It’s a strange thing about possession. Every little trinket you own becomes part of you. Of what defines the you. And just as it’s gut-wrenching to give up the physical parts of you—say, an appendix—without brutal necessity, it takes similar effort to cut yourself loose from all those little objects that have been become a part over time. They’re like external appendices—not necessary to live, but it’s no picnic having them taken away.
And so it was with a bittersweet disposition that we approached our housecooling party yesterday. We had spent weeks coming to terms with letting go of so much of our stuff—our sweet, beloved stuff—and yet so many times during the party we had to deal with “Are you really getting rid of this great [thing]?” and “I can’t believe you don’t want this!” It was all we could do not to grab it all back and hide it under the bed.
The weekend leading up to the party was spent turning my house into a flea market. As we wanted these items to move move MOVE, we made it simple for our guests. First we hid the shelves of stuff we wanted to keep behind protective paper; at that point, we were in a position to say, “If you can see it and pick it up, you can take it.” If it was on a shelf or piece of furniture, it was free to go. We were courting people’s inner klepto. That included about a dozen shelves of books, a bed topped with clothes, and gobs and gobs of kitchen tools.
That was half the weekend. The other half was a marathon of cooking and prepping. To me this is the best part of party-throwing, and this is why I’m so stoked about the large kitchen we’ll get to play with in the new place. We had three categories—finger food, grilled food, and things that need a plate. (Obviously, there was overlap, but that’s why God invented cross-referencing.) Just a sample of what we made: dolma, three kinds of bruchetta, beef kabobs, molasses cookies, veggie cakes. I’d go on, but there’s drool dripping all over the keys.
Here you can see some of the food, along with Sarah’s clever paint chips-turned-food labels.
The party was a hit, in that we successfully and pleasantly fed both the bellies and backpacks of all our friends. (That “all” should really be “most of”, as a few had other Labor Day arrangements. I’ll be thinking of those poor souls as I eat their portions for lunch this week.) And despite the best efforts of all involved, we were still left with a few hundred pounds of unwanted stuff, stuff which now clutters my living room. Goodwill, you ain’t gonna know what hit you.
I guess in the long run it works out. To counter all that loss, we’re about to take on one jah-normous gain. It feels healthier this way—in order to make room for the new, we must clean out the old. All those old little pieces of Sandy and Sarah are now making their way out in the world, finding new homes and identities to latch onto. And in the particular case of Bob and his new bear, it was clearly a latch made in heaven.