Recently a friend told me that he was thinking of moving down the hill to the town I live in. He’d been living in a smaller town in the hills for quite a few years. He’d always said he liked it there better because it’s cooler in the summer. But recently, he’d decided that he should move to ‘town’ before he gets old, so that he is closer to services and he doesn’t have to drive up and down the hill several times a day, like he does now. At that time he was in town early for morning coffee and then he’d go back home to hang out before he came back down to go to the gym or play racquetball. Sometimes if he didn’t feel like driving home he just hung out in town for a few hours, until his next engagement.
This made good sense to me. He is 73, and will surely begin to get old one of these days. I suggested a neighborhood of rather luxurious duplexes close to my house. It has good access to shopping and medical services and the homes are spacious and comfortable. He looked at one with me and a couple of other friends, and then we didn’t hear much more about it. He is famous for circling the drain around a decision. He can search and research a purchase for something like an iPad or a new iPhone or even a blender for months before making the plunge. I could only imagine how long he’d take to decide on a new home.
There is the added issue of his being something of a hoarder. He lives for thrift stores and yard sales, and basks in the glory of having spent only $8.00 on a like-new NorthFace jacket. He has 100 such jackets, and even more primo Hawaiian shirts. You can imagine that he has quite a bit of stuff to move. I kind of forgot about his moving idea as it seemed too big to actually act on. I halfway expected he’d just stay where it was, having exhausted the idea of moving.
Until a Sunday a couple of weeks later when I learned that he had purchased one of those duplexes and was going to be moving in two weeks. I was so impressed. I learned that when he got mad at his loan agent because the escrow was going to take an additional two weeks, he just up and paid cash for the new place. Yikes! What happened to my drain circling friend?! I commented on how we had both made a decision to move and had accomplished it within a month or so, and he replied, “Yes, we’re very decisive people.” It would seem that he is, at least.
Last Saturday he moved to town. He sold his house the day before and had the movers come on Saturday. I went to visit, and was very impressed with his beautiful new home. My friends and I sat down with him for a little visit, and suggested a few possibilities for TV placement and CD storage. He confessed that he was completely at sea about how to set up his new kitchen. He was afraid he’d put things in the wrong places. I offered to come and unpack it and put it all away for him.
So Easter Sunday morning, after coffee with friends, I went to set up his kitchen. I’ve never seen a kitchen with so much storage. I took some Post-it notes and a marker, to label the cupboards. By the time I got there, he’d unpacked everything, so all I had to do was figure out where to put it. He was amazingly willing to get rid of stuff, so it went quickly. Within an hour and a half we were done. All the dishes and pots and pans and utensils were put away, and there were Post-its labeling each drawer and cupboard door. Easy peasy.
Now he says I’m a genius. So I’m decisive and a genius. Wow. I wonder what he’d call me if I actually did something difficult! And now his real work begins. He has to dispose of years worth of thrift shopping before escrow closes on the old place in a month. It appears that he’s up for the challenge. He is an inspiration to me, as I identify greatly with the drain circling.
Although I sold and bought my new house much as he did (not paying cash for it, however!), and I did get rid of a lot of stuff when I moved, there are things that I just didn’t know what to do with. They are all still in my garage, two and a half years later. Then I think about my former husband who recently died, leaving a barn and a house chock full of stuff. As my daughters and I go through it all, I think of my garage. Even if I purge the relatively few things that sit out there, there will still be a lot to go through to wrap up my life when the time comes. The least I can do is clean the garage.