Too Much Stuff

IMG_0016Oh my gosh – I am so relieved that we actually made it out of Reno. There were a few times over the last week that I didn’t actually think it would happen. But, in the end, preparations always take exactly as long as you have, so this was no exception. Literally, I was packing away the last boxes when the cleaners showed up and the house was only unoccupied for one night. After two weeks of packing and moving for the better part of every day, we decided that we have entirely too much stuff…and we have only lived in that house for two years! While it was stressful to have to deal with all of our “stuff”, it is also quite liberating to leave it all behind. At this point we have pared our life’s possessions down to one carry-on sized bag and one small daypack each. If we don’t have it, we will either have to live without it or buy it along the way.

The day we left was also Lucia’s birthday and we didn’t want the chaos of departure to overwhelm her big day. Colburn purchased glow in the dark balloons, a fun birthday banner and a beautiful birthday cake so we would be able to make it at least a little special for her. We were camping the first night so Mac distracted Lucia with a little hike while we decorated the trailer with lights, balloons, and the banner. It was a lovely if subdued event. Celebrating birthdays may prove to be difficult on the road, but we are hoping it will be easier since we won’t be moving out of our home, trying to get all of our “stuff” where it needs to be, and knee-deep in final preparations when the next birthday comes around.

Our first stop was with Deb’s brother (Rick) and sister-in-law (Laura) who just purchased a new hobby farm in California. It has been their life dream to have a piece of property like this so we are incredibly excited for them to embark on their journey to rural life and wanted to see it before we left. Serendipitously we dropped in on the first “Lowellpalooza” – a crazy weekend of kids, wine, swimming, and friends from their old neighborhood camping on their farm. There were probably 10 or 12 families dealing with the record breaking heat currently engulfing the West Coast. Although a bit overwhelming for us coming off of our craziness getting out of Reno, it was great to be able to share the event with them and to see them in a place that seems perfect.

We also dropped off some of our most prized possessions (Moxie, the trailer and the truck) with the Lowell’s. We were all very sad to say goodbye to Moxie. We knew it would be difficult, but driving away from him was definitely the most difficult goodbye so far. With friends and family you can make arrangements to see them on the road or keep in touch through Skype and telephone calls. But, with a dog that greets you with a tail wag and request for a collar scratch every morning for the last nine years it is hard to reconcile not seeing him for a year or maybe even more. He has a gentle, knowing presence that grounds each of us when we are stressed. Stroking his soft curly fur is incredibly calming. We know that he will be loved and well-cared for, so it will be fine for him after the first few days. We are mourning our loss, not his.

Today Colburn’s sister dropped us off at the airport and we are on the first of many flights as I write this. Although we were so “proud” to have fit all of our stuff in to a carry-on sized packs, just walking though the airport today made us realize that they are too heavy to be sustainable. We have too much stuff. Yes, it all fits, but the kids are falling backwards with the weight. Colburn and I looked like pack mules with the kids bags, our bags, and our daypacks walking down the aisle on the plane. When we get to Grandpa’s house, we are going to have to do some serious paring down of both weight and volume.

12 responses to Too Much Stuff

  1. Laura Lowell says:

    Hi from Moxie!! He’s doing great and adjusting to life on the farm. He’s been chasing rabbits (thankfully he hasn’t caught one yet), playing in the creek and settling in. You can tell he misses you all. Love and hugs….L

  2. Don Ricardo says:

    Note to all. Moxie is no longer the curly haired presence reffered to in the post. He and his cousin Abby saw fit to adventure down to the “spring” (real estate speak for “swampy stinky mud hole”) and came bounding up the driveway in pure slime covered doggie bliss. After a quick trip to the groomer, He is now a short haired sleek & sporty version of his former self. He loves his new “wash & wear” do and is Adapting to his new country life with ease.

  3. Lisa Bruce says:

    I love the continuous “paring down”… can’t wait to see what you have in a month!

  4. Luann Moore says:

    This is exactly how we were when we moved to Europe for a year. Leaving our cats was the worst! And despite our best efforts, we still had too much stuff. Our realization came when we arrived in Zurich and needed to get on a train! Yikes! Getting that much stuff on a train with a strict schedule almost killed us. We downsized quickly, taking only a medium sized backpack each on our trips. It was tough to downsize, but very liberating. What a wonderful lesson for your kiddos! Congrats on the first phase of your journey! Keep up the posts. They are wonderful to read!

  5. Sharon Jimenexz says:

    H I always have too much STUFF….Rick is gold mining this weekend and Laaura and the girls are in LA to watch Nolan audition for a singing show, Rick will be home late this afternoon so I will so give the dogs a potty break. Moxie is the sweetest dog and looks so cute with her new do. Happy trails. Grammy

    • dshindell says:

      Thanks for the update, Grammy! We miss Moxie but excited to be getting going. Knowing he’s in good hands makes it so much easier!

  6. Cary Ingbar says:

    Colburn and Deb, thinking enviously of your trip. What a fabulous experience it will be. Can totally relate to the too heavy suitcase! Thought I wasn’t doing too bad till it had to haul it all up 92 steps to an apartment in Cinqua Terra, Italy! Too many travel books. I look forward to following your adventures. 104 degrees today. Oh boy.

    • dshindell says:

      Funny you say that because much of the weight we shed was in books! We have ditched a few other things was well, but the majority of weight issue was reading material. We have now committed to e-books as the main source of pleasure reading. The kids math and geography are hard copy, but everything else is digital.

  7. Tammy says:

    Damn dogs!

    It if makes you feel any better, remember when Ian went up to Galilee for TWO nights and I packed so much stuff in his backpack that he couldn’t stand up? There’s no way I could get us that pared down…

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