Two weeks ago my Mom arrived from Texas to help us get packed up. Well, she actually came for Zac and Tara's high school graduation, but she arrived a few days early to pack. From the moment she arrived, time flashed by like a whirlwind. We had already filled a room with stuff we thought might possibly make the cut, but since most of what we were sending would end up in her ranch house (or so I thought) Mom had a big vote as to what went in the U-Haul.
In my mind, very few boxes would remain unpacked once at the ranch, so I tried to be judicious in the things I picked out. Ultimately, we focused on things we think we'd like to have when we come off the road, but that's kind of difficult to figure out. We took a stab at it anyway. There's stuff the kids want but have no room for currently.
Then Mom mentioned some stuff could go into the Conex. Say what? She told me that my Dad had moved a 20' Conex shipping container to the ranch and it was just sitting there waiting for our stuff. OMG! This changed everything! We had rented a 20-foot U-Haul, so I took on the motto of the USPS - "If it fits, it ships!"
We spent days and days sorting through stuff, packing boxes and making decisions. Some days we were ruthless, others we got emotional and kept stuff we probably should have tossed. Having that container sure took the pressure off me having to worry about overloading my parents with stuff they can't use. Loads and loads went into the estate sale room and loads more went into the trash. In the end, we had 49 boxes, most of which were medium-sized to small. We did end up shipping more furniture than we had planned and we are happy to have been able to save a few things we love, but had been willing to let go.
I know I saved more things than I would have without the container, but I don't think it was much. Mostly what we added last minute were things my Dad and sister Shannon wanted. A generator. Some tools and shelves for my Dad's barn. A wheelbarrow. We managed to load up the Libyan wedding chest and camel saddle (I know, right?) to send to a friend.
During all the packing activity, we had a house full of people - our family of five, Mom, Dad, Shannon and Ron, Zoe and Zac's dad. We had to use a couple of air mattresses, but we found spots for everyone to sleep amidst the chaos. We really had a great time, lots of happy hours, storytelling and belly laughs. And most importantly, graduation went off without a hitch. We are so proud of Zac and Tara!
Saturday following graduation, it was time to load the U-Haul. It was difficult to gauge just how much would fit and for whatever reason we thought we were going to load it ourselves. We came to our senses a few days before and Steven managed to hire a couple of pros. It took them about three hours, but they got it all in there with room to spare. Mom and I made a mad dash through the house looking for more stuff, but we didn't find anything else we wanted. Dad got to take a case of Two Buck Chuck he bought, so he was happy.
By 8:00 am Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes to my parents and they left for the long trip to Texas. Steven and I totally recognize how lucky we are to have my parent's help in this crazy adventure of ours. They are road trip people and they have traveled the roads of this country long before there were even Interstate highways. They love it, although they'd probably prefer to do it in something other than a U-Haul truck! We are so grateful to them, for all the help, emotional support, the driving and the storage.
As of this morning, the estate sale team has been here all day, working on getting things sorted and set up for the sale. It's the most relaxing day we've had in weeks. We've moved the kid's furniture into our bedroom so it won't get sold, and we're all holed up trying to stay out of their way. My sister Shannon is still here and the team found her suitcase and had it unloaded and on the shelves to sell before we could move it. She had to go around and find it all again.
When the team leaves, Steven and I will of course go around and snag everything we can't live without. Hope it won't be much!
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