A few months ago, we had an issue in our basement…
Long story short, what started as a $500 “quick-fix” turned out to be a $7,900 “investment.” After the repairs, all we have to show is a sparkling-dull concrete floor in our storage area. Not exactly a selling point for potential buyers (as in… “Don’t mind our old kitchen, come downstairs and check out this beautiful concrete floor!“) The new kitchen I’d been saving for is now on hold while we gather pennies and nickels and attempt to replenish our savings account.
I’m a little bitter, I’m not gonna lie…
Anyway, I digress… The point is, our basement became disheveled from the mass-crap-shuffle to prepare for the haz-mat construction team. There were artifacts from pre-1990. Among them included:
- All tax forms, bill copies, bank statements from 1991 onward
(that’s 22 years of paperwork. NOTE: pre-environmental footprint awareness).
- Old 20 pound box-style computers from that pre-tech-boom era (how do you recycle those, anyway?!)
- Old telephones with spiral cords (gasp!), and adding machines with paper (seriously, with paper rolls!)
- Floppy disks (that is disc with a “k”)
- 2 huge boxes of hand-me-down clothes for my son that were never discovered until now… not sure what era they were from but by the crunch of the weathered and crackling plastic waist-bands, it’s been at least 15 years (my son is 11).
- My first passport (can you say 80’s hair, large tinted glasses, and fluorescent shirt? Yikes!)
It took about 8 brain-numbing hours to shred the paperwork. While listening to the buzz and grind of the paper shredder, I allowed memories to flow through my consciousness.
Retro daydreams were sparked by:
- Old paystubs… proving that young people really can rub two nickels together and survive. We did quit well, thank you very much! Back then, a gourmet meal consisted of ramen noodles with a garlic reduction served with savory ground beef (aka 70% lean hamburger), canned green beans, and Tang. My hubby was/is a miracle worker!
The stubs are a reminder of the financial path we’ve traveled. We didn’t know where life was heading… We churned our work, week-after-week, to keep things moving forward. We knew someday we wanted a house and kids… and a dog… we didn’t realize that the guinea pig would be part of the package – but it’s all worked out for the best.
- Vintage checkstubs… Did you know that there really was a time when going on a date was less than $20 bucks? That included dinner and a movie, too! Hot damn! Back then, there were actual “dollar theaters” – that ran newly “old” movies for just a buck.
(My fav, from back in the day included all the “Naked Gun” series… still love those!
- Car payment books – our first car payment was $79 per month. We loved that car. It was a new-used car with 75,000 miles. It had four doors and we had places to go!
- Checking account statements… we opened our first joint checking account in 1992. At that time, the bank was called United Bank of Colorado
, then Norwest and finally Wells Fargo. Branch banking today is a far cry from the small-town bank of our young marriage. The tellers back then actually knew our names and didn’t greet us with the newest credit card offer that now pops up on their screen when making a deposit. I hate being cross-sold and upsold every.single.time I made a deposit!
- Old Bills… miscellaneous receipts from places in our distant memories we had securely tucked away years ago. Glancing at old receipts brings those memories right back to the surface.
It felt good to purge the paper-trail of our life. With the removal of all the boxes, we now have room to organize what is left of our “historical” storage inventory.
I guess in light of our 21st wedding anniversary, the clean-out is timely. I’ve been a little nostalgic for a few weeks, and sorting through our past really shreds light on where we’ve come (note: pun intended). It also provides perspective. Back then, we had stress, pain, and hurt. Yet, somehow we got through it all, day-by-day.
The hours collected into days, which turned into weeks, which rolled into months, and then years…. and now two decades. Two decades. TWO DECADES??
I’m not sure what life will be like 20 years from now, but I’m banking on each moment experienced will roll up into 2 more decades of life-giving…life! The good. The bad. And, the ugly.
With the onset of online banking and paperless commerce, there is less need for that amount of storage for the next 20 years. Thank goodness I have a blog to capture the life-moments. I guess this blog will be a time-capsule of sorts. Digital words taking up memory space on what is sure to become my “Old Mac”.
For today, I’m thankful for all the great memories. Collectively, they are a good reason to continue to let my fingers do the walking on my ergonomically-balanced and modern keyboard.
Have you purged your storeroom lately?
What memories will be shred up for you?
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