Sunday, November 2, 2008

Did I Downsize My Daughter or Did She Just Get a Job and Move Out?

My dear daughter, who I was so enjoying having here, has flown the coop! It happened so fast and will last so long...hmm, other things in life are like that, too.

I was so much enjoying our sort of routine. I usually got up first in the morning, and then she would get up and we would prepare our breakfasts sort of together, but with different food. She had her egg and spinach burrito with picante sauce. She filled the room with the morning smell of fresh coffee. I had one of my several favorite breakfast choices. Perhaps by the time she is my age, she will have more than one favorite breakfast, too. Who knows?

Then we would have our day. Well, so much for the routine parts! But it was great to have her here! And then there was the call, and then the interview. Such effort...the interview! The clothes and hair and makeup just perfect; the paperwork and planned topics and lines...the hope and excitement! And then she got a call and I came home from somewhere and she had the job, and I was so happy I cried. Because I knew she wouldn't be here every day any more.

Well, from the downsizing point of view, the upstairs is looking much more empty! She had a whole apartment worth of stuff up there. She took part of it in her car and we drove the rest of it to her in the pickup. And also upstairs, there was a big dish-pack box and several smaller boxes full of stuff, and some big plastic tubs my other daughter had filled and several big plastic boxes, and there were a few loose things sort of surrounding these separate batches of stuff. The girls had rejected all this stuff early in the summer. I was supposed to get rid of it, sorting it into Goodwill and things I might want and things to maybe sell. I don't really know why, but it had taken me all summer to get this stuff out of there. Once I focused on it, I was able to get it out of there while my daughter was packing to move! I think the incentive for me to get on the stick with this stuff was that she was going to do some cleaning before leaving. I know a good deal when I see it! I got everything out of there, and she cleaned up everything else. So now the upstairs den and the girls' bedrooms are looking more downsized. Not exactly "show the house" downsized, but different enough that it's refreshing for me to go up there.

I even got a truckload off to Goodwill, so the stuff from upstairs plus some other stuff that had been accumulating in the garage is gone! I took photos of everything so I can take off my $500 tax deduction for Goodwill. I give much more each year, but since about 2006, the only way to claim more than $500 of charity items is to list each item on a form, with receipts and listings of prices etc. I guess I'll have to do that if I give away some high-dollar items. Most of this stuff doesn't have receipts any more, but the value adds up. Our house is not situated well in the neighborhood for garage sales, so I have pretty much given up on that.

So, I have made progress upstairs, or the girls have, and I cleared some space in the garage. And younger daughter also took her oversized cast-iron frying pan that she was keeping on the kitchen counter because there was no place else to put it. (She used it most every day for her egg burrito.) She and I have been trying to find a pan that is easy to clean but doesn't involve potentially toxic Teflon. She is successful with both cast iron and stainless pots. With the stainless frying pan, she heats up the oil and puts some salt in before adding the food. It works for her, with minimum sticking! I haven't been able to get much success out of that. I guess the main problem is that tofu sticks worse than most other things. She took several other boxes and bags of food that she had been storing in the kitchen. I have been emailing her and calling her every time I can't find something in the kitchen, to ask whether it had been hers and she had taken it. For example, I thought I had 2 containers of vanilla; one with a tiny bit left and one with an inch or two of liquid. And then after she had been gone about a month, I made a cake to go with my chocolate chips instead of eating them from the bag, and there was only one almost-empty bottle of vanilla. I still don't know how I lost track of about half a bottle of vanilla...but the solution was simple enough. I bought a new bottle.

I miss my daughter, but I feel the importance of downsizing even more now that she has moved.

Other progress has been slow. I have a box of books in my office ready for Half Price Books (and an attic full of other boxes of books), and I have 3 bells chosen that I might sell. I sent one bell to a friend as a gift. One down and about 1,000 to go! I went onto the Ebay website a few days ago and set up a sales page for one issue of Cook's Illustrated, mostly to see how to do it. I knew it had changed since I last sold a few years ago; fortunately, it does seem to be a more efficient interface. I'll have to take photos of everything and write up all the defects. There was a tiny brown spot on the cover of the Cook's Illustrated, so I took a pencil eraser to it. Now there's a larger white spot where the color from the cover got erased. Even though it's only about 1/4 inch, I'd have to note it on Ebay and probably even include a close-up photo of it; that's how particular some of the buyers are...and rightly so. I think I might not bother trying to sell the Cook's Illustrated. Even though someone might want it, the individual issues are only selling for about $1.50. Add shipping and all the time and effort...the sum = Half Price Books!

Meanwhile, I rode my bicycle 25 miles in a community bicycling event and I went to a Yoga conference and did 6 hours of classes in one day. My neck is sore and isn't stretching nearly as far as I got it to stretch at the Yoga class, where the wonderful and magical Lilias Folan showed us how to stretch our hips to get our necks more flexible!

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