Friday, May 1, 2015

Countdown to Qatar: Letting Go

If I Don't Love it, 
It's Gone, Girl!

Since I got the job offer in mid-March, I have had to think deeply about what I really care about keeping.  I've settled on three sets of items:  my extensive CD collection, some of my original artwork, and my ADR book collection.  

The Crap I Don't Even Miss!

As I readied the house for sale, I made one purge. Brenda, my personal assistant on the home front, carted off trunk loads of clothing, purses, kitchen items, linens, and other things I don't even miss.   

(Brenda's friend, Jean, wants one of my Michael Kors purses, but she's not getting it.  My Kors purses are the only purses I'm taking with me, except for four evening bags.  Silly that I think I will need four evening bags, but they are small and won't take up much room in a suitcase.)

Jerry, my handyman, carted off several truckloads of stuff, including some furniture. He's putting an aquarium on this side board.  My mom would be horrified, but this, too, is part of the process of letting go. 

Family Heirlooms

I've mailed family heirlooms to members of my extended family and to family friends.  I've loved these items, but it is time to let go: 
  • Dad's handmade baby clothes; 
  • Photos from the 1800s; 
  • A quilt made about 1850; 
  • My childhood chair; 
  • A fox fur muff with satin trim that some Victorian ancestor used to keep her hands warm; 
  • My Grandma Louise's handkerchief collection; 
  • A cross-stitch sampler my mother, Jo Ann, created; 
  • My Grandma Babe's silver dinnerware (yes, they called her that instead of her given name, Alberta); 
  • My mom's set of china; 
  • My set of pink rosebud china and the matching stemware; and 
  • Two vases that sat on my Mom's mantle for two decades or more.  
As soon as the house sells, my second cousin, Cami, will get the ironstone collection three generations of Drinkwater women built, including me. I have loved having it, but now it's time to pass it along.  I am, however, keeping all the water pitchers (not the coffee pots).   

Books and DVDs

I have always collected books.  Even now, I prefer the hard copy to digital, although that may change once I get to Qatar.  When I moved from Columbia, Missouri to Grundy, the mover complained about all my heavy boxes of books. He snarkingly asked: "What are you?  A writer?"  I paused a moment and then said, "Yes." 

Every May, I do sort through books and get them on the ASL yard sale that benefits Relay for Life.  Even so, this time, I donated about nine boxes of books, mostly literary fiction, to the Grundy Library.  What they can't put in the collection, they will sell at an upcoming fundraising event.  I saw the Library Director recently, and she was effusive with thanks.  As I walked away from that encounter, it occurred to me that bits of me will be distributed throughout the community through my books.  I really like that. 

I started collecting DVDs when I decided to quit paying for satellite TV.  I could buy $70 of DVDs a month and be in about the same place in buying entertainment.  When we cleaned them all out (for a second time), I gave about seven boxes of DVDs to the local library.

From both collections, I saved just about a box of my favorite books and DVDs.  They will go in storage along with most of my cookbooks.  I've decided to take four cookbooks with me: my Bon Appetite cookbook, From Julia Child's Kitchen, a Mediterranean cookbook, and a Thai cookbook. 

The Furniture

Brenda wants my master bedroom furniture, my dining room table, and the rest of my living room. She already has most of my Christmas decorations and about half the living room furniture. 

Brenda will also hold for me an antique bedroom set.  The family myth holds that the chest of drawers came from east Kentucky to Illinois on a covered wagon.  I don't buy it, but it is a lovely set.  If I ever come home, I might want to claim it for my room in assisted living. 

My colleague, Prissy, has gotten a Christmas crèche, made of colored tinfoil, from Poland that caught her eye long ago, a porch swing, wicker porch furniture, three chafing dishes, and two double decker casserole carriers.

Colleagues, Pat or Henry (I am not involved in that negotiation) will claim my three oak glass-front bookcases. Local attorney, Stephen Gooch, got another set of three bookcases for his office. 

Colleague, Stewart, will get my practically new, real leather club chair.  It is going to very loving hands, but I will miss it. So will Boo Boo Abernathy.

The Dogs

And, the dogs.  Brenda will take ailing and aged, Maria Ouspanskya.

Boo Boo Abernathy will go to a "widow lady with two other little dogs" who lives down in Garden Creek.  Lily Golightly will escape the confines of a fenced yard and join Paul, a second-career law student, and his wife on a farm they call Dog Heaven. No joke!  

I am paying all food and vet bills.  

Giving up the dogs is a very big sacrifice, but they are not welcome in the Middle East, even if the domestic dog probably arose from the region.  Blogger Daniel Pipes has one theory about this dislike for dogs, but my research shows various explanations and not much agreement. It is clear that most people in the Arab countries do not keep dogs as inside pets. They do keep them outside as work or guard dogs.

Like Dying

This letting go.  I keep saying it's a bit like dying and still having control over who gets all your stuff.  

More about the process later as it continues to evolve

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