When Richard and I met we never dreamed that we would be faced with putting two households together. It was only after the writing retreat in Scotland we attended last September that we realized this relationship was serious. And it was only at that moment that we realized that to be together, someone had to give up their home. Both of us would have to give up many of the treasures we’d accumulated in our separate lives, treasures we would now essentially have to consider giving away or selling.
Fast forward to this past spring when his house sold, and we faced the new reality: COVID would play a huge role in how we removed things from our planned life together.
First, there was the issue of the cats. I have two–Jethro and Sully. They have their own Facebook page. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/LivingLIkeACat
Richard also had a wonderful cat named Chloe. What a dilemma to be in! We considered combining our family of three cats, but received solid advice making it clear that was not a good idea.
Then Richard talked to his local SPCA, and they found a wonderful home for her. We still miss her, but know she is well cared for. Once we were assured that Chloe would be okay, we focused our attention on what we needed to do to put our two homes together.
Between us we had eight sets of dishes! Eight! In many different colors. I couldn’t give up my antique pieces, at least not yet. Richard kept a large glass front bookcase filled with beautiful pieces of glass and ceramics.
We had seven frying pans, double spice racks, food processors, oven dishes, art supplies, luggage, the list goes on.
The negotiations resulted in my ‘good’ dishes winning space in the china cabinet at the house we planned to share.
Then there were the sideboards and two glass cabinets at his house full of glassware of all sorts.
What could we do with so many things when none of the antique dealers, auction houses or goodwill shops were open, thanks to COVID? We kept a beautiful pair of wine glasses along with an opulent glass vase.
There were two very special champagne flutes that came from the Canadian Pacific Railway collection of dishes that proved too beautiful to give up.
We used them to toast our new life together.
Richard was very resourceful in organizing friends and family to take a lot of his wonderfully decorative glass pieces while I lined the garage with boxes of my things, ready to take to the goodwill places when the COVID restrictions eased.
It was all fun, all an experience we’d never imagined in our lives. And it led us to realize that we don’t need all the things we have kept for so many years. We don’t need to line our shelves with all sorts of objects, whose only use is to collect dust, and occasionally be gotten out for a dinner a couple of times a year.
In the process there were days when we couldn’t see over the tops of boxes.
We shared our anxiety that we’d never get our stuff down to the point where we could live in the house with what we’d decided to keep.
But after weeks of sorting, while facing the reality that some parts of our individual lives had to give way to our new life together, we managed to put together our new home.
The experience showed us how important it is to talk things over, to consider what is best for both of us, and when we have to compromise, do it graciously.
Being together is worth it.