How do you compress 70 years of homemaking into one room? That is the question that I've been asking myself all week. My 90 year old grandmother (please don't tell her that I told you her age--she'd kill me) has decided that she can no longer live alone and wants to move into my mom's house. My mom, aunt and I are here now trying to help her get her house ready for selling and moving, but it's tough. I can see why people wait for relatives to die, before going through this process. For one, everything in this house has a memory. The blankets, the books, the clothes, the knick knacks, the plates, even the scraps of paper and mass market pamphlets--everything. The other problem arises from the fact that my grandmother is of the generation that saved, reused, recycled--hoarded-- everything. If it still had some life in it, it got used. To you or I it might look like trash, but to her, someone can get some use out of it. Add to that someone who is very thoughtful, but forgetful, so she buys cards to send, or picks up a toy to give, but then forgets where she put it, and so buys something else.... On top of that there is the mail... OH THE MAIL... I think I might be in some circle of hell. There are endless piles of mail that need to be open, sorted, and anything with personal information in it needs to be shredded. I have been opening mail for two days and there is still mail. Did you know that the VFWW, the Diabetes council, and many of the feed the hungry programs send money in their mailers? Today alone I have made over $5 in money just from mailers. And I don't mean to suggest she's a hoarder, but she's been housekeeping for at least 60 years, living in the same house for 12, and there was a long stretch of time when she was the sole caregiver for my grandfather who suffered from Alzheimers.
My grandmother is a trooper. My mother is relentlessly trashing things and my grandmother has tried her hardest to stay out of the way. I know it is hard on her. We are throwing away, and boxing up her life. It's hard on me and it's not my stuff. I know we are doing the right thing, but every so often I think that there has to be an easier way. But I don't think there is. We only have a week to spend here, I have to go back to my family (and then China), and my mom and aunt can't take any more time off work to come back. It has to be done this way. But I know it hurts. I can tell by my grandmother's sad eyes as she watches the bags fill up. It hurts, but I don't know of any other way.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
I know I've been absent now for over a month, but I've had good reason. First, there was the horrible, awful, no good, very bad plane ride with Honeydog and United-- I'm not going to go into it, other than to say the new pet policy is NOT helpful AT ALL. But then right after we arrived in the US DH called with some shocking news and a decision to be made. Basically, someone whispered an amazing opportunity into my husband's ear and suggested he apply for it. BUT what that meant was that he would have to break his upcoming DC assignment to do it. The opportunity was of the once in a career kind that could not be passed up so DH took the leap. But that meant that for the last month we have been living in a kind of limbo where every waking thought was "are we moving? We're not moving. We are moving! We're not moving. Are we moving? My parents are going to be so disappointed. Are we moving?"
And I'm happy/sad/still in shock/excited/disappointed to say that we are indeed moving to Wuhan China. I'm happy and excited because this will be a fantastic opportunity for DH and our family will again have the opportunities only available to us while we are overseas. On the other hand, I was looking forward to being in the US and being closer to my family and getting to know my niece and brand new nephew. I also had begun to paint our house in fabulous colors and doing the work made the whole US experience feel much more real and possible.
But alas, we are moving to Wuhan for good or ill. I guess it's good for you, since I can continue to regale you with stories of China and pictures of the crazy experiences we will have. My stories of the US would have been a lot more mundane with a lot of pictures of me in Wal Mart, Target, or sitting around in my house (probably not but I'm feeling pessimistic and tired right now)
As of yet we still don't have an estimated departure time, but I'm sure it will come all too soon.