Sunday, April 29, 2012

Snapshots: Moving

If you look closely, you can see where the headboard came apart. And you can see the box.  This is why hoarders hoard.  You never know when you're going to need a perfectly good box.

I haven’t moved in 32 years.
I moved.
I’m glad I work out.

Oh, we've taken a year Sabbatical to a foreign country. But that isn't moving. That's not downsizing. Downsizing, divesting of your belongings to get out of your house, is mental and physical torture. And I'm a sixties kid.

It's the work, the constant rearranging, reorganizing, revising, rethinking, more than anything, that kills you, and the thought of the shlepping.

Not that we didn’t hire movers; a wonder, these professionals. You sign on the dotted line, agree to pay for their time and effort, and for the bubble wrap, the wardrobes, boxes and tape, if you're not careful. Then you watch, spellbound, as they pack your cherished possessions at lightening speed. You feel you’re on a reality TV show, keep looking at your watch.

People tell you to make three piles, but you knew that, learned that lesson moving your mother to her retirement home: one to donate, one to pitch, another to sell. Your piles seem very high, your trash overflowing. You can’t believe that you can really live with a third, perhaps a quarter of the things you thought you needed to live a quality life.

You forget things like extension cords, your jacket, coffee filters, the 1/8 measuring cup for the beans, travel mugs. Your partner keeps asking you where questions, and you shrug, have no idea. The loss of control is fun. Your attitude about these things is positive. In other circumstances, having no idea where your travel mug might be would unravel you, send you into a finding frenzy.

When the van gets to your new destination, and the men begin to haul things inside, you have to make the big decisions-- what goes where. You change your mind a few too many times, in your empathetic opinion. At some point feel sorry for the guys, stop asking them if they wouldn’t mind, just one more time, moving the bedroom dresser, the armoire, even the dining room table to yet another spot then back to the original.

You remember measuring several times to be sure everything fit. When it does, you feel brilliant. But your calculations aren't 100%, and when you can't cram a nightstand into the corner you are up late at night with your partner, working a new solution.

It is something you didn’t think you really needed, but then you decided you did need. He disassembled then reassembled it hours after the movers have come and gone. Together you attempt to move the bed so the piece will fit, but you are moving it on thick carpet, not the wood floors you had at home. The screws holding the headboard together (a three piece monstrosity) disengage. Things get crazy. The headboard is too heavy, reattaching what has now perhaps permanently detached is going to be impossible tonight, if ever.

No marital conflict here. You look at one another, the panic in all four of your collective eyes. You are both very tired. You do your best, use the box from the new microwave with the annoying flashing clock to support the part of the unit that might otherwise crash, wake the entire building in the middle of the night, perhaps kill you. Tomorrow you will get a better box.

The apartment lets in more sun than your old house ever did, and for this you are grateful. Because the heat is paid for in the assessment, it pours into the bedroom and you can sleep with the window open, even though it is in the forties outside, so you sleep like a rock.

You would anyway, of course.


4 comments: said...

Glad to here your move went well. After 32 years you never know what to expect!

On a different note, moving and buying a house is a more stressful time in one / a couples life. Counselling can always help!

Carpe Diem Online Counselling

Medkid said...

Oooooh moving! I once calculated that for a 5 year period I never stayed in one place for longer than 9 months (I am not a transitory soul by nature but I definitely learned to become one). Boy did I become a moving master. Then this last year really tested my skills because I moved ever 4 weeks for 6 months time interspersed with frantic interviewing all over the country. Turns out pretty much all you need can fit in a Rav 4 EASY (Granted all I need for a kitchen is a toaster and a coffee maker...this excludes skis of course which is what FEDEX is for :). I'm moving out of my apartment (again) as we speak and sister mercy what I collect in 2 years...I can't imagine what I would amass in 32 years! Every time I move I have the urge to give it all up and join a convent. I mean who needs 5 tubes of old chapstick? And seriously the number of plastic bags I have hanging around is absurd. I could build a tent out of them and live in that instead. But it's the paper that gets me. I'm fairly sure every time I move I recycle an orange grove worth of paper. Throwing stuff out = SO AMAZING except for feeling bad for the planet. :) Happy unpacking!

Tzipporah said...

We just moved (while I am 5 months pregnant with my forth) for the fifth time in five years. I wouldn't recommend it as a regular activity. I haven't ever had packers and movers so it's interested to see it's still mentally exhausting. Right now my husband and I have sore backs, hands and feet on top of mental exhaustion! I hope to never move again!

Hope your "foreign" adventure is worth the move! :)

Kerro said...

I moved three years ago and swore NEVER to do it again. Then my mother got cancer and I moved my father into a nursing home, and later my mother into another house. And then my father died, but that was a different sort of *move*. And now I'm about to move both again into a new house. I have the packing down to a fine art, as well as watching the burly men lift things I can't barely shift. Like the fridge, which they hook under one arm while they yell, "hey Jo, pass me the washing machine as well would you?" ;)

Seriously, glad to hear your move went well. Hope you are still enjoying the sunshine.