This week is the estate sale, and closing on the house. Two weeks ago big signs went up on our front yard announcing the upcoming Estate Sale. That felt weird to me, and got weirder, as neighbors would stop when they saw me, saying things like " Geez, we thought someone had died, but here you are.". No, we hadn't died, but doing the estate sale does make you sort of feel a bit like you had. Here you are, getting rid of 90% of your belongings, just like what happens after you die. I had moments when I thought I was helping my kids out, by getting this task done for them before I actually passed on!
On Estate sale day, I was running on fumes. I had been up almost all night, tucking things away that I did not want mistakenly sold into closets, then marking the closets "Off limits". The Estate sale agent and her helpers arrived, and I just tried to stay out of their way. Buyers arrived about an hour early to preview things, again, I tried to not pay attention to what was going on. I just had to keep reminding myself that the house had to be empty by settlement day, and I had to be out of there lock, stock and barrel.
When the sale began, people were milling in every room of the house. The sale was conducted room by room, with the room sold as a whole lot when possible. As they all moved into a room, I moved out, as far away as possible. I did not want to know what was happening, and didn't want to get any last minute second thoughts about what items would be sold. Everything had to go. And by 2pm that day, just about everything was gone. Our belongings were flying out of the house. I could not believe how quickly things were leaving. It made my head spin. Finally around 4pm, the house full of people were gone, and my rooms were empty. I was sleeping on an inflatable mattress that night, and had no chairs left to sit on. I still had 3 days left in the house - the whole thing was almost surreal. The last step was to get miscellaneous stuff that did not sell in the sale removed. I had to hire a guy to take away stuff from the garage and basement. This took a couple of days, then the house was broom swept, totally empty.
Bottom line, we didn't make much money selling our possessions- again, we have the downturned economy to thank for that. One woman from our neighborhood who bought something at the sale told me that purchase was the first thing she had bought in 6 months, and she had used a bit of money she had tucked away. I think she spent 30 dollars! I was happy that our belongings were now going on to people who would use them well. I would do this again in a heart beat though. It was the perfect way to liquidate.
The last item of business for me was to sign settlement papers. Debbie, our agent, had arranged with the title company for Mike to sign papers that had been fed-exed to him,and for me to go to their office to sign mine We would not even be present for settlement, which was good for me. I actually was able to leave Baltimore 2 days before settlement. I packed my remaining stuff up into 3 suitcases, which I left with friends to hold for me for a few days. None of that would fit in my Miata! I left Baltimore with a carry on suitcase, on my way to visit with family for a couple of days.
I drove to Delaware, dropped my Miata off with a sports-car consignment guy at the beach who was going to handle selling it for me, and I picked up a rental car. I spent 2 days with my sister in Lewes, another 2 days with my mother in New Jersey, then I returned to Baltimore for one last nite in a hotel at the airport before leaving to return to Italy.
This month in the US has been an incredible challenge for me. Looking back now, it was one more chapter in the adventure Mike and I have been on this last year. We're definitely traveling through life much lighter from now on! And I can't wait to get back home.