Recycling pleasures…Four days and counting…

On either side of the face are two hanging red-tipped pieces of skin. When the Helmeted Guinea-fowl moves about, these swing around as would a pair of dangling earrings. Ah, the beauty of the wild! A photo from six years ago today at this link.

When none of Tom’s sisters required a used computer, when they each had well-working devices of their own, their friend Jodi (and now ours) volunteered to take it off my hands rather than dropping it off at a recycling facility.

Subsequently, I reformatted the drive, and it’s now running like a brand new laptop. This may be more of a thrill for me than for Jodi! At noon, I’m heading over to Jodi’s park model to set it up for her.

Recycling any personal possessions provides a great sense of satisfaction for the donor and the recipient, not only for environmental reasons but also for the joy of transferring your treasured items to someone who will enjoy the use of the thing. 

Perhaps for sentimental reasons, it’s gratifying to know the recipient will carry on the legacy of a particular item that may have been a big part of the donor’s history. 

Whoa! My old laptop has been around the world! I’ve pounded out millions of words on that keyboard after using it since January 2015, when I purchased it while in Big Island, Hawaii, at a Costco store.

And I’ve uploaded 2725 posts (as of today), done so with our passion for the world, our ability to continue to travel, and the fantastic people and wildlife we’ve been blessed to meet along the way.

Of course, all remnants of the past have been deleted, and only a fresh palate remains. It’s not so much that I’ve been emotionally attached to it. More so, it symbolizes all the experiences we’ve gleaned along the way since we purchased it five years ago.

As we donate clothing to Goodwill, mainly when it was a favorite item, it makes us wonder who may one day own that item and hoping they will enjoy it as much as we did.

We live in a “throw-away society” described as follows: “The throwaway society” is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a critical view of overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items over durable goods that can be repaired.”

We observe this throughout the world. It’s not exclusive only to the USA. Even in some of the most remote areas of the world, we’ve witnessed rampant disregard for our planet and its future.

Each of us has the opportunity to play a small role in passing on our used items that we’ve since replaced, especially when we take a little time to bring them up to a usable condition for the recipient. 

No, we aren’t perfect in this area, nor will we ever be. But we began to appreciate it more when in 2012, we sold or gave away everything we owned to travel the world. 

At this crucial time in our lives, we began to understand this concept of letting go of “stuff” we didn’t need and, hopefully, putting it into the hands of those who may.

Soon, we’ll begin packing. We’ve discovered we need further to lighten our load for the constant traveling in India. We’ll donate some items, and those we’ll need down the road, we’ll send to our mailing service to be held until we can use them again. 

Trying to figure out how to handle “stuff” is a fact of our peculiar lives. We do our best to do so in a manner that befits our appreciation of our world and the many gifts it has to offer…those we cannot hold in our hands but only in our hearts and minds.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 25, 2019:

We spotted a giraffe with two male impalas in Marloth Park. For more photos, please click here.

Estate sale people here today…

Yesterday, without question was my biggest packing and sorting day yet.  With a confirmation of the estate sale people arriving at 9 am today to begin pricing all of our stuff, I ran around as directed gathering up all of the items we are taking with us. Tom did the same when he returned home from work. 

Piles of papers to attend to while in Scottsdale, our giant bag of supplements, enough to last two years, our medical and financial records, our tax receipts so far this year, our passports and certifications, have all cluttered our 10′ long dining room table the past few months, in a state of organized mayhem. I moved it all to the kitchen table arranging it in a more orderly fashion.
When the estate sale people arrive here shortly, I will simply point to exclusions; Tom’s bins of memorabilia yet to be taken to a family member’s home for storage, a small section of clothes we’ll wear these next few weeks in bins and hanging in each of our closets, toiletries in the bathroom, our laptops, cables and cell phones.  

In the living room, the sofa and chairs are piled high with bins to be stored with family members which Tom has yet to transport, hopefully this week after work. Our carry on bags, luggage carts, luggage tags, cables and locks sit atop the daybed next to the fireplace.  Today, I’ll move these to the table, out of the way of the sale items.
Last night, son TJ came to take away our boat dock.  He appeared with help, at 6 PM, before we’d had dinner. Tom had been home busy packing for over an hour.  They worked on taking apart the dock and loading it on a trailer for over three hours.  

Tom finally came inside after they left, thoroughly exhausted.. During the day, I had made dinner; low carb hazelnut flour and Parmesan cheese encrusted sauteed chicken breasts, salad and veggies.  We never had dinner. I ate an entire bag of pork rinds.  Oh well.  

He spent the next hour packing the remainder of his memorabilia, took a shower and fell into bed. We never watched the debate, unusual for us.

Today, everything, literally everything else will be priced and labeled for sale, ready for the estate sale market, beginning next Thursday, October 25th and ending, most likely, on Sunday afternoon, October 28th.

We’ll move to our friend Karen’s home one week from today after Tom returns from work, takes his last shower here and we pack up the car with our remaining luggage, clothes for the week at Karen’s and the four day road trip to Scottsdale while we make our final preparations before leaving the US, 60 days later.

In the process of all this packing, we’ve decided that we need a 7th large suitcase to get us to Scottsdale. While there, we will repack everything trimming our packing down to the originally planned six orange Antler bags, two carry on bags, one over-sized duffel bag with prescriptions and supplements, computer bags, murse (he hates it!) and purse.  

Any excess will be given to family or stored at son Richard’s in Henderson Nevada, along with the six totes he’s kindly agreed to store which UPS picks up today for a cost of $304.00.  The heaviest tote at 57 pounds contains a lifetime of photos,  

The remaining six bins are Christmas decorations.  I just couldn’t let them go;  the pictures of the kids and grandkids in the little Christmas frames to be hung on the tree, the homemade ornaments, the Waterford and Swarovski annual ornaments all collected over a period of years.  

No, I couldn’t let these go.  This year, when we are in our Henderson Nevada vacation home for Christmas, the last year in the US for quite awhile, we’ll be able to decorate, not only for the holidays but for Tom’s birthday party on December 23rd.

Tom’s SUV, although fairly roomy doesn’t have enough room for a 7th large bag.  On Sunday, we ordered a waterproof roof top carrier from for a total of $48.95 with no tax and free shipping.  If stolen, it will only contain our clothes from the last two weeks here.  We’ll load it up after breakfast at the hotel each morning when on the road and bring it into our hotel room each night before going to dinner.  No worry there.
The only big event after moving to Karen’s will be Tom’s retirement party for his railroad guys and family members, a hour’s drive away.  With the madness of planning every step of this move, plus 949 days of world travel (so far), I’ve found myself busy this past week planning the details of this casual (thank goodness!) event scheduled for Saturday, October 27, from 5 PM to midnight.  

Fortunately, with many people retiring from the railroad having parties, they have set a precedent for being relatively easy to plan: arrange a hall, order a few kegs of beer, design an appropriate cake (will post photos after the party), arrange for catered food in this case from Costco, while bringing snacks, plates, forks and napkins. 
I’ll pick everything up on the afternoon of the party leaving Tom at Karen’s to relax for a few hours, go back and pick him up and off to the party we go. Happily, it’s all under control.  

Surprisingly, we are calm, although both feeling a little raggedy, Tom from many hours of work combined with hours of sorting and packing and, both of us from our recent bouts of the flu during this past week.  
Fully recovered, my only complaint is that painful “old injury” shoulder, strained from all this lifting and hauling over the past several months. Tom still coughs during the night is only lessened by a hefty slug of Nyquil before bed. Otherwise, we’re doing OK. 

Are we excited?  Hum, not yet. We are often asked this question. We’ve discussed this several times. Having already signed the necessary paperwork on our house, experiencing the loss has definitely diminished the enthusiasm. 

Of course, there’s room for a little apprehension as to everything being finalized as planned on October 31st. Saying goodbye to loved ones leaves much trepidation as well. Yes, these next few weeks may prove to be trying although we both have learned to stay calm during stressful times making a special effort never to snip at one another.  This, in itself, prevents an enormous potential for stress.

Once that day occurs two weeks from today as we drive out of town, Tom now retired, the party over, and after all the tears and goodbyes, we’ll be ready to throw our hats into the air, kick up our heels and grab each other by the hands while twirling around.  
We’ll be off to see the world.  Then, we’ll be able to say, “we’re free,”  free of the constraints of stuff, free of the obligation to maintain a home and finally free from the daily responsibility of a job!  Then, and only then will we become excited!

CarSoup and security…I’ll take a bowl of that!…

It may be going a little overboard!  For $34 at we purchased these three items putting my mind at ease.

Months ago, Tom and I easily came to the conclusion that owning a car in the US while traveling the world was both foolish and costly. As we’d mentioned in a recent post, it will be peculiar not to own a car which took us a few days to accept.  With only a few calculations, we knew it was the right decision.

Tom’s car, only two years old, still has a remaining balance on a loan. My car also has a loan, a small remaining balance after having bought out the lease a few years ago when offered an irresistible deal for a below market price, certification and an extended warranty. 

Our combined payments are $1048 a month. Add in the auto insurance at $152 a month (me, fender benders!), maintenance at $100 month (my warranty ran out), gas at $300 a month (estimated after retirement for both cars) for a monthly total of $1600.

Keeping a car in the US would have resulted in the continuation of most of these expenses with the $300 a month intended for gas instead going to the cost of storage. Ridiculous!  We had no difficulty making the decision to sell both cars. Most certainly, we can rent cars for considerably less than this amount anywhere we may be in the world

Selling my car in October presents a dilemma: I will be without a car for a few weeks at most.  I can manage by working out and grocery shopping when Tom is home after work and on the few remaining weekends.  

Most of my time these last weeks will be spent completing the packing, cleaning and organizing. Family and friends will visit me here for the next three and a half weeks, until we move to our friend’s home for the remaining week, October 24th to October 31st, our departure date.  We’ll be out of the way during the estate sale. 

Yesterday, I listed my car for the seven day free trial at CarSoup.  If it doesn’t sell in a week, I’ll re-list it committed to the minimum one month contract for $9.95.  What if it doesn’t sell?  

The Cadillac dealer from whom I purchased my car new, most likely will buy it. A few months ago, I’d received a letter from them, inquiring as to my interest in selling them my car. Their used car inventory was low.  Serendipity.  Of course, the price will be much lower than my possible private sale, but at that point, I’ll have no alternative.

Here’s my ad on CarSoup, in case you know of anyone that may be interested. Hopefully soon, gone, gone, gone.

As for Tom’s car, we’ve made a carefully analyzed decision to drive his 2010 SUV to Scottsdale, Arizona for our last 60 days in the US. With its great gas mileage, space for all of our luggage, navigation system and a great security system we’ll be at ease with our decision.  We’ll also drive the SUV to Henderson, Nevada for Christmas with family and friends, finally driving ourselves to the pier in San Diego, for our first cruise. 

We are offering our prospective buyer a good price (a person well known to us), to fly to San Diego and pick up the SUV at the pier, where we’ll have left it on January 3, 2013.  We’ll have financial matters completed prior to this time and have sent him a set of keys.  Easy peasy.  If anything falls through (we always have to have a Plan B), we’ll engage the same practice as for my car, sell the car to a dealer, taking the hit. Whoosh!  $1600 a month, gone!

My next auto related concern: all of our luggage in the back of Tom’s SUV while we make the leisurely four day drive from Minnesota to Arizona.  Our condo in Scottsdale won’t be available until November 4th.  We thought it would be great to take our time during Tom’s first four days of retirement having fun along the way.  A road trip is a great way to start our year’s long adventure!

So again, me worrying.  What if the SUV is vandalized or stolen and our bags, all six of them, are ripped off?  Of course, we’ll be insured. But suddenly, all of our worldly possessions would be gone. Everything. Nada. All of the hundreds  of hours spent researching and buying just the right clothing and products, for at least the first three years of our travels, gone. Scary!  What would we do?  

We’ve discussed this possibility.  We’d continue on to Scottsdale, clothes on our backs with 60 days to find and replace everything we would have lost. Stressful, yes. Frustrating, of course. Doable, yes.

A solution, although not a guarantee, was to amp up his SUV’s security. First, we tested the functionality of his factory installed car alarm.  Next, we made a conscious decision to only stay in motels whereby the SUV will be parked outside our room door.  Also, we’ll be signing up for OnStar for the 60 day period at $18.95 a month.  If the car is stolen, it can be tracked by GPS, immediately reporting to the police.  

With highly sensitive hearing and as a very light sleeper, I’ll sleep with the key fob in my hand (I’ve slept with the TV remote in my hand all night. Why not the fob?).  If I hear a sound, I’ll set off the alarm long before the car alarm goes off, hopefully scaring away a possible thief.  

We are subject to many variables in regard to our two vehicles over the next 90 days.  We have accepted these somewhat painstaking scenarios are part of the process in order to be able to eventually lounge in a lawn chair, overlooking the ocean, knowing this “vacation” may never have to end.  

I’ll tell you how that feels when it happens.

Bye, bye, musical memories…

A few hours later the CDs were organized and ready to be sold at the upcoming estate sale. 

Having not moved in 26 years, it’s difficult for me to comprehend having everything in order in 20 days when the estate sale people arrive to start the process of sorting and pricing our belongings.  Ouch! Moving in the past seemed easier: pack, label and seal cardboard boxes, moving them to the next home, placing the boxes in the appropriate rooms to begin the process of unpacking. 

We’ve all experienced this at different times in our lives and although a stress laden experience, we all have managed our way through it to eventually unpack and put it away. The goal was to unpack neatly with the hope and expectation that the cupboards, drawers and closets would stay organized forever. Ha!

As I look around our house, decorative items still on the shelves, clothes still hanging in closets, pictures still on the walls, I see piles of boxes of photos and memorabilia ready to be mailed or dropped off to our grown children including boxes of special items to be distributed to the grandchildren as they mature; boxes of items to be sold at the sale and our never ending pile of luggage.  

Have I gone through every nook and cranny in this house, extricating the memorabilia or items that we may choose to take with us on our travels?  Our estate sale guy promises we’ll have one last time to peruse the items prior to the sale to ensure we haven’t missed a handmade treasure from our child’s or grandchild’s art class. That’s comforting.

In the past few days, I’ve removed every personal item from my car which is to be offered for sale next week on CarSoup where I had successfully and seamlessly sold my last car years ago, in a matter of a few days. 

In the process of cleaning my trunk, glove box and center console, I discovered no less than 15 music CDs most of which were installed in the multi-CD player.   Bringing them inside the house to sort and place them back into the cases, it dawned on me that I had yet to sort the 100+ music CDs we have accumulated in the house over the years.

As I handled each one, “memories flooded my mind” of disco dancing days, romantic dinners for two and quiet reflections to “new age” music so popular in the 80’s.  The thought of our magical Christmas’s, with music filling the air during our festive holiday celebrations, brought tears to my eyes. 

Ah, letting go of stuff, the process continues. One month and one day from today, it will all be gone.  What will remain? The memories. The memories. And the memories. 

Logistics of the final days…

Our estate sale will occur from Thursday, October 25th through Sunday, October 28th. Our estate sale guy, Jim Anderson of Caring Estate Sales explained that we must be gone for those four days.  

He’ll start pricing items a week before the sale officially begins.  At that point, we must have all of our personal effects and items we want to keep, out of the cabinets, drawers, cabinets and off of the walls and a week later, out of the house.

In regard to most estate sales the homeowner is dead, obviously not around, pestering with comments such as, “Oh, that’s not enough money for that!”  We must be out of the house the entire four days of the sale.  

Dilemma #1:  Where will I go for those four days with no car (mine will have been sold)?  Tom will be at work during the hours of the sale.

When the sale is complete on Sunday, October 28th,  Tom has to go to work three more days, planning to be done by 9 am on Wednesday, the 31st where he’ll go to work only to receive his “retirement cake” a tradition at the railroad for all retirees.  (I guess he’ll eat gluten that day.  Oh, well. After 42 years he deserves to eat cake).  

End result, we need to stop using our house as we’ve known it around October 18th.  We’ll be able to use the built in appliances to cook and a few old pans, plates and flatware that we don’t plan to sell, tossing them when we’re done.  

Dilemma #2: Do we stay in the house (after I find somewhere to go for the four days) until the 31st when Tom’s work ends, at which point we sign the papers on the house and begin the drive in Tom’s car to Scottsdale? Do we live in the house after everything is gone, TVs, our two comfy chairs, sofas, bar stools at the huge island in the kitchen?  How will it feel to watch everything we’ve loved and enjoyed dwindle down to a bed in which we’ll fitfully sleep until we leave?

Our dear neighbor Jamie kindly suggested I hang out at her house for those four days. (Our three adult kids have cats to which I am allergic. I can’t spend more than an hour in their homes  plus I won’t have transportation). How will I feel watching the cars driving down our narrow road toward our home, later driving away with our belongings in their cars, trucks, and SUVs?  Yikes!

Yesterday morning, thinking aloud to one another, we considered the following realities:

  1. I won’t have transportation
  2. The four days of the estate sale, we’ll have to be out of the house by 7 am each morning, most difficult on the weekend when we are both here. What will we do all weekend from 7 am to 5 pm?
  3. How will we live in our house, stripped of all its accouterments, with only a bed for several days, no chair, no sofa, no table?
After multiple possible scenarios we narrowed it down to this:  We must entirely move out of the house beginning Wednesday, October 24th, coming back to inspect the status, make decisions on remaining items and collect our money.

The estate sale guy will remove all refuse, haul items to be donated to various organizations and our dear long term house cleaner, Teresa, will do the final cleaning.  We’ll pay fees for this additional support, but have determined it will be well worth the cost, reducing our stress at such a crucial time.

Sure, we could stay in a hotel for a week. Used to the reasonable cost of vacation rentals, I cringed at the price of a decent hotel, a car rental (or I’d be trapped in a hotel room for a week) and meals for a week at a total cost of around $1500, a cost for which I hadn’t budgeted.  

One of my closest friends has offered that we stay at her beautiful and spacious home, a mere 15 minutes away, an offer made with the utmost of sincerity.  Tom and I adore her and her two sons and have been to their home many times, as they have ours.  It will feel comfortable.  They eat the same healthful diet as we do.  I can prepare dinner for all of us each day.

Alone at her home during the days, I will work out when Tom returns when we go to see the house in the evenings during the sale. My laptop on hand, I’ll continue to write here, do additional research for our travels and fine tune our spreadsheets. It will be fine. Thank you, dear friend.

On Saturday afternoon the 27th, we’ll head out for the hour’s drive to Tom’s retirement party for his co-workers and family members, close to his work at a large hall. Youngest of 11 children, his family alone will account for over 100 guests. Add 42 years of co-worker/friends, we could be looking at 100’s. Oh.

Busy planning the food, the invitations, the cake and other necessities of party planning, need I say, life is busy. It’s no doubt, that we’ll need a multi-year vacation!

Abundant trade offs…

As a logical, numbers crunching individual, I learned a long time ago, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”  

The literal translation of this phrase may be construed as:

When enjoying lunch with a friend, who enthusiastically states, “I’m buying,” most often a thought ran through my mind of “Wow, free lunch! One less meal I have to buy.”  Nope, it’s not free.

The trade off?  Next time, I’ll buy lunch or, next time when the friend calls at 10 PM for emotional support, I’ll listen. Or next time the friend needs a ride when their car breaks down, I’m all over it. No, there’s no free lunch.

Remove any resentment or sense of obligation from the mix and we have a cooperative sharing relationship, friendship, a human condition entrenched in trade-offs.  No doubt, we relish in the opportunity to be a part of this magical experience, not only in friendship but in all relationships.

Within our hearts, the “unconditional love” we profess, for our children and grandchildren, we seek pleasure, pride, laughter and return of love. No, we don’t abandon them when unfulfilled, but we grievously hunger for reciprocation continually trying to inch closer.

No free lunch, this life.  No free lunch, traveling the world. Sacrifices? Yes, many.  Beside the obvious of leaving those we love, leaving the familiarity of the home we have treasured for 26 years and leaving the security blanket of predictable, but not mundane life as we’ve known it, we leave behind our most valued “creature comforts.”
What are they?  Will we find alternatives to replace them or will our interest in them entirely dissipate over time?  They include:

Our bed: A California King Sleep Number with split top mattresses with dual controls, with the ability to raise and lower the head and the foot for maximum comfort.  After many years of suffering with advanced degenerative disk disease, this bed has been a life saver not only for me but also for Tom.

My pillow:  A Tempur-Pedic neck pillow that has been highly instrumental in improving my sleep. Unable to imagine life without this pillow, Tom and I used a SpaceBag and our cute little vacuum with the hope and expectation that we could shrink the pillow sufficiently enough to pack it to travel around the world with us. It’s much smaller after sucking out the air, although heavy as a rock. Maybe, maybe not.
My Tempur-Pedic neck pillow before deflation
My Tempur-Pedic neck pillow after deflation
Our two comfy chairs:  Whether a sofa, a love seat or a chair, we all have a favorite place to park our butts at the end of a task filled day.  With our two comfy Flexsteel chairs, positioned perfectly in front of the big screen TV, we have spent endless hours together entertaining ourselves by laughing, talking, watching our favorite shows (many ridiculous) and lounging.  We never sleep in these chairs.  We each have the habit of awakening one another if we spot the other’s eyes begin to close.  Why we do this?  I don’t know.
Our TVs:  Whether cooking or eating in the kitchen, the TV is on in the background, although we’re seldom fully engaged in a show. In the evenings after dinner, we head to the family room to the above mentioned chairs, laptops whirring on our laps as we begin our nightly ritual of talking, laughing, commenting, sharing a funny email and simply having a great time.

Our dessert:  Ah, a year ago, when we both decided to go gluten-free, grain-free, starch-free, sugar-free and low carb, I quit baking the elaborate desserts we used to enjoy each night after dinner. Tom got fatter and I exercised harder. Here are a few of our former desserts, now replaced with healthier low carb, gluten free, sugar free items:
Elaborate dessert: Homemade Ice Cream Cake, perfect for a hot summer night. Bye, bye, cake!
Elaborate dessert: Homemade Puff Pastry Napolean!  No more!
Elaborate dessert: Homemade Butterscotch Meringue Pie (I used 12 eggs whites)!  Never again!
New dessert:  Unsweetened Greek Yogurt topped with GF, SF, low carb chocolate sauce, unsweetened organic shredded coconut and bits of low carb chocolate coconut protein bar. Not bad at all! (Tom won’t try this).
Our ice machine: Eight years ago when we renovated our kitchen we added a SubZero ice machine.  It was easy to adopt the habit of first loading our  insulated, handled mugs with ice to the brim and then pouring in our favorite iced tea, Crystal Light (using two packets to 1/2 gallon of purified water, as opposed to one packet). Our four little ice cube trays, now filled with jewelry, yet to be packed, will make enough ice to last most of a day.

Creature comforts will now be replaced with creatures, big and small. Comfortable beds, comfy furniture and my pillow traded for lumpy discomfort? Maybe. TV replaced with reading downloaded books, playing games, sitting outside at night staring at the stars, listening to the sound of the ocean, the roar of a lion, the laughter in the streets.  Desserts may impossible to make with limited availability of ingredients and icy drinks may be a thing of the past. 

Trade-offs? Yes, many. As Tom always says after we’ve rearranged the furniture, “Give me some time.  I’ll get used to it.”

Results of my gold and silver sale…

As I stood in the kitchen at our high granite counter top (to accommodate my tall stature), sorting the last minuscule piles of a lifetime of gold chains, earrings and bracelets (mostly from the 80’s) along with more recent sterling silver, I chuckled to myself.

Who was I kidding to think that all of this was “real” gold and not some cheap imitation I fell sucker to in my more naive days (when were those?).  They looked and felt like real gold.  Then again, when was I ever willing to spend $100’s if not $1000’s on myself?  Only a few times. There always were other priorities and I was never that interested in jewelry.

Somehow, over the years I managed to acquire a few chains, a few pairs of earrings or a bracelet that “looked” like gold.  As trends changed from gaudy layers of gold chains around one’s neck (as Tom calls them, Mr. T’s starter sets) and wrists, I fell prey to the appeal of more reasonably priced sterling silver.  As prices on sterling silver climbed over the past several years, stainless steel earrings started looking really good to me, categorically arranged on the wall at Target for $5.99 a pair!  

Alas, the gold and silver guy, Bill Boyd, referred by our estate sales guy Jim Andersonappeared at our door at 10 am this past Thursday, bringing along with him, estate jewelry store owner, Ann Eliason of Ann & Jack’s Vintage Jewelry, in Hopkins MN.  Oddly, neither of these lovely folks conduct business online. But, what they lack online they gained in person! 

The gold and silver business attracts many vultures as purported experts, are more than willing to give a motivated, customer supposed “top dollar” for their gold and silver.  Customers walk out of their stores, $80 in hand thrilled they finally unloaded this useless pile of tangled chains (by the way, it is not necessary to untangle the chains). 

Some crafty buyers conduct parties in homes, similar to the old Tupperware parties whereby the guests bring their old gold and silver to sell on the spot. With the host offering up appetizers and wine, a lively party ensues.  A few wine glasses later, negotiating is out the window along with $1000’s from  these unsuspecting party goers.  Not for me.

Over the past several years I procrastinated about selling it not only leery of going to one of those stores in a mall or parties, but not motivated enough to start picking through the over-stuffed jewelry boxes of which I had little interest. I guess I’ve been more lazy about it than anything.  

For two solid hours, while we clucked like hens thoroughly enjoying the time together, they meticulously picked through my “stuff” with the jeweler’s glass in their eye talking all the while.  Their efficiency was evident and I was at ease, expecting to end the day with little more than a few hundred dollars.

After the rude awakening of what was “real” and what wasn’t Bill asked me for a piece paper and a pen.  I scrambled around the house, looking for a piece of paper.  Ha!  I chuckled again.  

I had trouble finding paper.  I hardly use paper, computer geek that I am.  Ah ha!  I grabbed some paper out of the printer, rousting up a pen, handing it to Bill while he weighed the little piles of gold and silver on his special “pennyweight” scale.  The word “penny” scared me. Goodness.  Will I end up with $10.62?

Scribbling on the piece paper,  finally silent as a mouse, after having looked up the gold and silver rates (which I had done before they arrived!) and Bill writes this number on the piece of paper: $2,810!

I tried not to look shocked as he explained how he arrived at this number. Negotiate?  No, way!  Show me the money!!!  He did.  

Next week, Ann will get back to me with an offer on my wedding ring.  We’re not taking any risks and bringing along any fancy jewelry on our multi year journey that may attract thieves.  Sell my ring?  Yep! Remember, no attachment to “things.”

We will remain attached to people, to Mother Nature, to life changing experiences, a few creature comforts, food for survival, endless learning and of course, each other.  That, my friends, is priceless!