It’s been 12 days and 11 nights of opening boxes, unwrapping objects, and trying to make order of chaos. I thought I would be further along in the process than I am — at least one recognizable, fully functional room — but I’m not there yet.
I keep telling myself that the worst of moving is behind me, and I know this is true. However, I am racking up reasons for my current curmudgeonly conduct, and I’ve arrived at the following related conclusions:
- Unpacking is worse than packing.
- Moving sucks.
- With small wingspan, Science 101 is your friend. (Stay tuned…)
- Moving sucks!
Now, now. I am well aware that context and circumstances are key, attitude can assist or aggravate, and the occasional deer duo crossing a neighborhood road adds touristic titillation to the state of settling in.
Well, for city dwellers like myself, that is.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Starting out and starting over share much in common, but 25-year-old energy and excitement as you explore a new location most definitely differ from stamina and approach when you double the years.
Let’s also admit this: Landing in uncharted territory comes in numerous variations. Among them, we have moves of convenience, moves of opportunity, moves of whimsy, and moves of necessity. And absent ‘staff’ and a bountiful budget — would someone please send Kris Jenner with her moving minions? — the mechanics of resetting one’s environment are rarely easy.
Especially when dealing with a move of necessity, however hopefully undertaken.
Now about the gargantuan task of unpacking…
“Pick one room and try to get that done,” my sweet son said to me when he saw my overwhelm, the movers having left us to literally hundreds of boxes to tackle. Thank goodness he stayed and helped for three days!
But the pick one room method?
I tried. It didn’t work. Here’s why.
In addition to two significant reasons — too damn much stuff and a workforce of one (yes, moi) — despite impeccable packing by professionals, the primary impediment to rapid progress has been inadequately labeled boxes. Those filled by the movers, that is. In other words, I need to go through a box in entirety in order to discover what treasures (or trash) may lie within.
Sometimes the contents make perfect sense — dishes from one shelf in my cupboard, for example. But just as often, I’m dealing with an odd mix of items that may include art, glassware, paper clips, old pieces of (unwanted) matting, photographs, letters, office supplies, and… well… You get the picture.
So I empty a box, fill a Hefty bag with packing paper, and set assorted items on the floor or a nearby surface. (All surfaces are now covered.)
Further complicating matters, part way through unloading, the movers had no choice but to start stacking boxes floor to ceiling — anywhere they could. And… Much of what I need most — however well identified — appears to be buried.
Shall I wax woeful? Sigh soulfully? Cue the violins?
In spite of these little snags, there is a great deal that can be done, and happily, like most of us, I possess the ability to angle, drag, drop, or roll an oversize objet that I am hell bent on moving. Besides, you’d be surprised what a dose of obstinacy can accomplish! Case in point: Yesterday, gravity and patience enabled me to ease one of my fave large paintings from its carton by turning it on its side, tipping slightly, and eventually getting the layers of carton off. Then I was able to ‘walk it’ to a wall where I could lean it.
I also managed to move an overstuffed chair from its ill-advised spot hiding behind four storage boxes. The angling-dragging-walking approach enabled me to get it through a doorway, down a hallway, through another doorway, and into a cozy corner where it better belongs.
Prior to the chair escapade, I had forewarned a friend that if he didn’t hear from me in 24 hours to call out the rescue dogs; no such emergency ensued (I’m happy to report), though once my comfy chair took up residence in my boudoir, I sat my ass down it and gave my body a rest!
As for physical constraints like diminutive size, a bad back, and an absence of Popeye Power despite daily doses of leafy spinach… Sure, they slow me down, but they don’t stop me. (Hello, Persistence… Meet Determination. Yes, yes, I know. Euphemisms for stubbornness.)
Meanwhile, as I contemplate elements of this relocation that involve much more than finding my iron, my hair dryer, or my makeup — the good habits I will need in order to not get in my own way, I work through a minimum of 10 boxes per day. Step by step, with patience (and yes, a ladder and gravity), I will get there…
As for other aspects of this pesky process, welcome to Disorientation, The Sequel… Tears in the supermarket, tears in Target, choking back tears as my GPS had me circling on and off a multi-name byway. (Must a single road really have a trio of monikers??? And why can’t I just put on my sneakers and hike to a store, dammit?)
Ah, Toto. We aren’t in Kansas anymore… Or maybe we are.
Now lest you think I’m purely petulant, I’m doing my damnedest to find the positives in where I am, rather than the negatives in where I am not. And certainly, in due time, I will adjust. But will ‘due time’ be just in time to start repacking and move elsewhere? How much of myself do I invest in this place — emotionally, financially, and logistically? How much will the complexities of this move disrupt my work life and for how long? How soon can I find accessible healthcare options? And how do I recreate a sense of ‘home,’ which is critical to my emotional well-being?
Yes, yes, of course, I’m fine.
I’m a little raw, I’m weirdly tired, and I can honestly say that I have no desire to write, which means I’ve either morphed into a pod person or I’m more affected by this change than I’m willing to let on.
And yes, I am counting my blessings, including the diversion of Bambi sightings near my current residence and plans to cool it on unpacking this weekend. Instead, I’ll do a little socializing.
Still, the challenge is this: I’ve been living in a state of wait for years — since my boys left for college — and I’ve been chomping at the bit to reclaim a more suitable, more authentic, more meaningful lifestyle than my usual daily grind of the past decade. But given that my targeted destination fell through in the eleventh hour, I’m struggling to accept that in many respects, I remain in a holding pattern for another 12 months.
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