Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I'm lucky in that my son Paul works at a job where he has access to very sturdy double-cardboard boxes and plenty of bubblewrap. Large bubbles, small bubbles, and industrial bubbles with a solid coating on both sides. He's been given notice to bring stuff home as it becomes available. And yes, I've started to pack.

The first boxes were the southwest pottery and other artwork items I've collected, other than the Santa Clara I've picked up for Stephanie. However, in the spirit of clearing out the house, I stopped by with a three year supply of birthday and Christmas presents for her: last year (that had been planned for after the honeymoon trip), this year, and next. With luck I'll remember just when to start up again. There's still one more box of the southwest stuff to pack, but I've been waiting to find a last item to include. Somehow my sense of order is nudged into high production after all this chaos I've been living in, and it suits me to have like things packed together.

The second bit of packing needed a bit of shopping done first. It's the bathroom starter box. It's a big one, and includes toilet paper, cleaners, soaps and shampoos, and a bath mat and towels to match the odd blue/turquoise color of the master bathroom. Soon there will be a kitchen box to match, emphasizing cleaning supplies for the immediate job of making the kitchen usable. It seems I don't mind a dirty kitchen as long as it's my dirt, but somebody else's dirt grosses me out!

Go figure.

This weekend I discovered a parallel job to the packing-to-move job. It's the packing-to-send-to-auction job. And that's involved a whole lot of cleaning. For example, there's a whole set of Mexican blue hand-blown glassware that my late mother-in-law cleaned out of her house years ago, picked up on her honeymoon. That dates it back to 1941. It's been sitting on top of my cupboards for over 20 years, never used. It required Paul's help in getting down, and hours of hand washing to remove dust and grease, and careful packing in what turned out to be two boxes so it can be safely taken to Doug. Since there was a bit of room left over, I included a hand-painted Fenton glass deer and a cranberry hobnail candle holder. There will be scads of stuff like that to unpack from the totes stacked in the basement, sorted, and repacked to keep or auction. Pretty to look at, fun to have, don't care to move, nice to get some money back from. More Fenton, some Shawnee, some Roseville, even some Red Wing. The carnival glass I'm keeping, however.

I also packed up the Chinese vases, brass/bronze, jade, framed artwork, etc. this weekend, again after dusting or washing, as most of it has gotten filthy from years of sitting on top of kitchen cabinets plus being out during the dust storms of home remodeling. All the Chinese stuff is heading south, and all of it is now packed, if you count the totes of boxed snuff bottles in the basement which still need bubble wrap and taping to make the move in safety. But they are sorted and in totes at least. Most of them are of the inside-painted variety, but there's a selection of them done in various stones: jaspers, minerals like chrysacholla, fossils and agates and more. Mostly they get stored away and looked at periodically, rather than displayed. First, I have nothing with which to properly display them. Second, the paint will fade over the years with exposure to light, and I want them to be in great shape years down the road. They are increasing in value considerably since they were purchased, as the Chinese themselves have come to appreciate these gems, not for holding snuff, but as pieces of miniature art. They may be the only real inheritance my kids ever get.

There's still chaos around here. Packing supplies still litter the house, and sealed and labeled boxes are piling up. But the tops of the kitchen cabinets are clear for the first time, and the storage units in my bedroom are gaining some freedom from clutter. If I concentrate my attention, I can almost imagine I'm gaining order in the house!

Note to self: put packing tape on the shopping list. Oh, and a fresher magic marker.

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