Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Semi-Good Deed

Last May, Hoop and I started the slow process of whittling down our belongings. First went the keepsakes, unused furniture, and decorations. They were the easiest to pack. Next went the extra dishes, towels, sheets, and clothes. Then came the bulkier items (beds, dressers, TVs, computers) and the things we never thought we'd live without. In the end, we learned how to live out of five small clothes bins, with a box for our shoes and a trash bag filled with toiletries.

At first it bothered me. I felt unprepared. My answer to everything was, "We have one of those packed somewhere." But as the months rolled by, I learned to like living like a nomad. I felt free. No one could judge me for the quality of my things. I didn't have to worry about dusting or cleaning anything. There was nothing to break or replace. There was no worry about overused space. I didn't have to bother with getting rid of anything, it was just... gone.

All of that stopped the moment we unloaded the truck.

"What is all this?" "It's our stuff." "Really? But, WHY?"

Our garage is a tetris of boxes and furniture from floor to ceiling. I wandered the garage as we unloaded, reading labels like "spare cables" and "desk junk" off of boxes. It finally sunk in when I found an extra large box that read, "hangers." Who the hell needs an extra large box of hangers?! "What are we going to do with all this stuff?" I asked Hoop as he and Nash unloaded our secondhand entertainment stand. He shrugged. "We don't need this stand anymore. I'm going to buy us that flat screen." "Good!" I replied, instantly arming myself with marker and tape.

"FREE TO GOOD HOME," the sign read.

Ten minutes later a small pickup truck pulled up. "I have a good home!" The female driver shouted. I was thrilled. Unfortunately, the stand wouldn't fit in the back of her truck. "That's OK. We're on our way out," Hoop told her. "We can just drop it off at your place." "What do you want to bet she lives in an apartment?" Nash laughed. "On the second floor around the back." I assured them the woman would not make them carry it in. "We're strangers. She's not going to want us in her house!" But of course, she did. Second story, around the back.

"Thank you so much! I'm a single Mom with two kids. Stuff like this is so great to find. I swear something good is going to happen for you three soon." We smiled and left, happy with our good deed. Or semi-good deed if you'd rather. It wasn't too much of a sacrifice. Of course the boys had suffered the worst of it. The flight of stairs they'd carried the stand up was barely wide enough to fit them, let alone a bulky piece of furniture. But they'd managed and we'd found a home for something we didn't really need. "I hope I win the lotto now," Hoop said as we pulled out of the apartment complex.

But what came back around (for me) wasn't a winning lotto ticket.

It was a pack of gum.

We had just sat down to eat when I reached into my purse to find my phone. What I grabbed instead was a small square package. It was wrapped in a hairband and had a little note attached. "I love you," it read. I felt a small ache start in my chest and sniffled back some tears. Sometime, in the midst of our good-byes, my Mom had slipped the little token into my purse. She knew that no matter how much I had missed my freedom, I was going to miss her too. It's been a difficult journey. She just wanted me to know that it was all going to be OK. In that moment, that pack of gum was everything I could ever want and need. It was the perfect gift for a semi-good deed.

March Search Terms:
(What people put into search engines that bring them here)
1. Armpit lover You would love Indiana. It's like the armpit of the U.S.
2. Tulip Sniffer Much more pleasant than the above fellow.
3. Alternatives to cussing Cheese and Rice! Son of a Biscuit Eater!
4. Please be kind enough to give me an excuse My blog ate it.
5. Hives from beef in last year No hives here. Unless you count the termites. Do they have hives?

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16 Comments:

At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Ellie's Mommie said...

That is absolutely precious. My Mom does the same type of stuff. I'm an only child and while I enjoy that I live in another state, we both miss each other dearly. Every now and then I'll have a letter in my box or a care package on my front step just because she saw something & thought of me. It's great to have that moment, no matter how trivial the item inside.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Jay said...

What a sweet story. Ma Tink is going to miss you being around the house all time. Even if didn't move all that far away.

Every time I've moved I put stuff out near the mailboxes with "free to a good home" signs on them. Stuff means less and less when you're having to move it. Especailly if you move during the middle of summer.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Peggy said...

Your mama is going to miss her little girl. That was sweet of her to put a little note in your handbag.

Just as I predicted last week - you are now faced with a lot of posessions that a short while ago you couldn't live without. Perspective is an odd thing, isn't it?

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger meno said...

Nice one mom!

Many years ago, my husband and i separated at his request. I moved out of our place and took only the barest minimum of stuff. I left all the crap behind. People wondered why i didn't make him move out. Because then i would have had to deal with all that crap. It was really freeing.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Chris said...

Aw, how sweet of your mom!!

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Mouse said...

When we moved back from Colorado to Georgia a few years ago.. we had to live with my in-laws for a few months until we could get a place to live. All of our belongings were shoved into a storage unit and we lived out of laundry baskets (one each)until we found a house to rent. When we unpacked our things I went into shock over all of the crap we had.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger fiwa said...

Awww, Tink, your pack of gum story made me sniffle. Good for you for giving away the entertainment stand, I really think that sort of kindness really does come back to you. :)

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Newt said...

*sniff* that was sweet. The hubby and I thought for about 15 seconds we might want to move closer to his new job. And then we looked at all our crap and decided we were too lazy. And the 25 minutes longer drive wasn't THAT big a deal. But wouldn't it be nice.............hmmmm.......a dumpster would be good.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Mike said...

I don't know... maybe it's the box of chardonnay I just killed, crushed, and tossed across the room, but I love you (and Hoop). You guys are going through so much of the same stuff as Turtle and I did, and it's bringing back a whole flood of memories. A real mixed bag, but in my currently-buzzed state, strangely pleasant.

We combined households over five years and one house ago, and I still find myself struggling to choke off the words, "What the... I'm sure I used to have a [insert occasionally usefule item here]."

From your post, I can tell you've already started to realize that a lot of the stuff that's gone away was never necessary. You're adjusting well. Stuff is just stuff, and part of the process is culling your stuff and his stuff and, where necessary, replacing it with "our" stuff.

I do wonder what ever happened to that really nice chili pot I could have sworn we kept...

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Mike said...

...and I really have to start paying better attention to which #*&%! Google account I'm logged on to.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Anonymous TB said...

You're doing everything a few weeks ahead of me... It's nice to get a glimpse of what I'll be up to at the end of the month ;o)

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Lucia said...

Aw, how wonderful. Really. Good things do come around after all.

 
At 13 March, 2007, Blogger Mike Y said...

That is a nice thing your mom did. And it does feel good to get rid of excess junk.

Watch out for them armpit sniffers ;)

 
At 14 March, 2007, Blogger Gracey said...

You'll be happy soon when your moving days are far behind you, but in the meantime, I'm glad your mommy slipped you something special to make you feel better!

 
At 14 March, 2007, Blogger Jess Riley said...

This post put a smile on my face--you are such a good person! And I loved the way you told this story.

 
At 14 March, 2007, Blogger spellconjurer said...

uhhhhhhhh yea. SO putting things out for free is a spectacular idea. Until you live in MY town. What could go wrong you ask? How could giving things away free have a snag in it? Worst case would be nobody took it right? WRONGGGGGGGGGGG. I moved into a family home of 100 years +. Generation after generation had lived in it AND died in it. It sat empty for 5-6 years while my grandmother lived in an apartment in a town closer to my parents. I decide to buy it. I start to move in, which requires moving 100 years of stuff OUT. I was 20 something and didn't need the two walkers that previous family had used there until THEIR DEATH. Ewwwww. I didn't need commodes, or canes, plastic endtables or 20 thousand empty Pringles cans? I have no idea don't even ask. I make this lovely plywood sign, and paint on it lovingly "For Free". I nail that bad boy to a huge oak tree near the curb. I start piling walkers, old vacuums that blow out more dirt than they suck up,,,the canes, canning jars, bags of yarn, metal tv carts with wheels. A station wagon stops,,starts to load things. I go inside to give them some "privacy" and also to gather more items. I come back out. Everything is gone. I mean everything. The bastards ripped down my "for free" sign off the damn tree and drove off with it. WHAT THE HELL?

 

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