A little while ago I did something you probably take for granted. I sat on our sofa. Not long enough to make a butt imprint, mind you, but long enough to remember what it was like to live in a non-renovation state of being.
That comfy piece of furniture has been covered with canvas painter’s drop cloths since about August. The brown leather ottoman has been face down on it for just as long, while a box of books covered the remainder of the seat. The drop sheets were my best effort to keep the drywall dust, paint, and general construction debris off it. For the most part, it appears I succeeded.
What I have noticed on virtually all the furniture are small nicks and scratches. Tiny wounds on the wooden legs are no doubt a result of the tight quarters and constant moving they were subjected to. Luckily, I don’t mind the character of patina and real life.
I wish I would’ve documented the whole process with photos and/or a diary. Instead I lived it and hope It’s like the pain of childbirth: forgotten when the precious bundle appears.
We have come so far and are so grateful for every speck of progress we’ve made with the help of carpenters, painters, and installers. Tackling the project, not in its entirety, but in more manageable bite-sized hourly or daily tasks made it bearable and lulled us into a false sense of how much was left to do and how long it might take.
As we handled/moved/stacked every single object we own several times it became painfully clear how damn much stuff we have. I’m guilty as charged when it comes to books. As I attempt to restock the eight bookcases, I try to purge.
And I have. But not nearly enough.
In tandem with this activity at home, we are clearing out the Edmonton apartment of Roy’s 95-year-old aunt, who is now in long term care. Surely there is a lesson here for all of us. We cannot take it with us. She’s down to living with a nightstand, a couple of stacking stools for visitors and some of her clothing. Yes, She’s had the use and enjoyment of all her possessions for a very long time. And I hope we do too. But the truth is, we can all live with less.
Yesterday Hilary helped us at the apartment for a couple of hours and even sentimental, sensitive Hilary knew that much of the really old stuff was garbage and not wanted by anyone. She wanted some things and took them, but we all said no to so much more.
Once we’re done going through every single possession we’ll be calling Goodwill or Salvation Army or a women’s shelter (a cause near and dear to our aunt) to pick up the best of what remains.
In the meantime I need to reevaluate what deserves space in our almost new home. It won’t be easy, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.