hoto from The Red BalloonSixty days to liftoff!

Yes, it’s exciting, but I’ll admit I have had more nightmares about liquidation than I have had happy dreams about Europe. In my head, the issues involved in getting rid of stuff looked like…you know when your earbuds get all tangled up in your pocket and they won’t unknot?…like that.

Throw a tag sale? Donate? Rent trucks? Put a dumpster outside the apartment? And where to sleep when the bed goes to storage? How to get to storage after we sell the car?

I have accused my adorable Tom of being parsimonious in the past, but on this occasion, he has been saying: “Professionally-run estate sale.” Really? Would any estate sale maven worth her salt want a batch of Ikea black tables in different shapes and a dozen lamps that came from Goodwill to begin with?

It turns out that Robin Caton of Found Stuff Estate Sales wants to sell it. She wants to sell our furniture, computers, my costume jewelry, my Chinese jackets – even the champagne corks. “Don’t even bother to throw out the food,” she says. “We’ll sell that, too.” Even the buckets of protein powder I bought in a crazy fit of faux fitness? “Even that.”

Here’s the drill: We put the family antiques in storage. We pack our bags for Europe. We move to a friend’s house on March 19th. Robin moves in to our apartment with tables, tags, signs, and hefty mover folk. On March 23rd and 24th, there is a tag sale. We will try not to hang around outside. Seventy-two hours later we get a check. Not a big one, but that’s not the point. The check goes in the bank, and the next day we fly.

We hired Robin half an hour after she walked through our door. Suddenly an enormous weight was lifted from our hunched shoulders. No kidding. I feel like I’ve turned into that red balloon in the movie, floating over Paris. Time is freed up to throw dinner parties, say our good-byes, hug the children, pack and repack, go to all the Oscar-nominated flicks, and of course, dream about Europe. At last.

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