Is it really just “stuff”?

Other than my personal belief that you can’t have too many putters, drivers, shotguns, or fishing poles, and notwithstanding her contention that you can’t sew a quilt without every block, pattern, and piece of equipment ever imagined in close proximity, we are minimalists.

Perhaps that sounds like an oxymoron, but some of you will understand.

When daddy died four years ago, my brother and I convened in Fort Worth to break down his place. It wasn’t really large, as he had moved from a big house to a retirement cottage in a progressive living home. Still, however, he had lots of “stuff.” If you’ve ever gone through the closing out of an estate of someone you’ve lost, you know how much we can accumulate in material possessions.

You also realize how much there is that really has no use or meaning to the people who are left behind. When my brother and were in first grade, our parents started an allowance. Mostly, we had to save for Christmas and birthday parents, as we had a large extended family. I settled on Old Spice aftershave as a great present and liked the idea so much that I bought a gallon for Dad several years running. When I got to the back of his closet, there were two unopened bottles of vintage aftershave. That was a sentimental moment to be sure, and a few tears flowed while the cologne went down the drain.

Even though we’re logical and rational people, and despite having seen this process in action firsthand, I’m amazed at how hard it is to get rid of “stuff.” Our house has three piles in the living room: Goodwill, storage, and RV, and in the middle is the trashcan. Many items have languished in all three places before finally migrating to the trash heap.

I wish I had some tips for how to make it easier, the only good thing I can say is that it is far better for Elizabeth and me to do this than our kids. Still, however, is the little matter of the 10x10x9 storeroom, so our children will still have something to clean up. And, I’m pretty sure there’s a well-traveled pencil holder made by a young man in kindergarten that I kept all these years just in case I needed a place for pencils. Like the aftershave. Like father like son.

Alpine, TX – the beginning of an adventure

I have been privileged to serve as the Associate Vice-President for Facilities and Services at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces for the last ten years and am planning to retire this spring. ElizaBeth and I will live and travel full time in our 30-foot Itasca Sunstar RV, at least until we have visited all national parks, every state fair, or when we get ready to do something else – whichever comes first.

I like to write and want to try a novel set in higher education that will have to be fiction since nobody would believe what really goes on. After working in facilities management since I was 16, I have done every job there is from cleaning to high voltage electrical switching and am pretty handy, and I may submit some articles on RV repairs and maintenance. We have been able to complete a few consulting jobs for other institutions and would like to get more customers. Advancing my limited knowledge in fly fishing is on the agenda, but mostly we just want to take it easy.

We have been relaxing in the RV over long weekends and took a sort of shakedown cruise over the Winter Break, spending Christmas at Alpine, TX. We fried a turkey, read books, and to paraphrase Hollywood Henderson, mostly didn’t do anything and didn’t start that until after lunch.

I have had this website for years, and this past week relocated the site to a different host and WordPress. I would love to have you join us as we start our new adventure.