Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Minutiae, Digging Out and Thank You

Man and I have spent the last week or so digging out. (See The Aftermath, a Dream, or Maybe a Nightmare). It is bitter sweet, bringing laughter, ahhhhhhhh moments and of course a few tears.

She sure saved everything, some of the discoveries have been amazing, like some 9 cent airmail stamps found tucked into a ribbon wrapped collection of cards and other trivia from her wedding. There were several groups of wedding memorabilia, shower gift cards, wedding gift cards, wedding congratulation cards and some surprises that I will share with you in future posts.

She had tax forms back to at least 1971. Most of these have now been shredded. Cancelled checks from 1979 have been found, again, most have been shredded. We found a check stub for every pension check she received between 1979 to well past 2000. It is heartbreaking to have to make these kinds of decisions, but, lets be honest here, Man and I cannot keep EVERYTHING.

As a side note, she and Man’s father smoked in that house for years, and most everything paper or fabric has a distinct smell of smoke and age, to us, this is not a pleasant smell. The smell is permeating our home now, so, lots of this must go via the shredding and trash cans. All those lovely afghans, most never used, are being washed to remove the odors.

I have set some parameters of toss vs save. Toss, old envelopes, even the ones the wedding cards were in, that eliminates a lot of mass and smell. I did save a few, perhaps one with some handwriting or that was different and unusual.

Save, photos of family members.  Toss, photos of friends of Man’s parents, many of whom we cannot identify. Man did want to save the envelope containing photos of her old boyfriends. I may scan them at some point and put them on the blog, maybe some of their descendants will find them and claim them.

Cards and letters, Man and I review/read them, one by one. Basic save parameters, save the family ones, toss the others. Envelopes from cards, tossed. Envelopes from letters saved - - - so far - - - we will review and may consider trashing those at a later point, but with time and places indicated in the postmarks, we may save those. The letters have been a blast to review and read. Some of those may eventually find their way to this blog, or at least parts of some of them.

Our house looks like a tornado ripped through the parlor and tossed stuff in many other rooms, front room and the kitchen have mini piles everywhere. I have filled at least 6 large notebooks with the “saved” photos and documents, and there are uncounted boxes left in the parlor to deal with.

Man and I would like to thank you all again for your very kind messages and notes and support. We sent out thank you cards, but, many messages came via email, this blog, Facebook and the Montana Owners Club online forum. Many of our MOC friends are fulltimers and to send you thank you cards, would be difficult. So, I came up with an “out-of-the-box” solution which I hope you will feel is creative and NOT lazy or bad manners. So, to all of you who did not receive a thank you card, please accept this in the manner in which it is offered, humbly, and thankfully.

*And, now, I return to cleaning of the aftermath.  I am starting to ask, does it ever end??  Will I ever finish digging out??

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence



Thomas MacEntee said...


Oh do I remember doing this for my mother - and with the Alzheimer's it meant inspecting every nook and cranny for "stuff".

It is hard work but it is lots of memories to preserve as well.

Anonymous said...

As always your blog is so well written and conveys what you are living through now. I will always have fond memories of "Grandma Millie" and wish you and Man peace and serenity once you have completed this daunting task. Most of us will at some point will be in your shoes but as the family genealogist (?) you have are way ahead of the rest of the population that aren't skilled in genealogy practices. Gods Speed to you both, Love, Debbie (A)

Terri said...

I've not faced this yet, but I feel the winds changing. I imagine it is hard to know what to hang on to and what to throw away. Blessings to you and Man!

TennLady said...

We found that scented dryer sheets in the boxes helped a lot. Especially since his dad's basement had been flooded a couple times. EVERYTHING smelled.

hummer said...

I can see bitter sweet. There is also a spray product out that is called. Neutralizer Spray that is supposed to take the smoke smell out. I tried in my car when the Hero had put his dad's old pipes in the back (ooh smell)and it helped.
Hugs from the Hummer.

Greta Koehl said...

Some good suggestions here for a solution to the smoke smell. I also had to deal with this when I went through my mother's things, and we didn't have Fabreze or dryer sheets in those days. A few of her things still smell of smoke. Good luck with getting through this monumental task!

lindalee said...

Over the past several months, I have been dealing with the cleaning out of my husband's mother's condo. I feel your pain....the amount of acculumation in her place was beyond description....although I do now have MANY new genealogical items to scan and blog about.

Michelle Goodrum said...

In response to, "I am starting to ask, does it ever end?? Will I ever finish digging out??"

I've been asking the same question for years now-ever since my dad died! Thankfully Mom is letting us assist in the clean out but your post really rings with me. And I know exactly wht you mean by your house looking like a tornado ripped through!! I was just informed by Husband that our guest room is starting to look like an episode from Hoarders. LOL

So onward we march...enjoying the wonderful memories and finds while at the same time mourning who we have lost.