Project Runaway

OR....BE WITHOUT RUTH!

Did I ever tell you I like going through other people's things? Note I said "other" people's things. I could go through my own, but what fun is that?

Don't get me wrong. I can and do go through my own stuff when the spirit moves me, and I have no problem throwing things out, when I get around to it. But going through other people's stuff...just try and stop me! There's always good stuff to find that I haven't seen before.

I discovered this fascination when my grandmother had to move out of her apartment. She'd been very sick and we knew she couldn't go back to her place so my mother and I went to clean everything out and get her moved. Sadly, as she felt a bit better, my Grandma Con (short for Conniff, my Mom's mom) often talked about going back home and my Mom panicked, worried that if she actually did become well enough to go home she would have no home to go to. In our hearts, however, we knew that was not to be and she passed away a few months later.

But we did work and we had fun. We went through every box, every cabinet, every closet. We found gifts of clothes and purses my Grandmother had been given but never used. I also knew that as my Mom had no siblings, the wonderful items we found would come to me for my apartment.

My mother and I created a system that has held us since: be with ruth or without ruth. If we wanted to keep something and think about we called it "With Ruth". If we were tossing, definitely tossing: we called with "without ruth" - a take on being ruthless.

When my dear friend Toni passed away in 2008, she had named me one of her executors, along with her lawyer. The lawyer handled the legal matters and the bills and I handled her possessions. As she left a will leaving only specific items to her family, she instructed me to do what I wanted with the rest of her things - they went to charities - Goodwill and me. My home decor, which was, Dead Grandma, went to Dear Dead Friend. I still have alot of her furniture....and her car. I didn't agree to be an executor for this (I didn't know what exactly her will contained) but it worked out. (Thank you Toni).

So now we get to the heart of this blog and the reason for the title "Project Runaway". My folks have lived in their home for 43 years and have been married for 63. There's alot of stuff collected there. My Dad complains and my Mom pretends not to hear him. But if I bring something up, we seem to get things done. Thus started the "Projects".

The Shattered Vase Project

If you're anything like my mom, you tend to get lots of flowers - birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. And with them come these vases. Some nice, some plain, some tall, some fat. But plenty of vases.

My mom had lots of them, all on the very top of the buffet hutch in the dining room. All collecting dust which irked my Dad. So I suggested we go through the vases and cull them out so there were just a couple. To my suprirse my Mom agreed. Thus began what I call "The Shattered Vase Project".

My Dad took down all the vases and my mom and I went through them. One by one. In the "garbage" box and out of it and back again. In the "Nancy, you take this one" box to out of it to back again. You get the picture.

Eventually we narrowed it down. My Mom chose three vases of various sizes, I chose a couple and the rest were "outta here". My Dad immediately got a dust rag, climbed on a chair and cleaned the top of the buffet cabinet like there was no tomorrow.

I took my vases home. My Mom put her selection of three on the buffet shelf. Then came the mystery. Christmas came and went and the vases sat there....then they disappeared. Poof! Nobody knows what happened to them. I'm guessing that maybe, just maybe, they'll turn up when my folks unpack the Christmas decorations this year.

Now my Mom was complaining because she had no vases if someone sent her flowers. Dad selected three nice vases of various sizes for her birthday which solved that problem. Now the question is: if the others turn up are they gone "without ruth" or back on top of the buffet hutch "with ruth"?

And, family and friends, please send cut flowers, no more flowers in vases! And p.s. no more plants or flowers in baskets! Please! Oh, the baskets! That's a project for another day.

The Family Photobomb Project

Like every family whose parents have been married for 63 years, have three grown children and four grandchildren, we have tons of family pictures. They were stacked in the coat closet in the family room and in a huge box - which drove my Dad nuts - on the floor of the basement. So as the next winter project (that lasted until June), I suggested that I go through all the pictures, separate them out and give to each of us kids the photos of their childhood and only keep the ones for the folks of their marriage. It would happen eventually, of course, and they were never looked at, so why not now?

Actually it was fun to walk down memory lane. So many things I'd forgotten, and so had my parents. They (and I) may be fuzzy on some thinigs, but those photos brought back so many memories!

Yep, that's me. All of 18 months and rarin' to go! No stupid crib was holding me back!

It was fun to bring over the packets of pictures to my brother's house. I gave one packet to Steve prior to a birthday party and one to Mike when he and his family were up visiting and we were having a barbeque. Nobody can resist opening the packets. Soon pictures were out everywhere, memories were flowing and laughter abounded. (You see another reason for my doing this particular project - I could contol what photos of moi got out there while my brothers were at my mercy. Ha!Ha!Ha! My mother didn't raise no dummy!)

Now all the folks pictures and those of my mom's childhood and her parents are safely put away in a plastic tub. The boys childhood photos are in the hands of my sisters-in-law (oh lucky them) to be put in family photo albums - well, you didn't think my brothers would do it did you? I have mine to put in an album, which I WILL do this winter. And, there is (or was) an empty shelf in the coat closet and a big empty space where the box of pictures used to be.

Mission accomplished. Now on to the next. I alluded to it in my recent facebook post. No more clues. I'll post some pics and updates later this afternoon. Maybe.


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