The day has finally come, I thought to myself as I mailed in the final check to Rutgers University, I’ve finally reached the other side of the rainbow or at least it seems. Being a father of 3, I’ve spent the last 25 plus years of my life, doing any and everything imaginable to assure that my kids have had the best of everything. I remember the days all three kids were born, feeling the excitement, the worry, the joy, the nervousness, and every emotion in between. I remember their first steps, first words, their first days of school, graduations, and every other milestone that we as parents hold so dear. It seems like only yesterday I was up at 3:00 in the morning, bottle feeding my daughter and then throwing her in her car seat for the ride around the block that would knock her out instantly.
As most parents can attest to, everything I’ve done, all the late nights at work and second jobs as well as all of the sleepless nights and busy weekends running from one sporting event to another, has been for my children. I’ve eaten, slept, and even breathed family first for as long as I can remember. This past May, my wife and I attended our youngest daughters graduation from Rutgers University, with honors I might add, sorry proud Papa moment, and have now sent and paid for all three of our kids to go to college. Many a night was spent enjoying pasta with jarred spaghetti sauce for dinner, being that the 3 tuition payments, a mortgage, two car notes, and more bills than I care to discuss, wouldn’t allow us anything more than that. Having sent in my last installment payment for her tuition bill, I immediately began to think of all the great things I was going to buy with all of the extra money.
As most people do, I started to dream of that 69 Chevy Camaro I’ve always wanted and the trips we would take. My wife has always wanted to see Paris in the fall and I wouldn’t wait to take that to Alaska. The dreams we had while falling asleep with baby on our chests, have now been given the opportunity to become a reality. The kids are all grown, and either have families of their own or have begun their professional careers and have moved out of the house. What once seemed cramped and void of a quite space to read a book, has now become and empty house with echoes of arguments over the cable remote. A 4 bedroom home now seems like overkill, being that my wife, the dog, and I never venture to the 2nd floor of the house anymore. We had always planned to downsize once the kids were grown, but now the time has come, WE’RE SELLING THE HOUSE.
Of course we ran the entire array of emotions when making this decision. This is the home where so many of the firsts that I mentioned above have taken place. There are still markings on the door jams in each of the kids rooms where we marked how tall they were getting. Not only did we struggle with letting go of the home emotionally, but we were also faced with another dilemma, what to do with everything we had accumulated throughout the years. We knew that until we became grandparents, we would take a few years and travel around the world, before ultimately settling down in a town house near the kids to help spoil our grandchildren rotten. While this was always the plan, the logistics of such an adventure were something we hadn’t taken into account. To make matters worse, we put the house on the market, and within 2 weeks had an offer, and have a closing schedule for 15th of next month. Things just got real!!!!
As we have spent the last few weeks going from room to room, attic, to basement, garage to shed, we realized that just don’t throw ANYTHING away. We’ve had the kids come and take the items they want and or need for their new places, we’ve had salvation army come and pick up the items that we knew we would be donating, but are still left with a moving truck full of items that we will either need when we do settle back down, or when our kids, have their kids and we can pass the items on to another generation.
With the closing date looking, I did an internet search of local self storage facilities in our area of West Milford, New Jersey. Being that we were going to be away from our items for so long, I made sure to do my research and took a look at the two rated facilities in our area. The first stop I made was at Storage Station located at 1867 Greenwood Lake Turnpike in West Milford, but not before calling the office at 973-846-4637 and speaking to the manager there. He was very helpful in educating me in self storage, something I thought I would never have to say. I of course had all the usual questions, like what size units do you have, what kind of access is there, how much it costs, etc. He took his time and answered every question I had, eventually inviting me to come down to his facility to check out what it is he had to offer.
Unbeknownst to him, I was already planning on coming in anyway, but also planned to hit a few other local facilities as well. When I got there, I was greeted by the gentleman in the office, I won’t use his name as to not embarrass him, and was invited to come in and have a seat. As I sat down speak to this perfect stranger, I immediately felt at ease. As we began to discuss all of the options he had to offer me, everything from unit size to hours of access and different types of units, i.e. climate controlled vs non climate controlled, I found myself engaged with a conversation with someone who really seemed to understand my concerns and more than willing to do everything he possibly could help my wife and I start the next chapter of our lives. What started out a perfect stranger, ended up becoming more of a friend that I was able to talk to about all of the big plans we had in store. Needless to say, I didn’t end up making it to the second location to see what they had.
We ultimately ended up going with a 10 foot by 20 foot climate controlled unit, which was reasonably priced, and met all of our self storage needs. Not only did we find a storage unit, but we also found a new friend. I would recommend anyone who is in need of a storage unit, needs to stop by Storage Station in West Milford and let them help you the same way they helped us.