Sunday, October 24, 2010

Since we're moving into the new place in a week and don't have much furniture, we've been scouring Craigslist and the thrift stores for things that are not only cheap but interesting and nice. We've had some very good luck, like with the free gigantic mirror, and some not-so-good luck, like with the plum-colored sofa we bought today for eighty dollars and which Joedy realized, after trying it out in our current living room, is missing its back cushions, and which I just realized, after lifting it up, is missing its legs.


No wonder the lady was ok with selling it for less than the asking price. I can just imagine her laughing when we pulled away from the curb...

I'm not going to focus on our obvious swindle-ableness but on more positive things, like the cold hard cash I intend to get for OUR (mildly broken, fixed with a shoelace) laundry rack, which if propped at exactly 56 degrees leeward and 88.2 degrees towards the North Star works just fine. I'm sure I'll find some trusting fool on Craigslist who wants to take it off our hands! I'll even throw the shoelace in for free.

Despite this somewhat unfortunate sofa experience, it's been really fun looking for new old stuff to replenish our old old stuff. When we left California we debated about keeping our furniture--putting it in storage and having it sent to Costa Rica down the road--but realized it would be silly to hold onto stuff we'd acquired at very low cost, from thrift stores, garage sales, and, now and then, Ikea. We decided to get rid of everything, and jumped right in, putting it on Craigslist, holding a couple of yard sales, and more or less begging people, at the end, to "take it! Just take it!"

Over the last year Joedy and I have had many regrets about all the things we basically gave away--not because we didn't get much money for them, but because they were ours, they were part of our history, and now they're gone, turned into memories of another life. When we decided to let our stuff go (I know--it sounds so dramatic) we knew it might be hard, but we thought it would be good to have the experience of being virtually possession-less, of starting over, material things-wise.

So we said goodbye to the red armoire, the little beat-up blue couch, the kitchen table and chairs, the wooden desk, Lula's bed, the baby jogger, the rugs...the dust ruffle, the green dresser, the old brass lamp, the washing machine, the book cases...it was sad, but we reminded ourselves these were just things, easily replaceable things. When the gloom settled in and we questioned just what the hell we were doing getting rid of all this stuff, all this friendly stuff that made up such a big part of our life, we breathed deeply and focused on how free and wonderful it would feel to be uncluttered, how good it would be to start over fresh, with a new palette.

We comforted ourselves with the idea that we'd look for "the wood-framed mirror's cousin," or "the night-stand's twin," and remembered that, when you get down to it, thrift store things are all related...or they could be, anyway. Who knows where this particular mirror, the one we adopted yesterday, was ten years ago? Maybe it was hanging in the same house as our old, California mirror! Maybe this plum sofa lost its back cushions and legs to a puppy, Diablo's sister...maybe these new funky old plates shared cabinet space, long ago, with the funky old plates we put in a cardboard box and stuck out on the sidewalk last summer!

In the end, I have mixed feelings about the experience of "getting possession-less": on one hand I regret doing it--I didn't feel particularly zen when all our furniture was gone--but on the other hand...isn't it good just to have had the experience? Isn't it good to do big, crazy things sometimes--to throw yourself headfirst into chance? Even if you're pretty sure, afterwards, you WOULDN'T want to go through the whole process again, isn't just knowing that, having experienced it, having lived it, valuable?

It's been sad, yes, thinking about our old furniture this past year, but I learned NEVER TO GET RID OF ANYTHING (except for broken laundry racks and shoelaces) and the fact is, life goes on. Since we've already found some cool, unique things to take the place and remind us of their predecessors, the memories of our California life seem closer; in the new house, I think, our Texas life will really begin to blossom, and if we fill it with mismatched cast-offs with nicks, dings, and, yes, missing parts, I'm pretty sure we'll be happy.


Willy Knish said...

Is it just me, or is she also talking about SOMETHING ELSE in the second-to-last paragraph?

Twinkle Arlington said...

You mean, something big that happened that she doesn't talk much about? Like MOVING TO COSTA RICA??

Herbert Foobvst said...

It was highly obvious. But, as I always say, pura vida...

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