I know it has been a long time since we last posted, so we need to catch everyone up to date. As planned, we continued to inventory the entire contents of the house and clean out things that could not be sold or given away. We photographed every item in the house and cataloged it in a spreadsheet. When we finally finished there were over 1100 items on the list. The photographs and the spreadsheet were distributed to all heirs for their initial selection. Everyone had the opportunity to mark any item as "I want it", or "I'll take it if no one else wants it". After tabulating all the requests we found that there were a relatively small number of items that more than one person wanted.
All three children gathered at the house again in mid December to make the final decisions. We went through each room and made the final choices. The process worked so easily and there were absolutely no issues. This has to have been the easiest, most amicable division of an estate in history. Dianna, Julie and Greg are special people who obviously were raised by some very special people as well.
The decision was made back in November to put the house on the market. There were several showings but it quickly became apparent that the market had fallen even further than any of the realtors we interviewed had thought. We lowered the price in late December and that stimulated the interest considerably. During the entire inventory process we kept the house looking as good as possible so it could be shown in its best light. That was difficult but we felt it was necessary.
After the mid December meeting to make the division decisions, we decided it was time to move forward with packing and distributing everything, even though the house had not sold. We needed to leave for Texas so we could spend Christmas with our family, but Tina stayed on to begin the packing process. Michele stayed with her and they accomplished a tremendous amount in a weeks time before returning home to NY.
We returned to California after the first of the year and have continued what Tina and Michele began. We are advertising and selling unwanted furniture on Craig's List, and we have found charitable organizations who are worthy recipients of other things. We have also given much to friends and relatives who are grateful to have things to remember the Wideners by, and who can really use some of the items. We still have a tremendous number of things that we will try to sell at garage/estate sales in the next few weeks. This is now imperative because we have accepted an offer on the house and it will go to its new owner on February 15.
Having a deadline is a good thing because we now know what we have to do and when it has to be done. We no longer have to keep the house looking good for prospective buyers, and it is now full of boxes and empty walls. All the family members have been here when they can to help with the sorting and packing, and my brother Dale has come to help us as well. He was here all of last week and plans to be here at least next week as well. This weekend he is making a quick trip to see Death Valley and plans to go to Universal Studio on Monday with Don's family.
That's about it from here. We are still staying the mostly empty house until we sell the bed we are sleeping on out from under ourselves. We don't have many pots and pans or any food in the cupboard, but we are making do. At some point we may have to make other arrangements, but we think we can hang in for a while. It will soon start to feel like camping out. We will schedule the movers sometime in the next couple weeks, and that will really make the big difference as we will have no place to sit after that. We still need to return about once a week to our rig which is still parked in Bakersfield. Other than that, it is just more packing and moving, but the end is in sight.