Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Family Business

Above the entrance to my living room (it used to hang on my in-laws' porch)
Most of the month of June I spent east on extended family business.  My mother-in-law passed away back in January and my father-in-law is now in assisted living, but all their stuff was still sitting in their house and needed to be dealt with.  Part of my business was getting together with my two sisters-in-law to go through my in-laws' house and get it ready to sell.

The three of us spent an intense week camped out at the house with virtually no contact with the outside world: no TV, no internet, no radio, no newspaper.  We each had our own bedroom where we stashed our loot and slept.  Other than that, we worked hard -- everything had to be gone through -- every drawer, every nook and cranny -- if you've done this before, you know, but this was my first time doing something like this.  However, I am hardly ever in a situation with no distractions (i.e. no kids and no husband), so I was hyper-focused like a machine, I tell you:)

I was a little apprehensive going in, not knowing how everyone would handle things emotionally, but we all got along great and despite the grueling nature of the work we had a good time together, laughing at some of the funny things we found.  My mother-in-law was a "prepper" from way back, so we found many packets of carefully wrapped bandages hidden in the eaves of the attic, books with titles like "Are You Radioactive?", and we emptied out probably 50 containers of civil defense water that had been stored in the garage.

We divided up everything that we could, but in the end it was impossible for three already-full households to incorporate the contents of a fourth house.  Some things had to be sold and some had to be donated.  Plus we (my immediate family) had to rent a trailer to haul everything back to Texas so I tried to take only what we really wanted or could use (although I did get overriden on a few things).  Here is a sampling of some of the treasures we came home with.

This dry sink was the one piece of furniture that my husband was sentimentally attached to, mainly because it had just always been in his parents' home.  This is now in our living room underneath one of my husband's paintings.

The piece I chose was this primitive buffet.  I love these more primitive pieces for myself:)  This is on the wall near my dining table.

I have not found a good place for everything we brought back (nor did I get to make all the decisions about what we brought;) -- this treadmill is still in the middle of the living room.

This little bench makes me happy because it reminds me of my mother-in-law.

As does this little scene painted on a board:
My father-in-law (who has never been known as a handyman) made this stool for my diminutive mother-in-law before they were married.  I thought it was so sweet, we had to take it even though the women in this house are more Amazonian in size.  You never know, there could be a tiny daughter-in-law in my future;)
My mother-in-law loved signs with little sayings on them.  It seemed appropriate to hang this cross-stitch above the pull-up bar;)
Let me leave you with this last sign (which is still searching for its permanent location):
I thought about correcting this and adding an "s", but this is another thing that makes us laugh, and it's a good reminder that even on those days when you can only think of one, one still counts:)


  1. I absolutely enjoyed this post, Angela, your MIL had some beautiful pieces of furniture as well as other treasures. Yes, I have been there and have gone through this, with family members, we also shared many wonderful memories, and yes shared treasures with memories too! I am still enjoying my treasures. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I dread that process someday. It sounds exhausting at so many levels. Sounds like you did very well and there was peace.

  3. it's wistful work going through a house like this. but how lovely that you have these beautiful personal treasures to join your home. It's never possible to absorb everything into an already up and running home but the things you've come back with look very well chosen. I too love signs so these are my favourites! I especially like the "welcome" one - is it metal? Perfect for your hospitable home, Angela! E x

  4. Such treasures you have brought home! Yes, they are lovely, but the greater treasure is in having tangible reminders of loved ones and happy memories. Love the buffet...and the "Count Your Blessing" sign made me smile. (I like your commentary on it too.) :D

    I have not yet had to do this hard task, but it is encouraging to know that there were good times and laughs and getting along! That is not the case in every situation of this sort, but I am happy to know that it was in yours.

  5. Wonderful treasures you have incorporated into your home. I got quite a kick out of the "Count Your Blessing" story. I also found it quite telling that it took an entire week of three women giving it their full and undivided attention to get through it all. It's a big job!

  6. I feel for you, going through your elderly relatives' belongings is emotionally gruelling as well as physically! Good for you all that it all went harmoniously as well. That "count your blessing" sign is so sweet, gave me a smile too :)

  7. I love the "Ye olde kissing stool"! How sweet!:) My condolences to you and your family, your Mother-in-law sounds like she was quite the lady. Have a blessed day Angela!:)


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