At the end of January, I headed back to Nebraska for another round of work on mom's stuff. Brandon kept the kids, and we had some ladies from church who were kind enough to watch them during the day while he was at work. This was my first time leaving Eli and while I'm normally not too sentimental about such things, I was really anxious about it for some reason. I think he did fine, although Brandon said he was generally kind of fussy. I'd like to think it was because he wanted his mama, but if I were honest, it was probably because he is getting his molars.
As you might have guessed, January in Nebraska isn't the perfect time to be working in a non-heated house. But this was the only time that we could swing it with our schedules and our primary goal was to get stuff out of storage. This was our task:
Ugh. Doesn't it annoy you just looking at it? It always stirs up such conflicting emotions. In some ways this was our own doing. You may remember that back in July I cleaned out three of mom's storage units. Well, this storage unit technically wasn't her's but it was one that we had gotten to put all the salvageable stuff from her apartment and other storage units. Since the house was full when we cleaned out those things, another storage unit was our only option. Our plan was really just to have it for a few months and then have a garage sale. But a few months turned into eight months and we really needed to eliminate that expense. But eight months later and I really am tired of dealing with all the stuff. There is SO much stuff! As we loaded things up, we once again sorted through it taking a few loads to the Goodwill. There was a part of both of us that just wanted to take it all to Goodwill and be done, but we knew that there were a few sentimental things packed in the boxes. Plus there is a part of us that really needs to make some money back on all the expenses we have had with this clean up. Anyhow, I have to say that for working outside in January, the weather was perfect the first day. The second day it snowed, but we managed to get the rest of it moved.
We also managed to sneak in lunch at the restaurant down the street. It was just a few blocks away and I can't tell you how many nights we walked there for dinner growing up.
The third day, we woke up to a flat tire on my mom's car. Seriously? This car has been a thorn in our side physically, emotionally, and relationally! You may remember that back in September it got broken into while I was there driving it. Then in October someone hit me when I was back in Nebraska cleaning out the house. And this time we discovered that it hadn't just gone flat...the side wall of the tire had been slashed.
We did manage to meet my grandma for breakfast and then took her over to the house to see if a few of the remaining things might have belonged to my great-grandma. I was glad to have finished the bulk of our work the day before because it was like 15 ° this particular morning and this Florida girl was freezing!
It is still strange to me to walk through the house without all the mess there. I don't really recognize it. But as we walked Grandma through, Geoff pointed out that one thing that is hard to grasp is that it was that cold inside when we lived there as kids. It was a sobering moment as I stood there remembering and watching our breath hit the cold air around us.
After that we had a couple additional items of mom's to pick up from a house my grandpa owns...or so we thought. When we got there disappointment set in. There was probably an additional 25-30 boxes of stuff. After the pipes in our childhood home broke and Geoff and I had both left, my mom had moved into this house of my grandpa's for a few years. So in addition to all the boxes stacked in the corner of the living room, the one room where she slept was pretty much the same way she left it 15+ years ago. So was the dining room table area. It was so, so, so defeating. Here we were, thinking we had gone through all her stuff, cleaned it up and were at a point were we just had to have a garage sale and be done. But instead we had two more van loads of unsorted stuff to take back to mom's house. We didn't have time to go through the bedroom or dining room area so that will be another visit I'm sure. (sigh)
On a happier note, one of the highlights of the trip was meeting my sister's new puppy, Maggie Jean. She was such a snuggler and oh so cute!!