Sunday, June 27, 2010

Packing Our Memories

Moving Boxes with Quito
Originally uploaded by
furbird designs

Today was quite a productive day. It started out a bit slow, which was nice. My cousin and I spent the morning watching the beginning of the televised San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. I suppose we were not very good gays, as we never left the couch, nor did we wave any flags. I did have some nice brief conversations with a couple of my lesbian neighbors. Does that count? I think the big gay in the sky will forgive me, as while I am Out, and proud, my mind is on other things this year. Actually last year was not much different, as Michael was not doing well enough to be out watching parades, or participating in any kind of celebrations.

My cousin left with Michael's car around noon, and I turned off the television and got to work. I did some paint touch up in the front of my home, then re stained a bench that sits out front by my front stairs. After that I was driving to Lowes, trying to find a replacement pump for my backyard fountain, but instead bought a bunch of flowers to do some re potting. It was a very windy day, so not exactly the best of weather to be planting flowers. I wanted to give my house a freshening up, some curb appeal. The Realtors are coming by tomorrow afternoon to go over the detailed plan for selling my home. I then moved back into the house, and began packing everything left on our bookshelves in the living room and dining room.

I know that I still have three weeks before I pack up the house, but I wanted to get used to what the house will look like when it is bare. I was boxing up many of our small treasures that we have collected in our time together. Some of them I had before meeting Michael, and some are from his past travels as well. I wrapped each piece carefully in paper, then kind of lovingly placed them into boxes. This gave me the opportunity to appreciate each item, and to think back to what each item meant to us. Rather than feel sad about our possessions being packed away, I feel good knowing that they are safely placed into these boxes for our move. I know where they are at, which is quite comforting. I then moved to the many pictures we have framed, and hanging on our walls. I took down all of our family photos, but left of some less personal framed photos. I wanted the Realtors to get a feel for the house sans our personal affects.

I took a break to get dinner for the boys, but then returned to my tasks at hand. By now the house looked quite dusty, so I did a thorough cleaning, removing all rugs from the floor, and taking out any nonessential pieces of furniture. I'm really going to sparse if you haven't noticed. The last thing I will work on will be our bedroom. While I have already placed our books in boxes, I don't want to change too much about our bedroom for a couple of weeks. For one, I'm not quite sure I am ready to place all of our memories into boxes. With out them in our bedroom, it would feel like I was placing Michael into a box. And although I guess he is essentially in a box, I want to believe that all the little mementos that surround his urn brings him comfort.

I then got brave, and called Michael's mother for a check in. We haven't spoken on the phone for a few weeks actually. She filled me in on the Lowrie side of the family. She went to a baby shower for Michael's cousin, and said that everyone wanted to know how I was doing. I liked hearing that. I shared with her where I am with all of my plans, which I'm sure made her a bit sad. I reminded her that I wanted her and the girls to come down for a visit very soon, and that I would certainly be coming up to visit with her whenever I could. We made tentative plans for her to visit me during one of the next couple of weekends.

My daughter called tonight to tell me about her day. She had a really good day, and got to visit the local grocery store where the boys and I will be living. I like knowing that she was moving about our new neighborhood. She sound very homesick, but I reminded her that I would be down there in just three weeks. I think she will be fine.

This afternoon one of my neighbors walked over to talk with me while I was potting my flowers. She said that she has enjoyed watching the kids help me load up the car for our many trips to the storage unit. It made her happy to know that I had created the family I had spoke of wanting when I first moved into the neighborhood 17 years ago. I thought this was a sweet thing for her to take the time to share that with me. Of course in my mind I was telling myself that, yes, I do have the family I always wanted, but it is now missing an important person. I'm trying not to dwell on that right now, as it makes me very sad.

Oh how I wish this was the move that Michael and I planned many years ago. Ironically, my youngest brother and I both bought our houses at the same time 17 years ago. He and his wife are currently buying a new house as well. He has shared with me the many plans they have together for making their new house their home. Here I am, selling my house with a plan to buy a new one as well. And just like the last time, I will be buying it alone. It just doesn't seem fair. But my own words come back to bite me in the ass. "Who said life was fair?"

I can't allow myself to sink below the surface right now. I need to put some of those more vulnerable feelings into one of the boxes for packing. I will have plenty of time later to open it back up and feel what it is I need to feel. For now, I need to hold on to my strength so I can get through this upcoming transition.


  1. The little cartoon at the top of this post reminds me of when I was packing up my stuff last spring. I have photos of Sage, who was still a puppy, sitting atop boxes I'd just finished packing - fortunately those containing books and not fragile objects!

    I think it's very nice that your daughter is already down in SD checking things out. It's almost like having someone "on the ground" doing reconnaissance for you. She'll probably be a great guide by the time you get down there!

    So much of what you are writing about is still fresh in my mind re: packing up the house to sell. It actually felt good to get everything into well-marked boxes. I had a strong sense that Don would have liked what I was doing. I tried to hold that thought - that he would have enjoyed this new adventure - as I wrapped and packed our belongings. There's really no point in dwelling on the sad stuff. You're right about holding onto your strength so that you can get through the transition. It seems like you are right on top of things.

  2. Thanks Bev. I appreciate hearing about how all this went for you, as I seem to be walking a similar response path. At this point every room is boxed up except the kitchen and my bedroom. I think I will tackle the kitchen next. What I am finding is that as I am getting so much done, sooner than I thought, I am able to do some of the improvement projects myself, rather than hire someone else to take care of them. By the time I have my last week here at the house, without the job to attend to, I will have so much free time on my hands. It will allow me to do some things with the boys before we drive off.

  3. Dan, you may find that you have a lot of pent up energy for doing packing and repairs. For me, when I worked on my house to get it ready to sell, it felt like there was finally something I could physically *do* that actually got me somewhere. I found that I was very focused while working on my place and was able to get huge amounts of stuff done each day. It sounds like it could turn out kind of nice if you get finished up early and can do a few fun things with the boys before you leave SF. There are some nice things to do in your city, so that might be a good way to wrap things up and say goodbye before leaving for SD.