When you’ve got something big to plan for, time goes slowly; so slowly that, if you’re like me, you don’t get into gear until well after you meant to, and then the clock starts moving so fast that it seems impossible to get everything done, or that you could ever have been so complacent.
We’re moving house, my son and I. Ethan’s just turned 8, and I’m 30-something. I’d been thinking about a change, got a job offer I couldn’t turn down, some ideas about a whole new start, moving to the bustle of New York to immerse ourselves in art and culture and history… and snow. Living in Miami, it’s been a while. Snow is exciting. We found a house, a new school, and visited the neighborhood. It was, it IS incredibly exciting. I love moving; I’ve moved house about twenty times. My mom says our family were travelers and it’s in my blood, but she’s a romantic. Everybody’s families were travelers once upon a time, right?
It’s a big move, my biggest really, both in terms of distance and in terms of the sheer volume of stuff we’ve accumulated. Organization is the key. As soon as I got a start date for my job and the keys to the new house I should really have started sorting out our stuff and finding a moving company. The internet is immeasurably useful at times like these, a real safety net for the disorganized and tardy among us. After a few inquiries, I got a good quote and a date from a man with a van who called himself ‘Les Move – a Man with a Van’. I didn’t ask if it was his real name. I’m guessing Lester? Leslie?
I was feeling a little more on top of things, with a week to go until the big day. Time to start rationalizing our accumulated junk. I gave Ethan a garbage bag and told him to pick out the toys and books and dressing-up clothes that he feels too old for now. I used a little pathos and told him they’d go to children who didn’t have so many nice things, and I used a little bribery and promised him a new bike once we got moved in NY.
He busied himself for about twenty minutes, and I did likewise among my own stuff, then I heard some soft crying coming from Ethan’s bedroom. When I went in he was sitting in the middle of a circle of soft animals, holding tightly onto Doctor Bear and sobbing. A nurse gave him Doctor Bear when he fell off a chair in the yard and had to have a stitch on his scalp. ‘Oh Ethan, you don’t have to give Doctor Bear away!’ I got down next to him, scattering bunnies and bears, and pulled him in for a big hug, but I knew it wasn’t just about his teddy.
I was feeling it too, a little. That kind of nervous excitement for a new start, mixed with sadness about leaving the home where he’d said his first words, learned to walk and tie his shoelaces, ride his bike and all the things that form special memories. We talked a little about how we could come back and visit the old places, and a little more about the new place: how he wanted his new bedroom to look, the park around the corner with the duck pond and the giant slide, and the new friends he’s going to make. Then I let him stay up late to watch Ghostbusters with me. He’s a great age.
After he went to bed I watched some YouTube videos about ‘moving hacks’, and ‘long distance moving tips’ as well as looking at a list of best long distance movers but it all seemed to be wide-eyed women getting excited about putting clothes in plastic bags. That’s pretty handy, I guess; every time I go for groceries I feel so guilty about having forgotten to bring bags to re-use that I buy one of those sturdy carriers with ‘Bag For Life’ or something written on the side. I have so many Bags For Life I think I’m immortal. I was already way ahead of the game when it came to packing tips: you just put stuff in stuff. There’s no great secret, except maybe that you need to put stuff in ALL your stuff. Fill your drawers and wrap them. Fill your duvet covers, pillowcases, bread bins and Tupperware. Fill your boots. Wrap your breakables in your clothes, towels, tea towels, anything. You’ll have to get some boxes and bubble wrap, probably, but it seems crazy to me to buy stuff I don’t need. It’s just more to move.
I made a list of the people I need to tell about my change of address. It’s amazing how many companies and services have my data, how living in the modern world means being at the center of a matrix of energy suppliers and phone companies, doctors, dentists, banks, store cards, loyalty cards, alma maters, social security and licensing authorities. The list goes on. There’s bound to be someone I’ll keep getting letters from, to annoy the new residents. I guess I’ll get the mail redirected. That’s something else for the list.
The next day we really set it to get rid of all the stuff we didn’t really want to take with us and took a trip to the recycling center. It’s a great feeling getting rid of a load of clutter. Ethan said it’s like the place had a good poop. I told him it’s called catharsis, but I like his way of saying it much better.
So, moving day came around, and ‘Les Move’ came with a couple of guys and loaded all our stuff up and set off. They had a long drive ahead of them. Better you than me, Les. The house seemed really big. Ethan and I set out for the airport with a giddy, vacation kind of feeling. I can’t wait to make the new place our home. Cozy it up, you know? New people, a new home, a new start, it’s just what we need. And snow.
This post made possible by site sponsor Gregory Ortiz.
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