Sunday, July 29, 2018

The gladness and the grief of rightsizing

The rightsizing continues at our place near Seattle. Some of the experience has been just excellent.

On the recommendation of Penni, our decluttering coach, my husband Art and I have agreed on who will be responsible for each area of our house, inside and outside and room by room. The agreement is that we will leave each other alone while we are doing this, offering advice only when asked. For the most part both of us have complied with that agreement.

Art decided to move unwanted items to the graveled parking area by our driveway. He hauled things from the garage and the basement and the shed behind the house. He spray painted a "Free" sign. Most things get taken within a week or so. If they don't, they go to Goodwill or the dump. 

I do my part a little differently. I discovered a Facebook group called Buy Nothing [Your Town]. For us, it's Buy Nothing Brier. I put the item I want to give away on a neutral surface, take a picture with my phone, send the picture to my desktop, and post it to the Buy Nothing Brier Facebook page with a brief note. I have done that about 75 times in the last month. Within minutes or hours, one or several people (in one case, 24 people!) express an interest. I give the recipient-to-be my address and put the item on the front porch to be picked up. I like that because I don't have to talk to the recipient and they don't have to talk to me. It's very efficient.

For example, I am finishing up with the cleanout of the toy closet. Here's what I posted today on Buy Nothing Brier:

Matchbox cars and vehicles. Ann said, "I would love these for my grandson."

Stuffed animals and dolls - Terry said, "Please consider me for the light blue baby doll."

Tutus - Jennifer said, "My girls would love to put these to good use."

I put everything out on the front porch, and by this evening it had all been picked up. I'm happy that other children and grandchildren will be enjoying these things that have been living in a closet in our house for the last five or ten years.

That's the gladness part.

Back in 1995 Art and I bought a hot tub. We had several teenagers still at home at that time and it seemed like a good idea. I remember it was 1995 because while we were preparing the lower deck we were listening on the radio to the Seattle Mariners in the playoffs. That doesn't happen often. We used the hot tub for about ten years and then got out of the habit - mostly because no one wanted to do the maintenance on the water, and someone at our house didn't want to pay to have it done.

This year we decided to get rid of the hot tub. It had developed some bubbles in the fiberglass and the hot tub guy said repairing it would be expensive. He offered to cut it up and haul the pieces away for $400. I thought that was a good idea. Art didn't. He wanted to roll it out to the front parking area and see if someone wanted a free hot tub.

Art is 75 years old. He has an artificial hip and an artificial knee and a pacemaker/defibrillator. I was his caregiver during his joint replacement recovery, and his life saver when he had his cardiac arrest four years ago. I did not want another event.  I told Art it was not okay with me for him to handle the hot tub alone. He ignored me. We had quite a heated argument that verged on the nasty.  

I came home from running errands on Friday. The hot tub was on its side at the bottom of the driveway with a piece of wood bracing it.

I looked around for Art and didn't find him lying on the ground anywhere. He was taking a break in the basement (we're having a heat wave this week).  I texted my son James and said Art could use some help. James and his friend Joel arrived within ten minutes to finish the job.

The hot tub was moved to the graveled area, labeled with a "free" sign. Two neighbors immediately expressed an interest.

I am reminded once again that when Art sets his mind to do something, there is nothing I can do about it. More than once in the recent past he has gone up a tree with a chain saw to take care of an errant branch or the entire upper section of a tree. I'll say, "I'm scared to see you doing that," and he will say, "Then go in the house."

Really, I am powerless over the choices of other people. That gives me grief.


Joared said...

Glad your downsizing is going so well — that you had someone to,help with the hot tub. Know it’s frustrating when someone does more physically than best for their health. There’s only so much you can do.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I am sure that many can relate to your worry about a stubborn mate.. I have also made “help” calls when my Retired Man”, who has health issues, insists on doing things that go against nature.

Olga said...

Yes, we are powerless over the determination of others. I have to admit I am a bit like Art. When I get into my head to do something, it has to be done right away and I will stubbornly do it myself.

But climbing up a tree with a chain saw . . .

DJan said...

I'm glad to hear that it all turned out for the best. Hot tub gone and Art still in one piece. It does sound like your downsizing is proceeding very well indeed! :-)

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Hi Linda! So glad to hear your rightsizing is making progress. And I think it is probably universal that we all struggle to do things we "used to be able to do" but can't anymore due to age or situation. I think women might have that easier than men because we've never identified as much with physical strength, but there are still things that are beneficial to embrace as we age. And isn't it also nice to learn to ask others for help without thinking it is a sign of weakness? ~Kathy

Arkansas Patti said...

I really like the concept of Buy Nothing. Wonder if we have it here. So glad Art accepted the help. It is so hard when we reach that stage when things we use to do on our own just aren't possible any more.

Linda Reeder said...

Tom is like Art, with perhaps a bit more capability and fewer health issues. I do think he knows his limits, however.
I like the idea of "Free" or come come and get it. So far, we have just made trips to Goodwill.

Janette said...

We have a Facebook free page as well. As my grands reach a different age I both give and receive "stuff".
I also have a husband like yours. Last time he went out to cut up the 50 foot tree that feel in our yard I was heard by the neighborhood saying, " Wait! I need to take out some life insurance on you!" Stubborn- but always gets the job done!

Madeline Kasian said...

As we have gotten older, I finally got my husband to agree not to get up on ladders if no one else is at home. Not to use big chain saws and power tools when I am not home. He is a doe-er, a fixer, a putterer and is always up to something. Good to see the downsizing/rightsizing in progress... it's a cleansing experience!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to your words.... I'll say, "I'm scared to see you doing that," and he will say, "Then go in the house."
The last couple of years, I have been trying to discourage my husband from going up on our roof top. Since it hasn't worked, I bought him a safety harness, which he uses on the rental, but not on our house because we have no roof hooks. But the good news or maybe bad news (money wise) is that we need a new roof in another year or two and so we will soon have hooks.