Tuesday, February 14, 2012

# 202 - Storage on Top of Storage

A death in the family is something that will shake you up and turn you upside down. Even though our family is not directly involved in the activities required for these funeral preparations, etc., we are still impacted in other ways. Deputy Dave has been asked to be a Pallbearer for the funeral this coming Wednesday at noon; however, he is not allowed time off from work for a death in the family unless it is an immediate family member...aunts and uncles are not considered immediate enough.

Also, the Sheriff's Dept. is short-handed about 600+ Deputies, so time off is not something that comes easy these days, even with seniority. So, it doesn't look as if he will be able to attend the funeral, but he will be going in uniform to the wake on Tuesday, today, to pay respects to his Aunt Shirley.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law will be staying at our house during the days of the Wake and Funeral. My father-in-law has lost a sister. I know this is a tough time for him to lose more of his chain of history...more connections to his past are disappearing. I feel for him.

Saturday night, my in-laws came over and we played Dominoes for a few hours, a game I love to play called "Chicken-Foot." I guess it'd be natural that I'd like that game, considering I have chickens in the backyard. It's nice to be able to visit with them, especially since they like playing games. Everyone in my family loves to play cards, dominoes, and board games; we are very competitive. My daughters knew how to play Poker by the time they were in Kindergarten. Yep, they sure did. Five-card draw, Seven-card stud, Mexican Sweat, and on and on.

Our weekend family gatherings included each adult bringing their money jar so we could play some penny-poker. That penny-poker sometimes graduated into higher coins...nickels, dimes, quarters and the pot would grow and grow. We always joked that we were gambling away our kids' college funds. At least all of us adult siblings would have the chance to spend quality time together, with good home-cooked food and laughs that went into the wee morning hours. Our children, all cousins, were able to play together for hours as us parents roared while playing our games. There is no doubt, we adults were the biggest kids of all.

I think about all of these wonderful times we've had with our brothers and sisters, then I look at my father-in-law and think about his sister dying. It must be terrible to lose a sibling...someone you played with during childhood, someone who likely drove you nuts, someone who knew all the good and the bad of home-life. That person becomes a touch-stone, a reminder of where you come from. For them to pass away, it must seem as if a part of you and your past are also dying.

So, I tried my best to distract my father-in-law over the weekend. I made him dinner and we all ate together in the formal dining room like a good family. We told too many jokes that made my side hurt with laughter. We played Dominoes and us girls whipped the boys butts...I have grace, but not SO MUCH that I will lose on purpose. No way! And we just enjoy being with Deputy Dave's parents for the short time we get to see them.

They are full-time RVer's who long ago sold SOME of what they had and the left-over things were sent to the homes of their four children. None of us children with our four separate households realized that we would be enlisted to keep so many of their belongings in our attics or in our living rooms, or bedrooms or wherever a place could be found. None of us realized the lengthy commitment we'd be making in taking in large pieces of furniture or big bulky boxes that we certainly didn't want to add to our own crammed attic and closet space.

But, those parents were tricky. I think my mother-in-law tried to convince everyone that they were fortunate to "babysit" these things.

It got worse, once their own children no longer had extra room for all of their belongings, then the RVer's shoved a few straggler things onto the one grown grandchild who had a small house available. There was no shame in spreading all their stuff around so that they would, essentially, still have all their stuff around.

So, there is a BIG hitch when they say they sold everything or when they claim to live with minimal "stuff." That's not exactly true...well...yes...THEY are living with minimal stuff in their RV while the rest of the family is crammed in with their things. If the in-law's things were collected and put into one area, it'd be shocking to see how significant their things would add up to be when not separated...all of us would have to confront how we've been totally suckered into this "free-storage" plan of theirs over the past 15 years.

I guess they had us all figured out. It's been a good one. They are two smart cookies those in-laws of mine.

It's kind of funny. How can people who live in an RV have so much freakin stuff? Sometimes, I think we all just want to say, "Get a house already and come take your stuff back!"

They aren't exactly the "free" snowbirds they had pictured themselves to be. If you are having someone "babysit" your furniture along with boxes and boxes of your belongings, then you aren't really doing anything other than temporarily living without your belongings while someone else is forced to live with them.

If any of us have understood these "retirement" plans beforehand, the in-laws just might have been required to get a nice climate-controlled storage facility to hold all of their things. Each Christmas, we have to listen to someone mumble and grumble about having to push aside the RVer's boxes and boxes of things so that the household could get to their own tree and decorations. It's comical.

The kicker is...the stuff doesn't stop showing up. It keeps getting dumped off into Deputy Dave's garage. Our garage may be packed to the ceiling, but Deputy Dave knows exactly what is in that garage and he knows exactly what must be done to pull out his utility trailer with the lawn tractor and if anything shows up to block it, which it will after his parents have visited, then he's ready to blow a gasket. And we're not talking small stuff that you might overlook...the latest was two worn out moutain bikes with rusty parts. Uh, Thanks?

I know one thing is for sure, we've been getting rid of the excess that continually shows up in our two-car garage because we have NOT had room for that stuff to begin with and we certainly don't want to deal with having to move it all to our acreage. Once we're on our acreage, I can tell you with certainty that Deputy Dave will absolutely not volunteer his clean, organized space as extra storage space for someone else. Just because he might have a clean corner in his workshop does not mean he will be looking to fill it up. He might want it to stay cleared out and uncluttered.

I'm sure he will make it clear that his workshop is not a drop off zone and that if he hasn't purchased something for his shop after great consideration, then he will not be dedicating precious space for it to sit and get in his way. He's already a fairly organized guy; I can only imagine how he'll be happy to get his workshop in order and to keep it exactly as he pleases.

So, I guess the funeral will come and go, then my in-laws will be back on the road. I'm hoping they don't show up with yet another item to "set aside" in our jam-packed garage. It seems inevitable, yet almost like a skit out of Carol Burnette.

I know the in-laws are eager to get back to their RV that they left in Arizona after getting the call about Aunt Shirley passing away. Let's just hope our visit with the in-laws at our house brings only the two of them with their lovely stories and side-aching jokes and NO more garage stuff. Yes, I'll take the used books because I actually READ them, but Deputy Dave's garage is closed to anything extra. He's up to his eyeballs in garage stress already.

When the day comes to move out of our home, I am not quite sure what we will be expected to do with their old, bulky, out-dated, oak three-piece entertainment center that we've been forced to tote around with us for years. It's been against a garage side-wall, taking up a lot of space that would have been better suited to industrial shelving with ease of access. What are we going to do with that monstrous entertainment center that is designed for an old box-style television? I really don't want to move it to our property only to watch it sit in the new workshop for another fifteen years while in appropriately used for odd storage items.

We'll have to figure something out with the in-laws very quickly.

I don't mind holding boxes of things for my mother-in-law. She just has a lot of stuff. A lot of collectibles, all kinds of collectibles and knick-knacks galore. I love how my mother-in-law loves to tell each of her daughter-in-law's, "You sure have a lot of stuff," while we're the women holding onto the mother-in-law's numerous collections. It's really quite funny if you think about it.

When she says that to me, I just say, "Yes, I do...and's all inside MY house! How about that unique concept?!"

Lucky for me, the sneaky mother-in-law also has a fabulous sense of humor. She's knows exactly what this is all about, even if she bats her eyes and plays innocent. We're onto the "storage plan." It only took us fifteen years though to completely figure it out. We're slow, but we got there! That's what counts. We've got them figured out!

I don't think she gets it sometimes because I think she has convenient memory lapses about their storage plan that's based upon their four children and one of their grandchildren. Regardless, our moving process will give us a good chance to re-take inventory.

In the opposite direction, this weekend I sent my oldest daughter to her home with another large box of things from her bedroom. It was time for her to decide what to do with those things. Did she still want the pink box full of notes from Junior High? I don't I put all of those kinds of things in the big box so she can decide while sitting in her own house.

I guess our lives are full of THINGS. I look around and so much of our home is full of items that have great meaning from being passed down through several generations. Other things have served a temporary purpose and can really hit the road. Preparing for our move has forced us to take stock of what we own and what we REALLY want to take with us.

Looks like we're disposing ourselves of quite a lot of furnishings. Sometimes I'm a bit amazed at how much we're about to part with since we worked so hard to be able to buy it. However, a cabin won't be as accommodating as this house when it comes to furnishings. First of all, we will no longer need three dining areas. We won't need our King-sized bed with the large accessory pieces of furniture that goes with it. We won't need two leather seating groups. We won't need executive-sized office furniture and equipment. And we won't need all of the kitchen gadgets that have been cluttering our cabinetry and counterspace.

I guess this week has made me think a lot about life and death and the things that we choose to surround ourselves with...those things should make us smile, not cringe. On this point, I'm happy that I've put extra consideration into what we let enter our private domain. I am picky, that's for sure.

I'd rather have less in our house, but the contents should be higher quality. If it is going to come into our house or workshop, it better have a dang good reason to be there and the DESIRE to own it better be flying off the scale or it's not allowed. As for the "babysitting" of items belonging to someone else...There's no sense in adding more clutter to our lives so that others can live without it. I guess the rule should be, if it's dropped off at our house, be prepared to part with it permanently. Otherwise, get a storage facility. I don't think we want to be storage buddies any longer.

No offense, it's just...we're preparing to retire and that means preparing for an easier life...which amounts to...less stuff. Period.

One day, my kids will probably inherit a small farm. Deputy Dave and I will have nice things for our girls to have for their own households, if they wish. If not, they can ask other members in the family if they'd like the family heirlooms, if not...there's always E-Bay.


Mike said...

We never were a family to push stuff onto others. It was ours and we kept it or asked if anyone wanted it. If not, back then? Yard sale or trash.

Maybe a mention to the outlaws of what they're going to do with their stuff when you move is needed. ;)

Vickie said...

Lana, I think you should ask your in-laws what they want done with their stuff when you move. Be direct. Tell them you can't take it with you so you can either sell it in your garage sales OR you can put it into storage for them and then have the bill sent to them. They can still go RV-ing. They can do a direct monthly debit from their bank account or they can pay a year in advance. I manage two self-storages and it's easy-peasy. Dave can get somebody to help him move it, but you should NOT have to be responsible for all that stuff. Besides that, at some point they are going to have to quit traveling when they get older. Most likely they will not be able to have all that stuff in their home OR if they are in a retirement home or something - they flat won't have room. Get rid of it now or you'll be getting rid of it later.

Sorry, I hope I don't sound harsh - but we have been going through my husband's family things for the last 3 years and we finally got rid of everything that was not wanted. It's a huge headache and not a job that you want to drag out. We'll be doing the same with MY folks' household some day and I am not making the same mistake again. Maybe all you KIDS could get together on this and put ALL their stuff in storage!

Vickie said...

Better yet - if they store their belongings for more than 3-4 months, they could easily have spent that money on NEW items that they may need in their future home! They should just go ahead and sell all they can. It'll be much easier down the road!

Rae said...

I agree with Vickie on the "store it somewhere else, or I'll sell it" plan. :)

You'll likely get some storage requests when you move out to your property. We did. Had a friend suggest that perhaps he could park his fifth wheel out at our place, because after all, we have all that acreage. My reaction was, "sure, no problem...for $100 a month." He didn't take my offer... :)

LindaG said...

What Mike said.

What are you doing with your excess? Yard sale?
Tell the in-laws you don't have room and they can either let you sell it (giving them the money for RV expenses), or donate it to a worthy cause.

Good luck, and you have my sympathies. ♥

Charade said...

This is hilarious! And since your MIL has a good sense of humor, I'd take advantage of that and prepare a somewhat tongue-in-cheek eviction notice with some real bite to it and a deadline. Keep us posted. This saga could get good.

A Primitive Homestead said...

So sorry your family has lost a member. Your own household stuff would be enough for me. I have started to clean out things. Knowing I will have to move sometime. Still waiting to receive the divorce papers my spouce has yet to have made & file. Still threats. No way I can take it all with me & well I dont really want to. Heck I would rather dig up my flower beds & move all my rock beds. Our own kids leave behind enough stuff. Deputy Dave will have to start preparing his parents soon. They may decide they dont want it all after all this time & want to sort it first. Best of luck. Blessings! Lara said...

Mike --- I think that once we start pulling everything out of the attic, it will be absolutely necessary to get an answer from them about what they want us to do with their belongings. After all, we are selling OUR OWN STUFF in order to sell our house and move, we certainly don't want to keep toting and storing other people's things if we aren't even keeping all of our own things.

Vickie --- There will be no way around it, we'll have to find a new home for their things...large, bulky things that have no purpose for us to keep hanging onto for more years. And you make an excellent point about them settling down and needing new things. All of their belongings that were left behind 15 years ago are worn out and not suitable anyway, especially some of the furnishings that are with other family members...they have been through years and years of kids. One family member has a leather sofa of my mother-in-law's and it is so worn out...the springs are broken, the arms are crooked and the green colored leather is faded terribly, but the MIL keeps making comments about "bringing it back to life with a dye job" when REALLY means, "you can't get rid of it because I think it's still fabulous." It is actually funny. I need to take a picture of this sofa and post because it makes everyone in the family have a good chuckle. I think my husband would've tossed it years ago. I do like a well-worn brown leather chair, but not green leather. Actually, the sofa has to be about 20 years old because the MIL bought it after Deputy Dave and I returned from Germany, then after she had it for about five years, she gave it to another brother to "babysit" and that's been another 15 years. Twenty year old sofa, only needs a dye job. :-)And the women in the family have DEFINITELY discussed disposing ourselves of these outdated things that only add to our storage problems that we have ourselves. I can tell you one thing, the in-laws would NOT be "babysitting" anything for anyone. LOL. I do think the advice to sell it is the best advice. I'd be glad to give them the garage sale money. Deputy Dave would be tickled pink, almost.

Rae --- I do believe that your experience will be our issue to deal with as well. Your way of handling it will probably be our way as well. We will not store things on our acreage. Deputy Dave will NOT want to mow around it, we won't want the eyesore or the issues of liability. But, I know there will be some people who will view that open space like free eye candy for their taking.

Linda --- We're definitely having a garage sale. We've got a lot of things to sell and I'll be glad to see a lot of it go Bye-Bye!! I don't think we'll make a fortune off the garage sale, but at least we might be able to buy a needed tool or something for the building of our cabin.

Charade --- She does have a great sense of humor, but not about HER stuff! There are certain areas that Deputy Dave just has to put his foot down and he's only stored their stuff for so long because his garage is settled in the "as is" state it is in, but he won't be willing to pay for movers, a moving truck, for storage space, for workshop practicality...just for them to have old crap to admire when visiting. I really have the attitude of..."You wanted to travel full-time in the RV, well, it's time that you REALLY live without your stuff cause we ain't keeping it NO MO!"

Lara --- I love antiques and we bought some beautiful, heirloom pieces from Deputy Dave's grandmother's estate sale, and these are treasures that we will be sure to pass down to future generations, but this "...made in China" storage situation is ridiculous! I think the MIL has a hard time realizing that those things were fad-furnishings when they were purchased and they are definitely not treasures. Ouch, but true. I'm just glad that we didn't get loaded down with the green sofa!