A few of my siblings and I are going to gather in a couple of days to clean up the big house, so as to possibly rent it out as a source of income. The big house was the term given to the folks’ cinder-block home, up here on the ridge, back in the day when there were mostly little houses.
Pauline is ninety-one years old and residing in an assisted-living situation in Windsor, a site that allows her to thrive in an environment surrounded by others who can do most things, but need a little help with a few details along the way.
However, it is a fairly costly venture. In an effort to accomplish several goals simultaneously, it was deemed appropriate that some care and attention be given to the original homestead up here on Bell Springs Road, if for no other reason than the house will deteriorate quickly without such maintenance.
However, there are several other reasons for undertaking this endeavor and one is that Pauline still has most of her possessions up at this house. Now it’s not practical for her to import them to her studio apartment in Windsor, because she has already filled that one to capacity, but she would still like to see some flexibility, so that she might be delivered a box or two of possessions from Bell Springs, in exchange for a comparable amount of goods being exported.
If it sounds kind of complicated, it beats the alternative of transporting her up to the house. First of all, she is a very frail individual. The ride would be uncomfortable and interminable. Second, the house itself is not a healthy environment for a person of her fragile nature. There are steps, stairs and unconventional features to the big house that make it impractical.
I do understand that she may have need of information, documentation, books, videos, etc. so we are happy to make those arrangements. So the main goal for this upcoming venture is to sort, classify, clean and relocate, so as to make the place available for rent, and to present to Pauline a list of the contents so that she can determine if there is something she is in need of.
I think our crew is up for the task. Kevin is joining us and his presence will be valuable. As an eleven-something year old, Kevin moved with Robert and Pauline from the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal, to this mountain ridge in northern Mendocino County, where he lived until after he had graduated from Laytonville High School and traipsed off to Santa Clara university.
J.T. is coming from Sebasketball to lend a hand and she’s such a good organizer that I am sure we are miles ahead before we even start. If we are lucky enough to have Mikey here too, we will be that much further ahead of the game.
Laura and Isabel are coming from Redding and are key to the whole process. Laura will be sifting through sheet music for one thing and the two of them always bring their own inner music to any venue, even if it’s a house-cleaning, three-day event.
We are assembling a shop vacuum cleaner, latex gloves, masks, garbage sacks, new empty boxes, mops, buckets, cleansers, scrubbers and vast unlimited quantities of good booze and drugs. OK, the last sentence is just my imagination running amok. Sounds inviting, though.
The folks doing the cleaning are not making any decisions, believe me. I am in no position to be doling out the possessions of my parents, nor am I interested in preventing anyone else from acquiring a beloved memento from his or her childhood.
All I am interested in accomplishing is putting the past behind us and moving forward in a direction that works for everyone. I am also taking notes and paying close attention.
One thing I can assure you is that when it comes time for me to join in the Eternal Bleachers in the sky, there will be minimal detritus remaining from my time here on the earth. Life’s complicated enough when you have to keep track of your own stuff, let alone someone else’s.
That being said, rest assured, Pauline, that your possessions are in good hands, and we will look after your things.