Nancy Barber (nlbarber) wrote,
Nancy Barber

Progress on Daddy's house

Despite good intentions and firm resolutions, we (my brothers and I) haven't made a lot of progress in clearing out my father's house. He died in June, and the only serious work we'd managed was to move vast quantities of papers--personal files, genealogy research, family papers, memorabilia, you name it-- from the vacant house to his old office space, after first removing almost as vast quantities of paper from the office itself. My cousins, who now own the office building and run their contracting business from it, graciously offered to let us store stuff in Daddy's space as they have no plans for it in the near future. The younger of these cousins had been spending a lot of time with Daddy the last year or so talking family history, genealogy, and just general chat, and he would like to continue to have access to some of those papers, too. Works for everyone.

So, the great paper moving was, I think, August. That same trip we threw away vast amounts of other paper--back issues of magazines, mostly, but also outdated computer manuals, newsletters, tax manuals, reference materials, and so forth--all the stuff that we at a quick perusal decided had no family history connection. Trashing all that paper hurt lots of ways--I'd love to have been able to donate the old magazines, or at least recycle the paper, but the options are very limited in a south Georgia town of 13,000 people. Sometimes I've hauled recyclables home with me to Atlanta, but the volume just made that impossible.

August was also when older brother came and got Daddy's car, which he'd decided to take. September, younger brother dealt with getting the contents of the house appraised, necessary for the estate taxes. October I was in Moultrie for a week for Sunbelt, and younger brother came down for a mini high school reunion and a little more joint work on the house. Then there was a big gap--I made a Disney World trip in early November, then came Thanksgiving, then Hanukkah, then Christmas. (Mixed marriage next door, you may recall.) Oh, we did do one very useful exercise over Thanksgiving, when older brother and family had come to Atlanta. We took the inventory pictures of the house and discussed who might be interested in various items, primarily the larger stuff like furniture. On almost everything only one person had any need or interest, and for most other times one person backed off to let the other have it. We're all more at the de-cluttering stages of our lives, plus we all hope to not get in any battles over any part of wrapping up this estate. It shows!

Finally we committed to MLK Day weekend for a work weekend. Older brother drove to Atlanta Thursday evening and spent the night with me, then we drove separately on to Moultrie Friday afternoon. Younger brother and family followed once the kids were all collected from school. Saturday we tackled china, crystal, and associated Stuff, and moved on to the kitchen equipment. I cleaned out the freezer and got it turned off, sister-in-law and I worked over the few remaining things in the pantry, either pitching them or adding them to our 'take home' piles. Younger niece spent Saturday working with my copy of Readerware to inventory the botanical books--my parents' hobby was photographing and studying wildflowers, and we ended up with over 200 books in that listing without wandering into the gardening or other natural history books. Sunday we finished going through the kitchen, s-i-l took over the botany book inventory, and my brothers and I surveyed the contents of the guest house and my Granddaddy's garage, next door to the house I grew up in and used as combined family storage and as a play area (but not as a garage in my memory). When Granddaddy's house was sold, Daddy retained the garage rather than have to clean it out.

As was repeated over the weekend, my family had too much space available so there was little pressure to get rid of anything. If you thought it might be useful later, there was always somewhere to store it.

Let's see--younger brother cleared the attic, mostly old electronics, and added to the pile he's been building for the next recycling event down there. Older brother went through his model airplane shop area (which was upstairs over Granddaddy's garage) and then found a local club who agreed to take the pieces and see if someone could use them. I worked more on books and kitchen stuff and cleaning the freezer and I don't remember what else. Older brother had several phone consultations with his wife and two sons on what items they might need or want, adding more stuff to his pile all the way. (I had a nice session with his younger son, wandering around the kitchen with the phone at my ear and feeling like a TV huckster: "we have an older model small Cuisinart, or a blender with separate ice-crusher attachment... Do you need a flat casserole dish? Corningware plates? Glasses? Large balloon whisk (there were 2 of those)? Potato peeler (6 of those...)? Coleman cooler?" )

At 5:30 we dashed over for a short visit with Beatrice, who worked for the family for many years. Then it was over to one of my cousins' house for dinner with all of that side of the family that live in Moultrie--my aunt, two cousins, and their families--before we came back for more packing and sorting.

This morning was mostly a race to pack vehicles and get on the road. The folks next door had to be back for a doctor's appointment for one of the kids, and older brother has a longer drive, to Durham, N.C. I ran a load of towels and one of sheets and finished off the loading of my car and the last chores (thermostats turned down, garbage out) as the sheets were drying. I filled the back of my old CR/V with a full layer of boxes, grocery bags of books/groceries/misc. items tucked in corners, and framed pictures on top. My suitcase did wedge into the back, but my cooler and laptop case rode in the passenger seat...after I dropped off two more file boxes of papers at Daddy's old office. I was briefly held up by the MLK parade, but got on the road at 2 and was home about 6.

We're going to try to make another weekend with at least me and my brothers in February--don't know if younger s-i-l and kids will come on that one or not. And it may not work out, as I have a weekend committed to my annual JazzerThon event for breast cancer research and older brother only had one weekend available by his work schedule. We'll see if those two conflict.
Tags: family, moultrie

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