When we closed on the house yesterday, it was with the understanding that Barry's friend Richard would remove the remaining items out of the house today and take the last piece of furniture tomorrow. Richard called to confirm he was letting himself in at lunch today and again after work, like we agreed, and I thought all that would be fine. Around 9pm I took the dog for a walk over to the new house. When I got close to the house, I noticed a lot of items out for the trash. Upon further investigation, there were a lot of perfectly good items out for the trash. It looked like Richard had just given up and cleared the counter tops into a trash bag.
So there I was with my head inside the trash can digging around in a dead man's belongings by street light when my new neighbor wheeled his own trash can out. Sensing that this might look a little odd (since there was no car in the driveway and I was dressed somewhat shabbily), I introduced myself as his new neighbor as of the closing yesterday. He introduced himself as Rick and we chatted a bit. I sheepishly explained my trash can diving as going through everything that Richard had thrown out that day and pulling out what I could for the thrift store or ourselves. He smiled and said his mother who lives with him was good friends with Barry and they had been going through the trash themselves, pulling out things that were valuable, including Barry's college diploma.
I love my new neighbors. They're my kind of people.
We parted ways and I returned to my task at hand of sorting trash on the curb. Soon I realized I had more piles than I could handle and would need some storage containers. I called my parents and they drove down with some plastic tubs to hold everything and we brought it all inside to sort. We ended up with two boxes to go to the thrift store, one box for my mother to take home (sigh) and two boxes for me to keep (I am my mother's daughter). I also retrieved the bag of dog treats, paper towels and bean dip that I had purchased and brought to the house yesterday out of the trash.
We dragged the last of Barry's belongings downstairs and into the living room. I put a note on the fridge that everything inside was ours and a note on my rescued bag from the trash that they were "Rich and Genie's items - please don't discard." I thought about adding "(again)" to the end, but figured that was implied. They can remove the last of Barry's belongings tomorrow and then tomorrow evening Daddy can change the locks on all the doors. I also specifically left a note that anything they didn't want they should leave and I would take it to a thrift store.
I know it's hard to sort through another man's life all through his house, but they were the ones in such a hurry to close in 30 days. I'm encouraged by the concern all of our new neighbors have shown for Barry, his home and belongings, in that I hope they are as caring and neighborly towards us once we live there. My parents have always said that you should never take great neighbors for granted. Maybe instead of having Barry's family sort through and discard all of his stuff, he should have asked his neighbors to do it. It would have saved us all the trouble of going through his trash to rescue family photos and diplomas after the fact.