Subtracting to add

Last weekend there was a flurry of activity as my home was prepared to become our home. After more than a decade of being the sole household decision maker, things are about to change as my guy and I take the next step in our relationship – cohabitation. While this is an exciting moment for both of us, it’s also stressful and a bit scary.

We’ve each done this before, more than once even.

Since my divorce, I’ve turned a marital home into a residence in which there is a single head of household. I’ve enjoyed the luxury of spreading myself, and my belongings, out throughout 3 different levels of living space. All the closets, and there aren’t many in my circa 1910’s house, were my own. The medicine cabinet and linen closet held only my possessions. The shelves in the room I like to think of as “the library” shelves featured my books, art and photos.

All of that was going to change. After locating room in my heart, it was now time for me to make some room in my house.

Getting rid of objects, things like furniture, linens, clothing and housewares, isn’t simple – or easy. I like to think of myself as a minimalist of sorts, however, I still seem to have accumulated quite a bit of stuff. Purging glassware, dishes and towels has been fairly straightforward. Having children who happily accept donations has certainly helped to assuage my guilt for having had what is likely too much. There were a couple of things, however, which proved more challenging than anticipated, including one major item…the bed.

When I first became aware as a young teen to the wonder that is the Sunday NY Times, I was taken by an advertisement I often saw in the Magazine. It was for a company called Charles P. Rogers. They made furniture, primarily beds, and I absolutely coveted their products. One day, I promised myself, I would own a bed made by this established company.

In 1994, the time finally came for my (former) husband and I to purchase a bed. We requested that a catalog be mailed to us and together easily agreed upon the Campaign Bed, a simple iron style with pleasing symmetry. We placed our order, planning to pick up the bed ourselves to save what then felt like a lot of money in shipping expenses.

When the bed was ready, we drove to the warehouse where our bed had been made. Nearly 30 years later, I can still remember my then impression that the craftsmen in the shop didn’t often see the people who had purchased the product of their work. As I recall, a handful of men graciously helped us load the boxed bed components into our Ford Escort wagon. The pride they showed in their workmanship (all hand forged!) absolutely justified what was then a big purchase for us at nearly $1000.

That very same bed went out to the curb this week.

Yes, I probably could have sold it, despite the bend in the frame caused by my own impatience a few years ago when I insisted upon moving it by myself from one room in my house to another. At the very least, I could have brought it to a scrap metal place to sell, but I just didn’t have the heart for either of those to occur. So, piece by piece, I carried it out to the curb for the scrappers to collect.

I often remind myself that like a good book, life comes with chapters. In the past dozen years I’ve proven to be capable of providing a home for my sons and myself and living independently. I’m proud of that accomplishment, but now it’s time to turn the page on that chapter and begin a new one.

As I laid awake in a different, smaller bed this morning, snuggled between my guy, the dog and the cat, somehow it all added up perfectly.

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