Packing it in to move on

We were reluctant to start packing up our final goods from the house until the new couple passed through their final checkpoint in the home-purchase process. You know, just in case we had to show the place again to a fresh round of bidders.

What it’s meant was less than a week to box or wrap all that remains and haul it off somewhere.

We had already done a ton of packing and purging to make the rooms look presentable, but we wanted to leave enough to make it look cozy and livable. So that part’s done.

I’m a big believer in having uniformly sized boxes in a big move. They stack much more easily, for one thing.

Seeing those shelves empty of books does look strange. I’d forgotten how heavy they are in a box, too.

There’s no way it will all fit in our new Downeast address, especially before our anticipated renovations are completed, so we’re putting some in two storage units, in effect buying some time for some serious culling. More is going off to our daughter’s already stuffed barn in York, to come up later.

It gets emotional, of course. I’m surprised how much responsibility I feel toward the books I’ve read, and their authors. And then there’s my vinyl collection.

Of course, that’s only my tip of the proverbial iceberg. Take the kitchen and garden goods, especially.

Sometimes I used to joke that I couldn’t understand how people lived without a barn to hold all the overflow. Only now it’s not the least bit funny. Seriously, folks.

Leaving the barn behind … but not entirely

I had sweet dreams of remodeling the loft of the barn into a year-’round studio. Something like critic/professor Jack Barnes’ cozy literary digs on his farm in Hiram, Maine. Alas, it never quite happened.

Family life pushed us in other directions, and then the publishing scene also changed. I didn’t need quite so much room to spread papers or stack submissions, for one thing. More and more was on the computer, and in time, I no longer needed computer discs for storage. Remember them?

Climbing to the loft was kind of like going up into a treehouse.

When we redid the loft, it was more as a three-season space, a retreat, and it did give me the room to spread poems about when I considered the sequence for one of my chapbooks. It also allowed us to decompress a lot of the stuff we’d packed into the house. But it was, as you’ve seen, pretty funky – not the polished compartment I once desired.

At least I painted the exterior traditional New England barn red and not that loud crimson used elsewhere. Not that I could tackle that project again. I’m not sure I could even manage the ladders these days, and I definitely wouldn’t be up on the roof repairing the weather vane.

What the barn did give us was space, even though much of that soon became crowded. Garden tools and pots, shelves of canning jars, chairs that just might be re-caned or repainted, bins of Halloween, Christmas, or Easter decorations. Carpentry tools, an array of wood, and painting supplies. Picnic coolers and charcoal. Two big freezers, well stuffed, at one point, on the ground floor.

The barn did become an emblem for me, as a repository for many souvenirs from my zig-zag journey out from Ohio, and maybe even for us as “city farmers.”

And now I’m waving farewell to all that as I head off on new adventures.

So here goes. Just be warned you’ll still be reading about it and its surroundings in upcoming posts. The Red Barn is definitely continuing.

We had already moved out a lot of stuff, and the loft still looked like this.