservoir and not a recreation lake, but it's still beautiful to stroll around.

While Kevin and I worked hard, the kids kept themselves entertained by working in the garden, building fairy houses, and writing and producing a musical.

Watching a robin build her nest right in front of our window
Kevin in his happy place.
I was so excited the night before the truck was to arrive that I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't wait to see our furniture and kitchen toys and artwork that we've missed so much these last three and a half years.

I swear I didn't pose them like this - this is how they were standing
But almost as soon as the truck pulled up (and the above truck had to make TWO trips - our stuff was actually in an 80 foot trailer/rig that was too long to pull near our house), my stomach started to tighten.  As I watched our furniture and boxes being pulled off the truck and put in the house, I knew the stuff didn't belong here.  This was our California furniture.  These paintings belonged on our walls in San Mateo.  Each and every box was filled with memories of parties thrown in our backyard in the suburbs.  I was only partway through unpacking the second box when I had to stop and hide in the backyard so that the kids wouldn't see me bawling.

I was feeling so far from home.

The kids didn't even wait to get the boxes inside before tearing them open on the lawn.
Throughout the night I cried off and on, feeling conflicted because I know how happy we are here in New York.  And our life in California wasn't better or worse than our life out here, just different.  I had to keep reminding myself that this is just the current chapter of our lives.

I also was feeling really ashamed as I continued to unpack boxes.  Our life in California involved a lot more entertaining than it does out here and the contents of our boxes proved it.  I wondered why in the world we needed separate dishes for "everyday" and "formal" meals.  Both my china and everyday dishes are white.  And then I have an entire extra set of plastic dishes for when we're eating outside.  I unpacked about ten different pitchers, 4 coffee thermoses, dozens of platters, 7 or 8 cutting boards, and so many vases that even the movers were laughing when they carried in yet another box labeled "Vases".  We have glassware for BBQs, for everyday wine, and crystal for formal meals.  I had so many boxes labeled table linens that I didn't even bother opening most of them.  I had about a dozen different loaf pans in varying sizes in glass, metal, and ceramic.

Over the last three and a half years we've gotten by with just a single set of cheap dishes from IKEA, two pots, two pans, and two wine glasses.  And you know what?  It was plenty.  I think we all just fill the space that we have and in New York, since I don't have much space, I'm much more conscious of how much stuff we have.  It's been nice to live simply.  But when we lived in a four-bedroom house with a garage, it didn't really matter if I brought home yet another cute serving dish for a BBQ we were throwing that weekend.  I knew I could just throw it in the garage when I was done with it.

I was seriously shedding tears over this.

So at the end of our first night of unpacking, Kevin and I decided to open up a very nice, old bottle of wine that was given to us by our good friends Doug and Valerie on our wedding day.  Even though we hadn't showered that day and were still covered in paint, we unwrapped two fine crystal wine glasses and shared this delicious bottle of red wine, surrounded by bubble wrap and cardboard boxes.


The kids were less emotional than I was and really loved opening boxes of toys and books that they had forgotten all about.  Unfortunately, there were a few items that they hadn't forgotten about that didn't make the cut when we were packing up the house and were carted off to Goodwill.

Ella slept the first night surrounded by a dozen dolls she hasn't seen in years.

We spent the next few days unpacking as much as we could and after storing all of this stuff for several years and paying to have it shipped all the way across the country, I'm embarrassed at how big the pile to donate has become.

We raced home on Saturday, back to the city, to see the Giants play the Mets at Citifield in Queens.  It was a nice way to cheer us up after a very long week.


And on Sunday, even though there was quite a bit of rain, the kids played on their soccer and baseball teams.

Kevin and the kids on their way to soccer

Holden's urban baseball field
I was happy to stay at home and unpack and do laundry, in our dry apartment and feel grateful for it all.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness Gretchen,you certainly are your Mother's daughter. Your closing poster could have come right out of your Mother's mouth. Wonderful Post!