Tag Archives: moving

If Walls Could Talk

In recent days, I have become a professional at packing, taping, and stacking boxes. I had been feeling really smug about my packing efficiency quotient (PEQ), but then I started packing up the kitchen. Dishes are a real pain, you guys. All the wrapping. And pots are no picnic either, mostly because of the handles. They’re so pointy and poke-y and unbendable.

It’s been hard, too, to pack with the kids around, so most of the packing has been taking place at night. Except when Benjamin got out a suitcase one busy morning last week and started stuffing his clothes into it.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Packing up my clothes so we can move to the new house, Mama!”

“Good job! Except we don’t need to pack up your clothes yet, because we’re not going for another week or so.”

“But I’m so excited to live there!”

“Me too, sweetie!”

“But…Mama? I think our old house is going to really miss us.”

“So you think that the house has feelings like we do, and it will feel sad when we’re not here anymore?”

“Yeah. I think it’s going to feel really, really sad.”

I know what he means. I was going to explain to him that houses aren’t living things with feelings, but I didn’t. Because when I was a little girl, I felt exactly the same way. I remember riding in the back of my parents’ car as they drove it to the dealership to trade it in, lying on the seat, tightly hugging the upholstery (this was, of course, before seat belt laws). As though I was bidding farewell to a dear loved one, tears streamed down my cheeks as I whispered, “We loved you, car. Thank you, car. I’ll miss you, car. You were a good, good car.”

Such a little drama queen! Now we know where Ellie gets it.

Anyway, I told him that story, and I added that even though I was sad to leave our old car, we got a nice new car that was great, and that the old car ended up taking care of another family. I said that our house was going to take care of some new people, too.

“So the house won’t be lonely,” I said, “because there will be new people here to keep it company. Does that make you feel better?”

“No, it doesn’t. Because it will still miss us.”

Again, I couldn’t argue, even though I’m a “grown-up” now and should “know better.” Sure, I could’ve explained that he was simply projecting his own feelings on the house as a convenient way to avoid difficult emotions, blah blah blah. But he’s five, and also, I’m not entirely convinced myself that the house won’t miss us.

So I said that we could do things like drive by the house and wave, and open the window and yell, “I miss you, house!” I said we could talk about the house any time, and that he could have some pictures of the house in his new room.

“Really? That would be great!” he said. “Then I won’t forget how it was here.”

I won’t forget how it was here, either. I won’t forget moving in with The Daddy, youthful and childless, thrilled to start a new life with a garage AND space for a guest room and home office. The elaborate Christmas Eve dinners I tried to cook in my miniscule kitchen to impress my new in-laws.  Laughing on the big back deck with my girlfriends. Renovating the bedroom 7 months pregnant. Kissing my newborns’ cheeks in the big chair in the family room. Avoiding the squeaky floorboard in the nursery in the middle of the night. The way I felt instantly comforted, walking through the door after a long day.

What Benjamin will eventually understand is that those feelings and memories have almost nothing to do with the house. Someday, maybe very soon, he’ll understand that home is wherever we all are – wherever we’re laughing, singing, playing, squabbling, cooking, sleeping, dreaming.

Regardless: We loved you, house. Thank you, house. We’ll miss you, house. You were a good, good house.

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Move It or Lose It. I Pick Lose It.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I should’ve been thinking about our nation’s fallen soldiers and their indescribably generous, selfless sacrifice. And I did think about them – don’t get me wrong – but not as much as I should’ve. Hopefully someone else thought about them more than they expected to, so much so that their over thinking balanced out my under thinking, and the appropriate gratitude level was eventually achieved and maintained. Because what I was thinking was HOLY SWEET CRACKER SANDWICH, WE’RE MOVING IN SIX WEEKS!!!!

Way back in the olden days of college apartment living, six weeks would’ve seemed like a long time to prepare for a move. For example, I might’ve delayed panicking until maybe six days (hours?) before moving. I’d be sitting on the couch, maybe eating a cracker sandwich, and it would suddenly hit me that I had some packing to do. “Hey – I’d better get some boxes from somewhere,” I’d think, “and maybe find a friend with a truck or something.” I’d sit there some more, pondering the situation, and then decide not to think about it until “later” because the evil thoughts were making my stomach hurt. Inevitably, it would all come together at the last minute and my stuff would get from point A to point B (where point = tiny apartment) and everything would be fine. Ah, the magical days of yore.

THIS time, I’ve got the stuff that accumulates during 14 years of marriage (we got married the month I finished grad school). That’s 14 years of saying things like, “Lookatthis! We could really use a cool cappuccino maker/this totally boss reciprocating saw/a fascinating instructional coffee table book about origami/this awesome treadmill!”

And boy howdy – kids really add to the Useless Crap Accumulation Factor (UCAF). Which is probably the biggest reason I need to follow through with the garage sale.

To compare, here’s an approximation of what I moved from my adorable, tiny one-bedroom apartment:

1. Two surly cats (one of these creatures still lives with me, despite being 498 in human years)
2. Clothes, easily contained in 2 large garbage bags
3. Several mismatched plates, a cereal bowl, 3 coffee mugs, and a few pieces of flatware
4. A pot, and also a pan
5. A coffeemaker
5. A twin bed
6. 2,000 pounds of textbooks
7. A vacuum
8. A large computer desk (and a computer, which had only been recently acquired after I finally abandoned my electric typewriter)
9. A love seat and a papasan chair, which was dangerously prone to tipping over
10. 2 lamps
11. A color TV that was reluctant to display colors
12. A coffee table that I found on the side of the road
13. Cleaning supplies
14. 6-ish bottles of shampoo, give or take (a gal needs options)

Even packing up the contents of my current pantry cupboard and refrigerator (not to mention the separate freezer in the basement) is enough to make my brain go on a terror-induced shutdown. I would give anything to only have to deal with the contents of my grad school refrigerator:

1. A half-eaten container of sesame noodle salad
2. One quart of milk, used only as a cereal accompaniment
3. A nearly empty bottle of Boone’s Farm Country Kwencher
4. A small container of tabbouli
5. Hot sauce

Anyway, if you could send any encouraging energy my way in the upcoming weeks, the kind of energy that promotes organized packing skills and the ability to sell and/or throw out one’s useless worldly possessions, I’d really appreciate it. And if you happen to be kind of person who likes doing that kind of thing, COME ON OVER. I’d even repay your generosity with fascinating coffee table books and hardly-ever-used small kitchen appliances.

COST OF MOVING: ELEVENTY BILLION ORIGAMI ELEPHANT DOLLARS

Image via Wikipedia

Garage Sale Grump

First, I want to say that it took me three days to write a post that would normally take me 20 minutes or so, because of THE PUPPY. It’s just like having a newborn again, except it’s completely different. My human newborns didn’t bite me with tiny razor-sharp teeth, nor did they bark, dump their water bowls over, or chase the cat. Yesterday, Benjamin said, “Can we get some more puppies?” and immediately, in perfect unison, The Daddy and I issued a firm NO.

Despite the rambunctious streak, she’s very sweet and amazingly cute. See?

MAYA, 10 WEEKS OLD

The other big thing going on is that we have a closing date on our new house. In July! Which means we’re moving! And we need to get serious about it. We definitely don’t want to take everything with us, so I’ve finally decided to have a garage sale. For real.

I say “for real” because I claim to be planning a garage sale every single spring. Someone will say to me, “I’m having a garage sale next week,” and I invariably reply, “Oh! I’m going to have a garage sale this summer too!” And then I spend some time explaining how I say the same thing every year, but THIS year is going to be different. THIS will be the year I actually DO it. But have I ever done it?

Nope.

And here’s the reason: I am completely stymied when I start thinking about the logistics of the whole thing. It’s not the location – no siree, I currently live on the corner of an extremely busy 4-lane street. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people will see my garage sale without any advertising or signage at all. Nor am I worried about placing ads or collecting money or talking to strangers or fighting off the pushy early birds. I’m not even really worried about pricing, because pricing can and will change throughout the weekend, based upon what it is, what time it is, and if they are genuinely nice when they ask me for a lower price.

What I’m worried about is organization. Displaying things. I don’t want to put stuff on the ground on blankets because nothing annoys me more than to go to a garage sale and spend my time looking at the ground. So I need tables, or some other manner of raised flat surface. I don’t have a surplus of tables in my house, so then I think, “Okay, I’ll rent some.” And then I look into that and realize the cost will take a major bite out of my profits. Without fail, someone responds to this complaint with something like, “Get creative! Put old doors on saw horses. Hang things on a ladder. Put a piece of wood on a barrel and use that as a table!”

I want to kick the people who say that to me right in their well-meaning shins, because if I was creative I wouldn’t be suffering this mental organization disorder, and plus, who has a collection of barrels just lying around? Whatever would I have bought in barrel form? What are all you people buying in barrels, for heaven’s sake? Wine? Whiskey? Monkeys? Laughs?  And after the monkeys have climbed out and are swinging from your curtains, where are you storing the empty barrels? I can’t even think of anything I would need an entire barrel of, other than maybe chocolate. Or patience.

So you can see my dilemma. My brain gets overwhelmed by hellish visions of being up all night, feverishly constructing complicated, multi-tiered displays out of ladders and fishing line and saw horses and BARRELS and duct tape, and then I just call the whole thing off. Who needs that kind of stress?

Anyway – off to Costco to buy a barrel of laughs for my garage sale. If you have a barrel at your house, I seriously want to know the following things: 1) what came in it (beer doesn’t count…we’re not in college anymore), 2) where you got it,  3) if it’s ever come in handy, and 4) where you store it. And if I can borrow it.

SELFISH BARREL HOARDERS
Image via Wikipedia