Julie Stalmer 6:30 p.m., July 23
- Community Blog
- shanty town
Domestic Downsizing or How to Put an Elephant in a Baggy
With the onset of health issues regarding both my dad and mother-in-law, we opted to move to a larger house three years ago. Feeling it was important to bring one or both elderly and ailing parents to live with us, to enable us to care for them.
We found the perfect house. The house was situated on a hill in Escondido just a few miles from where we lived and it sported a view. With over an acre of land, the property boasted a collection of fruit, nut and avocado trees. My mother-in-law fell in love with it. She felt so at peace in the park like atmosphere.
We had moved from a 1600 square foot house to almost 3000 square feet. Unbelievably we filled the house, except for one bedroom and the formal living room. Which of course we filled immediately. Giving my 6'3" daughter the bed of her dreams.....a California King. We also added new furniture to the sparsely furnished formal living room.
Our euphoria of being in the new house was to be short lived. My beloved mother-in-law was never able to make the move. She developed cancer and was gone within a year. She spent one Christmas in the new house and was gone six months later. Leaving a sad, empty hole in our hearts.
To make matters worse, the housing industry was now in crisis and our family and the country were faced with layoffs and financial crunching.
We had kept our first home and had rented it out. We lost our renters and had to decide which house we wanted to keep. We opted for the older home. With one floor it would be much better for me and my arthritic, bone on bone knees. We were also grandfathered in on our tax base, so it was the most sensible choice for us to make.
Decisions. Decisions. Let's see.....lower tax base, lower payments, one floor, less square footage to clean. Our older home was shouting, "Pick me. Pick me."
So we did. We painted, cleaned, scraped the acoustic ceilings, and had them re-textured to a beautiful knockdown. We also had some plumbing issues addressed. All while placing our new home on the market. Then we began the longest move in history.
Our move was to last longer than most Hollywood marriages. The new house was sold and we were to be out by January 31st. Then my Automotive Karma died. First my car broke down on Jan 8th and exactly 7 days later on Jan 15th the transmission on my husband's truck went out.
We were relying on both the van and truck to help us in our 3 1/2 mile journey. Did I mention the rains started then? The rains, no vehicles. I was praying for a miracle.
God answered my prayers-sort of. The house fell out of escrow. Not exactly the miracle I prayed for, but it took the pressure off of us. The realtor was also part of the miracle, loaning us his old beater car.
Well, it used to be a car. It now boasted no shocks, no heater, no radio, no horn and a cracked windshield. There was also selective pieces of moulding missing at different locations around the car. If I made too sharp a turn, the sun visor would come flying off just missing my head, as the car rocked back and forth like a boat smashing against waves. I was feeling blessed that I was actually able to get to work driving anything at all.
I started bringing home boxes which we filled and transported across our 3 1/2 mile trek to the other house, using the shelter of the beater car. After living in our older home for 17 years, you'd think I could remember how to put the puzzle back together. Not so easy.
With knick knacks and paddy whacks, I gave the Tupperware a home. While finding a spot for the garden gnome. It's not so easy downsizing. Today for instance, I packed 12 boxes of food items. Spices, canned goods, flour, sugar, cereal and oats. Everything from my spice cabinet and pantry. There was an additional 22 boxes of dishware and cookware, cutlery and Tupperware. (one box was just Tupperware lids!!!!) No wonder my husband gets so upset when he has to match the container to the top.
I'm not quite sure how it happened. It seems I put a few choice pieces of plastic together and they produced a litter. Multiplying like rabbits in the Spring when I wasn't looking. The same thing happened with my dishware and cookware.
For our anniversary two years ago, my dear friend Dana gave us a set of beautiful white stoneware. Now we have four sets. When my mother-in-law was alive she endowed me with extra large Dutch ovens. She wanted to make sure I had large enough pots for making my gumbo and for steaming my tamales. They also came in handy for canning my homemade jams and marmalades. We now have gone from four bathrooms to two and need to find room for everything.
These days I find myself mumbling under my breath a lot, as I pack and unpack a plethora of boxes. My husband says to sell it all in a yard sale, because it will never fit. It's been a long time since I had this puzzle put together, and now it's in pieces all over the house and garage.
I just tell him to be patient as I put all the exterior pieces together and work my way to the middle. It's nice because now the puzzle picture is starting to take form.