My Twenty Years In The Driveway Are Over and Goodwill Has My Sofa

2013_0316 Saturday

For the first time in my twenty years behind the wheel my car is parked indoors. No more scraping ice from the windshield. No more warming my car up for ten minutes when it’s twenty degrees below zero outside. No more opening the windows for ten minutes to cool my car down when it’s a hundred degrees outside. My house has a one-car garage and for twenty years my house has had two cars. As the first one out in the morning and the last one home, my car and I were always the ones left out in the cold.

I had been planning to sell my mom’s car for some time, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet, or couldn’t bring myself to do it, or a little of both. Today was the day I was ready. It all started Friday afternoon with this text from my Dad, “Do you want to run your car out after work or sometime this weekend?” and snowballed from there. I’ve been tackling some Do-It-Yourself projects in my house of late and have made multiple purchases of items longer and/or wider than the backseat of my four door sedan. It’s all been a mess of spatial impossibilities with much wrangling and disassembling and unpackaging required. I clearly needed more cargo room. So, I would trade in mom’s car, end the lease on my sedan early and lease a small SUV. Decision made, simple as that.

Not so simple? Cleaning out mom’s car. That was the last thing still around that was exactly the way she had left it before she was diagnosed. The last time she got out of that car she didn’t have cancer, or at least we didn’t know she did. Everything was sitting just as she left it the last day she ever drove. I took a second to look at everything sitting there. Then I teared up and started to quickly put everything into a bag. A bottle of water, two candy wrappers (my mom loved her chocolate!), a cd in the cd player, her sunglasses.

The last time she ever drove was also the last time she ever bought me something. When I got home from work that day a box of Kleenex in my favorite box design was sitting on my bed. She had driven to the Target near our house. She told me, “I remembered you said you needed a new box of Kleenex for work and I saw they had your favorite box, so I got you one! I really had trouble steering though with just my right arm. I better not drive anymore until my left arm is better.” That was the last time she ever drove. I still have that unopened box of Kleenex, tied up in its Target bag, sitting on my desk at work. I’ve gone through two other boxes of Kleenex that I’ve bought since then, but I can’t bring myself to use the last thing she ever bought me, because that means it will eventually be used up and gone. And it may have just been a box of Kleenex, but it was thoughtful. I didn’t ask her to buy me Kleenex. I casually mentioned that I needed to remember to get some, she was at the store, remembered what my favorite box style was, saw that they had it and bought it for me. That was my mom. She was always thinking of other people. Even in small ways.

When the cars were ready to go, my dad and I drove to the dealership to spend the day sitting in their chairs. Four different sets of chairs in about four hours by my count. Even when you know exactly what you want, leaving a dealership in a different vehicle than you arrived in takes time. But I’m pretty patient in these situations and don’t mind waiting around (and neither does my dad). Plus, this dealership is great and I’ve been going there for years. My regular salesman was there. He recognized me and remembered I have to have a moonroof, sooo…apparently I was more emphatic on that point than I realized when I was there last time, if he remembered it two years later. I found what I wanted, paperworked it all out, and by the end of the day my cargo space, moonroof and I were finally home and indoors!

My cargo space, moonroof, and I looking out from inside the garage!
My cargo space, moonroof, and I looking out from inside the garage!

Now, why does Goodwill have my sofa? Because Thursday night I decided I didn’t want it anymore, Friday my dad said he was available and had a van we could use, and Saturday morning at 8am he and I loaded up the sofa, loveseat and three side tables and carted them off to donate. I’ve been redoing my kitchen and it’s been so cathartic I’ve decided to bit by bit redo the entire house.

Mom had been tired of her 30 year old furniture too. Though she never would have just up and donated everything one day. She was more of the “find a suitable replacement then proceed appropriately” type, or what most would call a “normal” person. I’m more of the “let’s get STARTED and figure out the details along the way!” type, or what some might call a “crazy” person.

I did have some hesitation about getting rid of the sofas I remember playing on when I was little. I was always climbing on them. Sometimes they were trains I was riding, sometimes they were trucks I was driving, once they were lobster boats. Mom liked to tell the story that one day she stood there watching me as I took every one of my dolls and stuffed animals and spread them out all over the living room floor. Then I got on the sofa and pretended I was driving something around. Then I stood on the end of the sofa, threw my bed pillows out onto the floor, got down piled up the dolls onto the pillows and pulled them onto the sofa. I did this over and over, until mom finally asked, “Sweetie, what are you doing?” She said I looked at her as though I couldn’t believe it wasn’t totally obvious, “I’m catching lobsters! These are my lobster traps! And this is my boat!” I absolutely remember doing this. I was fascinated by a lobster catching video on Sesame Street. Come on, I’m sure somebody else out there my age remembers the lobster traps on Sesame Street too!

Apparently, the sofas were also occasionally disco backdrops in my younger days.
Apparently, the sofas were also occasionally disco backdrops in my younger days.

Anyway, sentimental as they were, it was still time for them to go. Before we loaded them up, I thought I better stick my hand between the back and the seat to make sure nothing had gotten stuck down there during the 30-some-odd years these sofas had been in our living room. Here’s what I found: A pixy stix wrapper, a malted milk ball, a 1979 picture of my uncle, two pink Kleenexes and one blue, five red Ting-A-Ling Bingo board game playing pieces (loved the sound that game made), four perfume tear-outs from magazines, one pink hair comb from the 1980s (I bet my mom always wondered where that went), one miniature Mr. Goodbar, one stick from what looks to have been a red sucker (I’m gonna guess that was my handiwork), one Starburst wrapper, two rubber bands, and various and sundry clipped coupons that expired in the early 1990s. Yep, these sofas had served us well.

Furniture Moving Stats

Number of times I fell knee and elbow first into the mud while holding my end of the sofa:  1.
Number of painful, purple bruises I’m now sporting:  5 !?!. (Not sure how that math works.)

I do know how this math works: 90-inch sofa = Heavy.
AND
1 house – 2 cars + 1 car – 2 sofas – 3 tables + Moving Forward = Happy Me.

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