Four weeks ago our home of fourteen years went on the market. Each day I vacuum, polish, scrub and Swiffer every inch of the 3,040 SF “fantastic single-level custom home” my realtor assures will sell at any moment. Until then I am a maid in a fancy hotel who readies the presidential suite and waits. Flowers and fresh fruit are all that remain visible on sparkling kitchen counters. Coffee maker, tea kettle or anything useful? Banished to the pantry. Odiferous bacon, heady garlic, oven-dirtying roasted chicken? Not on the menu. I lurk in the hallway each time the cats enter the laundry room. Every sign of their existence must be eliminated. If the house does not sell soon I will have to enter a rehab program for those obsessed with cleaning perfection.
My simultaneous mission is to sell off half our household without wrecking its ambience. My latest coup? The sale of a fabulous formal dining room set via eBay. Purchased in Hong Kong in 1986, this huge table is made from solid rosewood and is elaborately carved with wine grapes. A beautiful, expensive and unique Asian beauty. Hardly a garage sale item. Somehow I am not surprised this well-traveled table is about to head 3,000 miles across the country to its new home in Long Island, NY. The buyer was willing to pay as much for shipping as the table itself.
Many glasses have been raised over the years around that Hong Kong table. Fabulous meals consumed. Parties, birthdays and holidays celebrated. Memories, good and bad. Five years ago a gravely ill friend with a brain tumor destroyed one of the table’s custom handmade chair cushions in a New Year’s dinner party I would very much like to forget.
Downsizing means letting go and moving on. Along with the dining room table I bid farewell to an antique mahjong table, barstools, bookcases, artwork and more. My “mother of all garage sales” is coming as soon as the house sells. Putting a price on one’s treasures and bargaining with neighbors and strangers is liberating and difficult all at the same time.
Yesterday also marked my final visit to the medical tattoo artist who pronounced her handiwork on my reconstructed breasts complete. My downsized boobs and belly continue to settle and heal. A different sort of letting go of the past and moving forward.