What to Keep, What to Delete

Yesterday, Sunday January 24, Carol and I responded to a neighbor’s request for help to unload a 26 foot UHaul truck into a new storage unit. Along with their children and grandchildren and several other Jojoba Hills members we got the job done in 3 hours. As we moved boxes and totes into storage, building a jigsaw puzzle of containers that should not move too much in an earthquake, we saw the product of years of not being able to let go of “things.” Boxes of fabrics for a variety of projects never done, toys that the kids, now in their 50’s had played with, clothes that were not worn out yet and boxes of books “to be read.” As we closed the door on the 25 foot deep storage unit there was not room for a person to stand inside.

Then today, I came across this blog post WheelingIt about the same issue. I had a feeling of superiority about all of this, we don’t have a storage unit. Uh, well, that is . .  . unless you count the 1475 square foot apartment we keep in Rochester to store our stuff. Admittedly we couldn’t stay over night in a storage unit, but we could rent a furnished place when we want to be in Rochester, for a whole lot less than the apartment costs. This year we expect to stay in the apartment for much of August and October, maybe. Our kids used it for 3 nights in December. The lease is up this August. What to do? My best guess is nothing for now, we have a lot of travel out of the US planned and dealing with storage will occupy too much energy we would rather devote to other things. At best guess we will continue the irrational storage plan for a couple more years.

This returns to the question posited in the title, what do we really need to keep. Ultimately we get to “keep” nothing, so a better question might be when do we choose to part with things. If we do nothing, our children will have the fun of deciding what they want to keep and who gets what. I am not being maudlin, when I sit at the solid oak dining table we bought from the craftsmen in 1972 I am sitting with memories from our families earliest years. The Eames lounge chair is almost as old. The art, the pieces that remain after our first down sizing, is evocative of a period of collecting and living with fine pieces. Taking pictures of these “things” will not satisfy my desire to look at and touch the actual things. The Photography Book collection too is not something that can be enjoyed in some virtual manner. Storing these things in a storage locker will not work. they need to be enjoyed in situ when we can be there. Storage for the collectible things needs to be climate controlled too. When the boys and their families have appropriate place to keep and enjoy these items I will feel better about letting them go. Although I speak as one, those who know us know that it is really the two of us together that will continue to wrestle with this issue.

Happenings In Jojoba Hills SKP Resort

Standing outside our door looking over Palomar Mountains

We are adapting to this very different lifestyle of staying in one place and getting involved in the community. I know that is not really new for us as with Rochester natives who stayed, mostly for 60 years and were deeply involved in the community, but since we have been on the road, we have seldom stayed anyplace long enough to actually get involved. Looking back, it seems that other than visiting the kids or waiting for repairs in Red Bay we never stayed put for a month, when away from Rochester..

As I noted in the last post, I have put my name in for a couple of committees and have been accepted. I found my way to the Pool Room and then found myself in a tournament where I performed as would be expected from one who hasn’t devoted any time to the activity in 50 years, badly. I had a lot of fun and much encouragement. I need to spend much more time with cue and balls on the table to have a chance of staying in the tournament for more than two tables.

For my next adventure I sat in on a Bridge lesson and then stayed to play. My skills are rusty, but it is coming back. Then I played in an evening game with huge stakes, $.25 🙂 and came away with $.74 for placing third and only going set one trick all night. My biggest challenge for this afternoon is whether to play some Bridge, or practice in the pool room.

We have started exploring both in the region and on the land around the coop. We are mostly surrounded by BLM land, sure hope Bundy and gang don’t decide to “liberate” it. We also have acreage equivalent to the land we occupy that must be kept undeveloped within our fence.  Yesterday I took a walk to explore some of that undeveloped acreage and found plenty of animal track – large cat and coyote mostly – as well as great hiking, not to mention some steep “roads” that will challenge the Jeep just a bit. Exploration in the region has focused on breakfast with the ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Eating Out). I have been to two places I don’t need to take Carol too, more to follow, the fellowship is fun.

As we watch in consternation the shape of the Primary battles in both national parties, we are being treated to our own election contretemps in the Resort. Naturally the most contentious arena is the kitchen.I won’t regale you with the details as I am not sure I understand the issues other than that they seem to deal with personalities What a surprise in a closed community.

Playing Catch Up

Alex came and went. It was an all too brief week. We tried to tour Palomar Observatory but the road was closed due to ice! Instead we toured Palomar State Park.

What a treat, we will have to return. We took the long dirt back road out, Harrison Grade, after hearing someone driving a passenger car being warned off of it. The best description I can give is a snake with indigestion. The drive home from the airport was a mountain road treat in itself. We did not return that way with the motorhome. We traveled into Temecula and found other places of interest. We also found birds wherever Alex looked. You will need to get the list from him. We left Jojoba Hills a day early and set up camp in Indian Waters Resort in Indio where Yechiel and family joined us. They had a cabin not more than 100 feet from our campsite, that was fortuitous.

On Monday we drove in two cars up the southeastern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. We almost lost control of all three boys when we got to the first pile of boulders, well maybe all five.

We continued through the park with stops at several good bouldering areas and one nice walk into Hidden Valley, eventually exiting the northwest exit to continue around to I 10 and return to the motorhome from the east. We dined separately and then gathered to spend the evening. 
In the morning we dropped Alex off at the airport for his return to Virginia and to begin college at Piedmont Virginia Community College. The remaining boys left the women to some peace and quiet and went off to Palm Springs Air Museum. After substantial time in the hangers with the wonderful WW II planes, Azriel and Avi disappeared. We knew where to find them, up by the flight simulators. Each of them had the opportunity to fly a nice takeoff and landing circuit with a simulated P51!!! Azriel neatly put it down on the grass between the runways and Avi stuck the nose into the runway, oops. We waded through the rainwater flooding the parking lot and drove slowly back to the campground through floods at every dip in the road. It had been pouring continuously.
Back at Jojoba Hills I have been getting myself in trouble. Not only can’t I say no, I have been looking for places to say yes. This is the time of year when the governance turns over. Our neighbor across the street is running for president. I thought Corporate Communications was an interesting opportunity and put my name on the list before going to audit a Finance Committee meeting. Okay so I’ll sit on two corporate committees. For community volunteering I have signed up to escort visitors to their site when they arrive. I think that’s all so far.
Looking forward to visits from Azriel, Dean and Jane, and the Armstrongs. There are plenty of other people we hope to link up with over the coming months.