Downsizing…

I just read the funniest blog post ever. Of course it wasn’t mine. I’m not funny. Groan. And I don’t write well. Sigh. It’s my lack of vocabulary. Lazy. Plus my inability to put my thoughts down on paper well. Should have made an effort in school. Slacker. I do however, admit wholeheartedly, I am green with envy about her writing ability. Did I mention very dark, dark green? How I wish I was funny and could really write. Not to be. Well, maybe I’d tone down her style a bit. She was fairly free with the salty language. Ok, it might have been a bit raunchy, but the content was hilarious. She wrote about the movement embraced by thousands. On living tiny.

 

Yup, tried it with Shannon in 1973…

 

The mass of folks who have made the switch to teensy-weensy living quarters. Homes, complete homes, barely room size by today’s standards. Kitchen sinks that double as a shower. Might just have to just list that little asset as totally gross. Roomy linen closets holding one bath and one hand towel. Nope to room for that big old wash rag. I loved her sarcasm. She wondered how you ever get away from someone if your house is but 250 square feet? There have been times during our long endurance marathon called wedded bliss, that Hubs needs to be a lot farther away from me than a mere 250 square feet. If his intentions were to remain on this earth for an extended period of time. And if he wished to continue breathing.

 

Maybe a man cave, but not a real house to live in…

 

 

Downsizing has many different meanings. If I’m physically trying to downsize, it means I’ve finally found THEE most elusive man on the planet. Namely Will Power. Can’t shed those unwanted pounds until you find out where he’s been hanging his hat lately. Probably been lead astray by someone else with fairly chubby cheeks, (both sets) instead of helping me out. Men, they’re all alike.

 
Snuggling early in marriage and parenting. Still had to have some breathing space…

 

When you’re downsized from a company, it’s usually painful. And costly. The job you held for years suddenly snatched from you. The company was bought out, now has too many employees. Closing plants, moving people elsewhere or out. Your number is up. That happened often during our marriage and John’s career. Tough to accept and keep a positive outlook on the future. Most often it meant another move. Uprooting the family, losing touch with neighbors and friends.

 

Downsized from Davenport, 1987. Hated so much to leave…

 

We were recently at Adam’s and Sarah’s, taking care of our 5 year old grandson, Graham. Sarah’s best friend is moving to Texas in a couple weeks. Yeah, Sarah’s really bummed. The Michigan, soon to be Texas family of 4 just purchased a house down south, so Sarah showed me some pictures. Oh my. Six bedrooms, 4 baths, pool, ceilings sky high. Simply fabulous. I think everyone dreams of a humongous house like that now and then. But that’s what it is to most folks. Just a daydream. The opposite of downsizing.

 

Larry 1952. Dad might have started something with tiny housing…

 

Anyway, that crazy blog got me thinking. This is exactly what John and I are experiencing right now. Not that our house is big. Rather plain and small in comparison to most. Our house is 2200 square feet. Still big enough. Especially for 2 people. It’s really not that much fun cleaning 3 toilets. One which goes unused 99% of the time. And there lies the rub. For at least the last 5 years, John and I have lived in 40% of our home, 90% of the time. What a huge waste of space. My formal living room (“the museum” as Hubs coined the room) is off all by it’s lonesome. The room has no other doorways in or out, so you must walk in there on purpose. I love that room. At one time, it was filled with so many antiques, you’d been hard pressed to find room to lean an umbrella against a bare spot on a wall. There weren’t 3 square inches anywhere to be found in that room without a piece of antique oak, a picture wall consisting of at least 100 old photos, an ornament or an antique toy. When we were ready to list the house Mary, our realtor walked in and exclaimed, “Denise, this is just lovely. Get rid of most of it please. People looking at your house are unable to visualize what their stuff is gonna look like when they’re too busy looking at all your stuff.” (I’m telling you folks, peeps looking at houses these days have zero imagination. And want things absolutely perfect). So we hauled out 8, yes 8 pick up loads of FURNITURE from this house. And into a storage unit. Almost 3 years ago.

 

Living room, pre-realtor. It was crowded w/o gifts and family…

 

For months I was in mourning. I missed my stuff. Our master bedroom is a prime example. A massive room (my favorite) which easily holds several large antiques. At one time we had 10 pieces of furniture besides our king size bed. And it wasn’t overly crowded in my (humble but not requested) opinion. My house felt like a dear friend had moved far away. The rooms echoed from emptiness. Gave my hearing aid fits for a few months.

 

Fabulous bedroom, virtually empty now. Bare walls too, ugh…

 

Gradually I’ve gotten used to seeing less of my beloved stuff around. But I still miss the way things used to look. I know once we move, I will have to seriously pick and choose my antique furniture favorites. Way over half are going to have to find new homes.

 

Downsizing this wardrobe would be tough. Massive but I truly love it…

 

 

Which brings me to the downsizing part. In my head, I know what I want. A smaller house, close, but not too close to our 3 adult kids and 4 grandchildren. Who all live within an hour of each other. Except for us, the mom and dad. We’re about 2-1/2 to 3 hours from them. No reason to stay here. Our house is 2 story, (who needs that anymore) too big, too expensive and the only thing holding us here. We need a house half this size, one story, within a half hour of them. But that’s a mighty big area we have to choose from over on the east side of Michigan. The really heavily populated areas don’t do much for us. But schools districts don’t matter to us anymore either. Yay. Hubs still enjoys yard work, or I’d really be pushing for a condo. I am ready and could easily do condo.

 

Keeping this for our spare bedroom. We’ve had the bed over 30 yrs…

 

I think we will probably rent for awhile. Check out all the little surrounding townships. See where we might best fit in. Once we get settled, I will seriously have to whittle down what I love and CANNOT part with. What fits in the new joint, and how to get rid of the rest. My hope is that each of the kids have their eye on a couple antique pieces, and are patiently waiting for us keep what we want, then offer the rest to them. But they’re all pretty established by now. Some really don’t care for the whole antique look. It’s just not their style. (Now that makes me a little sad). What we can’t keep or they don’t want will be sold.

 

Lovely sideboard, but not many years of our history. Going…

 

 

Quite a few will be hard to part with. I have an exquisite oak sideboard. But I’ve only had this piece a dozen years. There’s no family history of one of the kids coloring on it or bonking themselves on the head running full tilt when they were 2. I have no problem getting rid of this particular piece. It is lovely though.

 

 
Curved glass China closet. One of my faves since 1979…

 

 

In comparison, we bought a curved glass china closet 35 years ago. From a lady in Canton, South Dakota. One of the curved panes of glass was broken. We dickered over the price for weeks. Back then we didn’t have very much money to splurge on antiques. John had lowballed an offer and kinda insulted the gal. I had to tap dance around his harsh offer. She and I finally settled on a fair price. Lugged it back to Spencer. Stripped it. (No I don’t care that I removed some sacred patina. I want to see and enjoy the gorgeous grain of the oak wood. I don’t give 2 hoots if it’s worth 300 dollars less because I supposedly ruined it during my stripping abomination). Maybe added a bit of stain, and tung oiled it for a month. Couldn’t afford to order a new piece of curved glass until Adam started crawling, and pulling himself up, causing me to worry. Now that piece will be one of the last I ever part with.

 

Mag and Jim’s ranch in Rock Valley…

 

 

John and I have very different views on downsizing. I envision a house much like the house John grew up in Rock Valley. Nice size, 2 or 3 bedroom ranch, garage, not a huge yard. But after the last 20 years with a 30 inch deep basement, don’t want to do that again. Full basement please. A quiet neighborhood. John, on the other hand sees himself on an acreage. Ugh. With a pole barn. Yuk. Wants to build a hot rod. Oy vey. Outside city limits. Gross. It’s becoming more clear that renting something for a bit will let us look around for what’s in the best interest of Denise. I mean us. My hope is once he has a smaller yard to mow, less shoveling, snowblowing, no maintenance, he might come to enjoy that lifestyle. We shall see. First we gotta get this sucker sold…

 

21 years in our fairly nice lake home. Ready for a change…

 

 

 

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