Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Project What Did I get Myself Into!



The fear of moving---more accurately I should say the fear of not being able to downsize everything in time---is setting in. Before they changed the move-in date to the continuum care complex (known as the CCC after this) from fall of 2020 to the spring I was calm and I thought it was doable. I would have had all summer to downsize collectibles, and next summer to get the house up to snuff, sell furniture, get the house, listed and sold. Now, the major stuff outside like staining the deck has to be done before fall, I have some trim to paint and the beds around the foundation need thinning. And I have to decide if I should re-roof now at pre-China tariffs prices or wait and see if the roof passes the inspection and chance paying 30% more at post-tariff prices. I have an appointment next week with the realtor the CCC place works with and I hope to get answers to that burning question and one I have about whether or not banks are still doing bridge loans. I may need one to make this all work with the shorten time-line. 

In the meantime, I’ve downsizing on e-Bay until I can get hooked up with a quicker method. One thing I just sold was my Pendleton twin bedspreads left over from redecorating project last winter, got $350 for them plus shipping costs. I really didn't want them to go to Goodwill and I found the perfect buyer. She had a set just like mine but lost them when her house burned down in one of the big fires Out West. (I was sentimentally attached, but after hearing her story I'm thrilled they could make someone as happy as she was to win the auction.) I got another $271 for an 8” Texaco sign that hung in our bathroom before I went all girlie in there. And the ladies/men Texaco signs I also had in our master bath went for $77. Right or wrong my thinking is to sell off the rest of my husband’s gas & oil memorabilia collection before the downsizing specialist (who from here on will be known as D.S.) gets her thumbs in my pie because she won’t have a clue what she’s looking at and won’t care if guy-things have value and she tells me to trash it all. 

Speaking of the D.S., I have an appointment with her next week, too. I’m at such a loss on how to proceed and I need a second opinion/battle plan. I’m not worried about normal household stuff. I can sort out the ‘donate’ or ‘trash’ stuff from the estate sale stuff. Lord knows I’ve been to enough of those kinds of sales to do that. But it’s the sheer volume of highly specialized collectibles and art I’m worried about selling. D.S. people charge a referral fee anything they help you sell plus the estate selling or auction services they hire does too, but 50% of whatever is better than paying a junk man to pick it up. The son-I-wish-I-had is in that line of business---picking up stuff left over from estate sales---and he makes a good living doing it.

I haven’t ask my pseudo son yet but I’m hoping to barter with him to sell and ship four very heavy/pricey items that will require a freight company to pick up if sold on e-Bay in exchange for an antique air meter he’s been lusting after since my husband died. He should jump at that barter because the air meters usually e-Bay for 1,000 to $1,800. For one, he deals with freight company pick-ups and e-Bay all the time and we’ve been bartering back and forth for decades. I should have let the air meter go the first year after Don died when the other big stuff got sold. But emotions got in the way. Having the air meter restored was the last Christmas gift I gave him---just a month before he died.  

I had lunch with my Gathering Girl pals this week and my mouth was running a mile a minute. I couldn’t help it! They offered to help me if I have a garage sale, which was a sweet surprise. But I’ve lost faith in garage sales being worth the time, opting instead to donate to Goodwill or Salvation Army but Trump took away the tax write-offs on donations so that’s a bummer. By the way, when you donate collectibles, etc., they never make it to the floor. They’ve gotten smart over the years and now have online sells divisions.

Can’t wait until next week’s appointments with the realtor and the D.S. In the meantime I have two fun appointments this week: one a meeting with some of my future neighbors for a “guided conversation” at the CCC and one with my niece who is coming up to tour the CCC. She will go home with the table and chairs my brother and I used when we kids. Anyone I see or visit before I move gets a door prize when we part. ©

Some of the "smalls" I need to sell. Bet you can't find my old decoder ring from the '50s in there.

30 comments:

  1. Jean, when my neighbor downsized to enter a place like this she had a company come in and do an estate sale/Sotheby's. Can you do something like that? The collectibles were auctioned through Sotheby's and the estate sale things were done right in her home and she and I went out for the day. She made a killing I might add. Sotherby's was the ticket because those folks knew the value of some of her collectibles that Joe blow wouldn't necessarily know just walking through an estate sale. Just a thought. I have no experience with this so I could be off the mark but thought I'd share just in case it could help you even a tiny bit. I'd contact someone who is in collectibles and auctioning to get ideas of prices and it may lead to what you need.

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    1. I have an appointment with a downsizing and moving specialist this week. I don't have much Sotheby quality art but better than a normal moving sale, but I will no doubt blog about her suggestions and another the son-I-wish-I-had suggested. One problem I see coming with a sale here in the house is I'm keeping part of my stuff but I need to sell off the other stuff before I make the final payment on the unit so I can get the house up for sale so it closes near near my move-in date. Can't wait until the last minute. I'd die of sleepless nights if I did that. I need an all off-site auction place.

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  2. I know you'll be busy, busy, busy, but make sure you take time for friends and fun. You'll need the breaks and companionship as you navigate this latest journey.

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  3. This is what I fear about moving too. All the small stuff. What to keep, what to sell, what to give away, what to toss. You have some little gems in that cupboard!

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    1. I really do, don't I and it's mind boggling that we bought all that stuff one piece at a time. You're a collector so you know what I mean...all the estate sales, garage sales, flea markets and antique stores it represents.

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  4. The best advice I got when we had to empty my parent's home was to try to handle each item only once when making a decision. We set up a spot to put the items we couldn't decide what to do with and then the next morning tried to clear them out to the designated group. It worked pretty well but then it wasn't our stuff. When we downsized to move I grouped all the like items (vases or candlesticks, etc.) and picked my favorites. The rest went. Good luck and accept all useful help you can get.

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    1. That's good advice. I am going to get the garage set up with boxes for Goodwill, recycling, e-Bay, give to certain people, local auction house, etc. With most of my collections I'm going to pick out 1-3 things I like the best to keep for myself.

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  5. And be sure you have a photo of the memories you are physically releasing. I wish I had done that. I’m interested to hear about your two appointments next week!!! Chin up and carry on...you can do this

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    1. Remember the 'tour' I gave you all of my bedroom remodel? I'm going to do that to all the rooms before I start moving stuff out and eventually I'll make a picture book of this house. Time enough for that down the road, though.

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  6. My head is aching with the enormity of what you are facing. I never had a bunch of stuff (especially valuable stuff) so when I moved, most went with me or was donated. I sure don't envy you and hope you get the right help. Let us know how the DS does.

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    1. The son-I-wish-I-have has offered to help and he's wonderfully calming doing that sort of thing. He says it's going to be fun. I pay him for his time but he doesn't charge a lot.

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  7. wow you have some interesting collectibles, I hate moving & amount of work its involved in & feeling guilty about it, since I can't help much,& We don't have any collectibles. just stuff you accumulate over period of 25 years living in this country. hubby is very methodological, never get attached to things so it is easy for him to toss, I had anxiety & crying spells when he was donating my prestroke clothes away, it felt like my post stroke life is permanant, who knew at that time, I am still here to make new memories in new clothes, so it was very very hard on me. Anyway accept all the help you can get, you never know you will find some amazing gems in it while trying to downsize. I know we did, found baby clothes of our baby which I am keeping it to give it our our grand-babies.

    Asha

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    1. Thanks! We enjoyed the hunt for collectibles and all the conversations they've generated with visitors.

      I had a crocheted baby hat that my mom made for my brother and I framed it a few years back and gave it to him. Keeping a few baby things are important to save, in my opinion.

      My husband wouldn't let me sell his sports car are his stroke or his cowboy boots after his stroke. So I understand how hard it was to see your pre-stroke clothes get donated.

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    2. I was really lucky that my sister came and visited me shortly after I got out of the hospital after my stroke, and she helped me get rid of the pre-stroke clothing. She would not let me keep anything I could no longer wear, or fasten. And she was pretty ruthless about the kitchen stuff, too. Which was necessary because we downsized to a rental for the 2 years it took my husband to rehab the house we have now.

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    3. I'm glad you appreciate that she was helping you, even thought it was no-double traumatic at the time. It was probably just as hard for your sister. I know I felt like I was taking (false) hope away.

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  8. I really like the descriptions of the CCC. An organization who puts effort into arranging meetings for people who will be moving into the community to meet each other certainly sounds like an organization who has given a lot of thought to the “big picture”.
    I wish you luck with your downsizing and packing. It is a reason that a lot of people “stay put”: because they can’t deal with the downsizing and packing but it will be worth it. Next spring you will be in a community. Through the pressure and stress “keep your eye on the prize”!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. "Keep your eye on the prize" sounds like the perfect manta for me. Thanks for that.

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  9. After reading your blog Jean, you had me thinking all the things that we have to do in preparing for selling our home in a year. I'll keep listening to what is taking place in your move so that I'll learn a great deal from you. Just remember Jean, don't over do to much and have others help you if possible. Just remember that after all is done, you'll enjoy resting in your new place. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. There is a lot to do to sell a house. I will have to have a closet built in our library. Then we can call it a bedroom and get a lot more money and lookers.

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  10. Jean, maybe you should get in touch with The Pickers (Frank & Mike). Frank is into oil & gas and old toys. Maybe they'll do a show at your house for the tv show and you'll get a bunch of free advertising.

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    1. We used to know Frank and Mike before they had a TV show. We'd run into them at gas & oil collector shows. Could have called them back before we sold off all the big stuff like pumps, globes and cans the year after my husband died but the way we sold the stuff we got resale prices and they only pay wholesale. The toys are easy for me on eBay and what I have left in big stuff my barter friend knows how to sell without the bother of having a TV crew. I know two people who got broken into after their TV segment was aired. That kind of advertising can be a negative not to mention I don't have enough stuff to fill up an entire segment. I love that show, though, reminds me of what my husband and I did on weekends. He was a picker too.

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  11. Jean, Your remark about sending everyone you visit with home with a door prize brought up an old memory. When my ex-husband and I moved back east from California in the early 1970s after he got out of the military, we had a party that we billed as an "apartment cooling." It was meant to be the opposite of a house warming party. We set up a card table near the door with all the stuff that we didn't want to move (a lot of it wedding gifts that were not our taste) and asked each person to take something as they left. Of course we were in our twenties, an age where we and our friends didn't have that much stuff and were happy to acquire more. (Someone was really happy to take home that collection of milk glass items that I was more than happy to part with.)

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    1. That's such a great idea! I can see me doing something like that down the road. I've already been picking out things that I should offer to my husband's family and mine.

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  12. I would be so overwhelmed! One day at a time, I guess. I took a look at my attic this week. Shoved some things around and walked out and closed the door. A good start! LOL

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    1. I will be organized with master plan in hand by this time next week. Minds to pick for information, and the son-I-wish-I had to help me plan. He and I have been through a LOT of downsizing and he's got skills I'll need and I have cash they he will appreciate and earn.

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  13. The downsizing specialist would scare the crap out of me. (I'd probably scare the crap out of her, too.) My theory would be to not let her move me one way or the other, just get her ideas but don't let her touch a thing. You have a sense of value on your collectibles. Don't let someone telling you that they're trash.

    I'd do the ebay and hire a kid to do the packaging or whatever. I know that takes time but I bet it's a better deal than the DS. Or at least have done a good sort with those to whom you would want to give things (You always loved my ___; it's yours!) so they don't get sent away to the wrong spot. My friend Mary Jane did this when she was ill because she knew it would all end up in an estate sale or auction and she wanted her friends to have something(s).

    But what do I know? Except I'd be overwhelmed.

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    1. Great minds think the same. I'm going to pick her brain for any and all information I can get out of her and probably pick-and-choose menu style instead of taking the package deal. My very good friend is going to be here for the appointment. He wants to branch out from what he does now to becoming a downsizing specialist. He helped me do it after my husband's stroke with two houses and has since helped several elderly people. He loves doing it. If we can just tape into selling things neither he or I have had experience selling we could do it. It's much better to downsize while you've got the physical and mental ability to do, I think, than to leave the burden for family.

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  14. Before my grandma moved to assisted living, I encouraged her to give her special items to her kids or grandkids (25 in all) so that they would be able to treasure her giving it to them, and wouldn't just end up in the jumble sale, donations if no one wanted it.

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    1. That's a great thing to do. Doesn't for me because
      I never had children and grandchildren. My niece is coming up next week to take a few things. Wish I had a bigger family.

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