Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To Keep or Not to Keep

I usually insist Hubby is the only pack rat in this house, but since we began packing, I am forced to admit to myself that I, too, am a bit of a saver of junk. Our reasons are quite different. My other half saves things he thinks have value. I save for sentimental reasons. We took our fine china and stem ware out of the cabinets and began to pack it. As I began to slip each dish into the foam packing envelopes, the chips on certain items -dinner plates, a soup bowl, and on a few glasses of the stemware my parents gave me - haunted me. There was also a chip on the spout of a Wedgewood pitcher my favorite aunt gave me. The damage has been there for years, but sentimental me could not simply trash the items. I never use them, but can’t bare to part with them. I still remember the joy of unwrapping them when they were new.

When you move, you pay by weight, so do I finally let go of the past, or do I pay to move stuff that has no use? I shared my dilemma with my cousin. He told me to either dump the worthless stuff or buy another plot to take it with me. It put everything in prospective. The broken items went into trash.

My adult children have been helping us pack. My daughter-in-law also forced me to confront my pack rat tendencies. Yesterday, as we were weeding through the bottom of my China cabinet, we discovered hidden treasures that have value on eBay but no buyers. As I stared at these sentimental treasures that I have no use for she said, “Either you get rid of them now or I donate them to charity when we move you into the Assisted Living in ten years.”

I hope it is more than ten years, but boy did that motivate me to add things to the rummage pile like the hand made beaded flowers that are ugly as sin but my mother had made for me or the chaffing dishes I haven’t used in 30 years.

Moving day is in less than two weeks. Hopefully, in a month from now I will be able to post again regularly. At least unpacking will be easier than packing. Everything should have a purpose. Then again, maybe Hubby found a way to sneak into one of the cartons the old 33’s or some of the old cameras he still insists have value. I have truly sworn off moving anything that has no value or use - except my size 8 dresses.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Busy Day in Bureaucrat Land

Busy Day in Bureaucrat Land

Hubby’s and my passports need to be renewed. I called the number in the phone book and a robotic voice answered. I still find it weird speaking to a robot, but I did. Supposedly, if the computer understood my accent, I should get the renewal forms on an unknown date. This is not good enough because we may need our passports in the very near future. Someone told me that the post office handles passport renewals. Since on all previous attempts, no human ever answered the phone at our local post office, Hubby and I drove there. A clerk said they did not have the forms and directed us to the main post office – 20 miles away – to get the forms. After waiting on line there, a very nice person pointed to a display. “It’s the purple one,” she said. “You do renewals by yourself via the mail. This line is for new passports.”

Why every post office doesn’t carry the renewal applications remains a mystery.

With the forms neatly tucked into our manila envelope along with our new pictures and old passports, Hubby and I then headed to our local police station for our next errand. For complicated reasons, Hubby needs to legally switch his middle and first names. To do this, he needs to be finger printed. To our amazement, our local police station no longer does finger printing. I wondered what they did when they arrested people but refrained from asking. The clerk sent us to a sub-station several miles away. We got there to discover they aren’t allowed to do finger-printing for name changes. She told us we had to go cross-town – near the main post office – to a special office that handles finger printing for people that want their name changed. She said there was no logical reason, but “them’s the rules.”

By then it was almost dinnertime. Hubby and I realized we had shared another “welcome to life as a retiree” moment. We spent the entire day in the car doing errands and accomplished virtually nothing. Oh well, at least we have what to do tomorrow. Hopefully, after he gets the finger printing taken care of, the local courthouse clerk will not tell us we need to go to D.C. to deliver the forms – or back to the Bronx where he was born.