Nobody wants your junk

This is Harvey.


He has guarded my box garden for years, through bunny invasions, liquid summers and pesky deer.

I’ve liked Harvey ever since I saw him in the Walmart garden center. I’m always happy to see him when I’m checking on the tomatoes. He hides behind them when the plants are full of leaves.

But we’re moving into a 32-foot motor home and Harvey, and all the other little things I’ve collected over the years won’t fit. They have to go.

The teapots I got as Christmas presents, the antique furniture, the books I had to have hard copies of, the fancy Christmas dishes and the Pampered Chef I bought out of guilt at my girlfriends’ parties, all has to go.

Here’s a hard truth. No one wants your crap.

In some countries it’s considered rude to die and leave your junk around for other people to ditch. Old people get rid of stuff before they die. In Sweden it’s called “death cleaning.”

So far, my daughters have passed on taking my childhood solid maple bedroom furniture, the child’s rocker Aunt Frankie gave me, the tea cups collected by my grandmother, the baseball signed by the Pirates who won the 1960 World Series.

They either don’t want the stuff because it’s not their style or they don’t have room to store it. They have their own junk.

A friend advised calling an auctioneer to sell the stuff off.

On the phone the auctioneer said he would be happy to come over to see what we had. When he came over he barely glanced at our stuff before trying to get us to sell the house through an auction, where we would pay for all the advertising up front and he would take a cut of the proceeds.

We said no thanks. We just want you to auction off our junk. He told us he couldn’t sell our stuff. There wasn’t enough of it to make it worth his while. I guess we should have been hoarders. Then he told a racist joke and left.

I’ve found homes for some things.

One daughter took her grandmother’s pedal sewing machine. I donated two other electric sewing machines. Another person has said she’ll take the piano for her church youth center.

And the rest of the stuff is gradually going to our local Rescue Mission. Maybe they’ll make some money off my junk.

What I’m finding is that I can do without. I don’t need fancy Christmas dishes to enjoy the holiday with my family. I don’t need heavy Pampered Chef cookware to make a meal. And I don’t need a blanket from World War II just because my mom got it as a wedding present.

So I’m saying goodbye to things including Harvey.

I ‘ll miss ya Harve. But I’m sure someone will pick you off the Rescue Mission shelf and put you in their garden. The tomatoes should be good this year.


I blame George Bush for our motor home

20180127_155455I blame George Bush the second for our motor home.

In 2008, to head off a recession Bush sent out a tax rebate to jump start the economy.

I thought we were going to use the $1,200 to buy a TV or pay off debts. Joe wanted a kayak. I didn’t even know he knew how to kayak.

We bought a tandem kayak.

There’s a lot we don’t know about each other. Like, after 30 years of marriage we both discovered we like slimy bacon. All those years we made crispy bacon because we thought that’s the way the other one like it. Who knew? But I digress.

After the kayak we bought a pop up camper.We’d always tent camped, but were now tired of sleeping on the ground. We bought an Aliner Ranger 12 with a bed that made up into a couch, a dinette that folded into a bed, a sink, stove, air conditioner and heater. We pulled it behind our four cylinder Jeep Compass.

Our first long trip was from our home in Auburn, New York to Yellowstone. That’s when I learned about “full timers.”

We stayed one night in a KOA outside Yellowstone before entering the park.  I met two women in the laundry. They both had just retired and were traveling around the country with their husbands in an RV, full time with no fixed address for a home.

That night I told Joe about my conversation with the women. I thought no more of it.

We never spoke about retirement. I’d never thought that far. When it did cross my mind I saw myself moving back to Pittsburgh, where I was born. I saw a little house in the city and a life full of volunteering, knitting and being closer to family.

Joe saw years of sitting in Pittsburgh with nothing to do.

Joe remembered the conversation about the traveling women. Two years ago he broached the subject of living full time in a motor home. We could travel the country, seeing all the great national parks. Stay for a month at a time in a great place. Live in new cities and experience new things. Volunteer for disaster relief and see our kids and grandkids for weeks at a time, not just on hurried holidays or weekends.

What did I think?

I called my daughters. YOUR father has gone off the deep end. He wants to buy a motor home.

The oldest, who lives outside of Detroit with her husband and two kids, counseled patience. Let him research it. He’ll soon grow tired of it, she advised.

The youngest, who lives with her husband in Pittsburgh, was all for it. Sounds like fun, she enthused.

So I went along with Joe to the RV shows. Researched traveling.

We picked up our 33 foot Jayco Precept in February and in June we’re hitting the road on a long adventure.

But, there’s still a lot of steps between now and June 22.