At the end of my post, Portsmouth – Chapter 1 – We moved for the weather…, I wrote:
“In July , while waiting to catch a ferry to Grand Manan Island for a three-week vacation we received a text from our real estate agent “We have a contract!” Grand Manan is a lovely island in the Bay of Fundy with flaky internet. We spent part of our vacation signing the documents to sell our house, dealing with inspection issues, and, sight unseen, renting an apartment in Portsmouth…all with sporadic drops of our internet connection.
Once we returned home it was a whirlwind month of arranging for a mover, disposing of more stuff, cleaning the house, arranging for a storage unit in Portsmouth, and packing the stuff we didn’t trust the movers to pack. At the end of August, we bid Maryland a fond farewell and headed north to our new home…”
Well, looking back on it, the whirlwind began before we arrived home. Most years, we would leave Grand Manan and head straight home, perhaps spending an evening in Massachusetts to visit family, or Portland, Maine (to avoid the worst of the Sunday Traffic). This year was different.
Before we could go home, we had two commitments. First, we made a two-day drive from Grand Manan to Toronto so my wife could attend a class she needed to maintain a certification. We were there for three days, and while my wife attended her class, I did a personal photo walking tour, and then spent a couple of days happily exploring the city and taking pictures.
After leaving Toronto, we had a couple of days to make our way to Worcester, Massachusetts for a two-day visit and family celebration. On the way we visited Niagara Falls and Seneca Falls, NY, site of the first women’s rights convention in the United States. We spent two days in Worcester, and then headed back to Potomac.
So, almost a month after we first received the contract on our house, we arrived home and the whirlwind kicked into high gear. Before we put the house on the market we had thrown away, given away or had sold, we thought, a lot of stuff. As we looked around, we realized we had just barely scratched the surface. We now had just over three weeks to arrange for a mover, dispose of what would be about 75% or our possessions, clean the house and vacate the premises. Also, we had to squeeze in goodbye lunches/dinners with friends and family, doctors’ appointments, and all that stuff you just normally do on a day-to-day basis. It was exciting.
Books! In the end, we estimated that we donated 2,000 books, or more, to the Friends of the Montgomery County Library. I think we made several trips a week to our local branch with a hand truck full of cartons of books, and sometimes needed to make more than one trip. These days I frequently go looking for a book that I was sure I had kept, but it is no place to be seen. I hope someone else is enjoying it…
I was making almost daily trips to Montgomery County’s Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, aka the dump. BTW, this is what a Transfer Station should be. It has areas for recycling, regular trash, electronics, hazardous materials, used oil, used antifreeze, and metals. I got to know the folks who worked there very well. Most trips to the dump were followed by a visit to Goodwill.
For furniture and household items that were in good shape, and that could fit in the car, we made a trip to A Wider Circle in Silver Spring. This is a wonderful charity that helps homeless and low-income people establish homes and find employment. As an added benefit, after dropping off our donations, we would sometimes head into downtown Silver Spring to have lunch at one of the small international restaurants.
We also sold, or gave away, furniture and other items through the Nextdoor app, Facebook Marketplace, Craigs List and Freecycle. It was an interesting experience as people came to our house to buy or take this stuff. We needed to help people disassemble furniture, and sometimes help carry the items to their vehicles. At one point, a guy who was disassembling a wall unit he had bought, stopped to help us, and another buyer, carry out a mattress. We also learned how cheap some people could be. We had these nice, stackable wireframe wine racks. We tried to sell them for $1.00 each, no takers. Then we offered them for free and had to beat people off with a stick. Looking back, I wish I had kept more of them…
I think my favorite parts of this whole experience involved the stories of getting rid of two sofas. First, we had a leather sofa in the family room that was, to be charitable, worn. We were going to give it away, but a young woman contacted us and said she would give us $50 if we held it for her. Several days later, she showed up with her roommates and a U-Haul truck. The three young women carried it out, loaded it onto the truck and happily drove away! The second was a 1970’s era gold-colored velour sofa with matching armchair. A mother tried to convince her daughter to take the furniture for her college apartment; they were in excellent shape, but dated, and not what a college student wanted in 2017. In the end, Habitat For Humanity ReStore, hauled away everything that we hadn’t already sold, given away or thrown away.
So, just a bit over three weeks after we arrived home, we had divested ourselves of about 75% of our stuff, had packed and moved to a friend’s house everything we wanted to pack and move ourselves. Then the movers showed up and started to pack, and that is story unto itself! The next day the movers finished packing and loaded up the truck. The day after that we made the house “broom clean” and I returned the TV and internet equipment to Comcast. Four days after the packers showed up, we moved into our apartment in Portsmouth. The movers would not show up until the next day for the two-day unload at the apartment and storage unit (again, a story unto itself) but we were both already exhausted. We were both ready for a drink! Fortunately, the British Beer Company was right across the street…