Advertisements
Tag Archives: moving

A List of Things to Be Determined in the Near Future

26 Sep

1. Weather

I hear that snow, also referred to as “winter” in this region, may occur soon. How soon? Who knows?

2. Appropriate Footwear

Clothing is on my mind each time the weather changes — especially now that I live in a different climate. In California, I wore open shoes unless it was raining. Sandals, thong toed footwear (my toes being the only place thongs are allowed), clogs, and a variety of other open-backed shoes — these are what I wore in my daily life. I own one pair of athletic shoes (seldom worn before I moved) and one pair of rubber rain boots. I also own a nice pair of wooden-heeled leather boots which I acquired shortly before the move and which would almost certainly be ruined by inclement weather.

My current plan is to wear my sneakers every day, but I expect this will cause shoe odor rather quickly.

3. Ability to Drive Safely in Snow for Sustained Periods of Time

I am proud to report that my first real snow driving experience, which occurred in a nasty snowstorm in Wyoming during the trek to Nebraska at the tail end of last winter, was a success.

The snowfall was such that I was unable to see the road. I drive a white car, which also happens to be low to the ground. On the plus side, I (accompanied by a child) was driving behind a very tall rental truck driven by my husband (accompanied by another child), and I was — fortunately — able to see the top two feet of the back of the truck’s cargo area.  I followed the roof of the truck until the rest of the world eventually reappeared and my sanity was restored.

I exaggerate. I was sane while driving. In fact, remaining calm in stressful driving situations is one of my specialties. I will, however, admit to a case of nervousness in the above situation. If I had been unable to see the truck roof, I would have been altogether uncertain whether to continue, or to simply stop in the middle of the white oblivion and hope that people (wearing appropriate footwear) would say nice things about my son and me at our funerals.

Again, I exaggerate. I think I would have continued to drive very slowly into the white oblivion, hoping to stay on the road I couldn’t see. I shouldn’t joke about snowy burials because my husband reads my blog and he won’t think it is funny. He worries, you know.

4. What People With Appropriate Footwear Will Say at Our Funerals

Just kidding, Honey.

5. The Location of My Camera Cord

I’m sure it will turn up somewhere, and then I can post digital photos again. In blog posts, for example.

6. Many Other Aspects of My Life

Life is always “to be determined”.

 

Advertisements

Big and Small

14 May

My life has undergone significant changes this year. So has my body. Most of my clothes are two sizes too big.

I can’t afford a new wardrobe. I was smaller and then I got bigger. I thought I would never be smaller again, so I got rid of my smaller clothes. Now I am smaller but I can’t get rid of my bigger clothes. This is a problem.

Who wants to hear someone complain about losing weight? Not very many people. Of this I am certain.

I am happy to have a more active lifestyle, which is cheaper than a gym membership and more effective.

I have stairs in my life. I have a job where I can’t sit down or stay in one place. I have laundry facilities outside the home. I don’t know where various things are at home, so I spend a fair amount of time walking in circles, looking around and inside and through and under and behind. I am using all of the prepositions I can think of.

Months after moving, we still have Mystery Boxes. If you have ever moved, you probably know exactly what Mystery Boxes are.

We also have a shortage of furniture. We left things behind. Big things. Things that held smaller things. Where do the smaller things go when they are no longer held by the bigger things? They go on the floor. I can’t afford to get new bigger things to hold the smaller things. This is a problem.

These problems are not big problems.

I have loose clothing. I need to step over things on the floor.

These problems are small.

Surprise! I Moved Halfway Across the Country

21 Jan

This week, my husband and I and our two children moved from the West Coast to the middle of the country. Goodbye California coastline, hello cows and corn!

We packed in one day.

We drove our two vehicle caravan through California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Nebraska for the next four days.

On the first day of driving, we made an unscheduled restroom stop at a gas station in the Truckee area. My husband climbed out of the 16 foot truck and noticed this:

This is NOT the way you want your tires to look when you are driving thousands of miles through freezing temperatures and mountain roads.

Unfortunately, the nearest roadside assistance was over an hour away.

However, our long delay actually turned out better than we could have expected.

"Where the Hell is Truckee?"

We were lucky, not only because we noticed the tire problem before we had a blowout on the road, but also because there was a restaurant next to the gas station. Donner Pass Pizza, owned and operated by a native of our home area, kept us warm and made us feel at home while we waited nearly two hours for our tire to be changed.

The owner's sports memorabilia. There was a 49ers game playing as we ate.

We enjoyed pizza, minestrone soup, sourdough bread sticks, and some of the most delicious homemade french fries I have ever tasted. I would have taken a photograph of the fries but they disappeared pretty quickly and I didn’t get nearly enough of them.

There was a pool table, which saved our children from getting too bored. We even saw some of our first snow there.

There may have been some cheating...

STAY OFF

Thank you, Donner Pass Pizza!

It Was the Best of Junk, It Was the Worst of Junk

25 Mar

I am feeling Less Than Organized this week.

Our move has now progressed to the stage known as settling in.  In other words, we are in, but not settled.  Which box holds my son’s orthodontic appliance?  Where are my sneakers?  These are mysteries to be solved.

I was so proud of my moving file, with my list of address changes all checked off.  Then I realized my car registration had expired because I misfiled the bill.

I have also discovered that my fabulous color coding stickers should have been confined to cardboard boxes, and should not have been used on art or furniture.  It turns out that they don’t peel off very well…even the television has a sticky paper residue.

Speaking of televisions, there seems to be one in every room now, although I have little desire to watch anything, aside from “What Not to Wear” which I can’t resist.  Previously we watched only DVDs and streaming Netflix.  Along with the other rather dubious benefits of digital cable (provided by our new housemate), I have been recently exposed to commercials for yet another television program about the topic of hoarding.  I won’t watch those programs because the hoarders are full of anxiety, fear, and sadness.  The programs are sad; before you know it, I am sad, too.

Surprisingly, there is a happy kind of hoarding.  At least, it may be said that some hoarders are happy.  The happy ones are generally called collectors, and they collect out of a sense of purpose or a favorite passion.

I read an interesting portrait of one such hoarder here: Hoarder of History | Find an Outlet.  This is a blog post about a man who has spent most of his life collecting old cars, and it features photographs of both the collection and the collector.

If you watch a program called “American Pickers”, you may learn about a few more happy hoarders.  This is a show about guys who drive around in a van looking for people with massive collections of funky old junk, like antique oil cans.  The drivers are business men, not hoarders.  The plan is to talk folks into selling some of their junk, so it can later be resold to other collectors at a profit.  Some of the rural collectors are real characters, and they love their junk.

Meanwhile, we have moved in with a family member who is not a minimalist at all. Don’t take that the wrong way; the house is lovely, and clean (or as clean as it can be considering the age, sex, and species of some of the inhabitants).  However, I have spent the past five days trying to figure out how to fit our life into a house that is already full of someone else’s life.  Six televisions, two refrigerators, four sofas…you get the idea.  I am happy to report that our leather sofa fit up the stairs, although the box spring for our bed did not.

My first approach in the kitchen has been to clean out drawers and cabinets, looking for items that can be removed, thus leaving potential open space for some of the items we want to integrate into the household.

Emptying one kitchen drawer turned out to be an especially interesting task.  This one was what most people call a “junk drawer”.

The bulk of the items.

Chewing gum, paintbrushes, seashells, fortune cookies, warranties, fake flowers…those things go together, right?

Selected items.

Money, frilly toothpicks, eye glasses, corncob holders, tape, vegetable storage bags, batteries…

Slivered almonds anyone?

Don’t let this happen to your kitchen drawers!

Lessons From a Life on the Move

2 Mar

I am approaching my tenth move in sixteen years.

Those are my own moves, rather than moves I have helped with, although there have been some of those as well.

What have I learned from all of this moving? I learned to expect to move again, no matter how contented I might feel in a given location. I learned to be prepared.

I realized that the next move was guaranteed to arrive sooner than I would like, and I learned that certain choices made while stationary would have both physical and economic consequences during that next move. I made my furniture choices accordingly.

My furniture purchases were based on how well a given item would fold, stack, disassemble or fit through a doorway, not to mention how easily the item could be lifted. I still have some folding and stacking oak shelves I purchased more than fifteen years ago, while other less manageable items have been left behind or given away. In some sad cases, awkward items were broken during a move. No wonder I became interested in minimalism!

Then, I became a wife and mother. I forgot some of the lessons I had learned in my life. I felt settled. I found a large (and still new-looking!) leather sofa at a secondhand store for $600. It just happened to match the almost-new leather chair and ottoman I had already brought home from another secondhand store for $150. It seemed like fate. I couldn’t resist.

Now, after just a few years, I am forced to consider how exactly we will fit that large leather sofa up the switch back staircase in our future destination…there is another side to fate, you see. You win some, you lose some. Hopefully we won’t need to lose the sofa. That would be a hard lesson.

Something else I learned from my moves is to start packing early. Moving is like going on a trip — one that lasts a very long time (although sometimes not as long as we hope). I never liked packing for trips. I always thought I might forget some crucial item, like pants. Pants are important. Restaurant signs used to say “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”, but of course, pants (or a reasonable substitute for pants) are also expected. In fact, I am certain that pants are more of a priority than either the shirt or the shoes, despite what the signs used to say. (These days, signs are more likely to say “No Cellphones”.) I have not actually forgotten my pants on any trip, but I worry about these things. I can be a little bit forgetful at times, which is why I try to organize things so deliberately. I need to compensate for my poor memory.

My stress level and my mood on the days before leaving on trips were enough to teach my husband a lesson. Now he encourages me to pack a few days early. Sometimes he even brings my suitcase out. It helps. The very first trip we took as a family had a rough beginning. Now that I think about it, the middle and the ending of that trip were kind of rough, too. It started with my husband and the three boys sitting in the car for the better part of an hour. They were waiting for me to meet them after I finished work, trying to be efficient in their readiness.

Unfortunately, lack of communication was a problem that day. I was hungry after work and stopped for something to eat, without knowing they were already sitting in the car. The four of them were hot, fidgety, and cranky from being strapped in a parked car for so long, and I was horrified to find them there when I arrived. We left too late in the day, hitting some heavy traffic on the journey. Further crankiness ensued. I have heard that you don’t really know people well until you have traveled with them. I think it might be true. Lessons were learned on that trip.

At least traffic won’t be an issue in this move, as we will only be a few miles away from our current home. I wanted to start packing boxes as soon as I knew we were moving, although I knew it was unlikely that we would be able to transport anything for another four to six weeks. Starting early is my own version of efficiency. Now the boxes are stacking up, getting in the way, making the place feel a touch claustrophobic…but it is better than the anxiety of packing in a rush. At least, to me it is better — I shouldn’t speak for my family. But really, who wants a stressed out wife or mother? No one. A few stubbed toes might be worth it.

I asked some friends for their own moving tips and I got a few good ones.

My advice would be to label the HECK out of every box. Add the date and ALL the contents… unless you plan on unpacking everything immediately (unlikely, right?). I actually listed all the contents of each box on at least two sides of the box – not only don’t you have to unpack a box to find something, you don’t have to unstack all the boxes to find the right box!  ~J.I.

To move hanging clothes, cover 10-20 items (still on hangers) in a large trash bag and tie the bottom closed.  ~J.L.

Dust everything before you pack it, and always ask yourself, “Shall I pack this or donate it?” I put all small miscellaneous breakables in socks. Socks work better than wrapping in paper.  ~J.F.

I especially like the tip about socks. I have also read that towels and T-shirts are good for packing dishes, and like the sock idea, this helps eliminate paper waste, and allows you two pack two items at once.

Here are some of my other favorite moving ideas:

  • Pack one room at a time.
  • Label boxes “Open First” if you know you will be needing the contents in the first days after arrival.
  • Load the moving truck according to the order in which the large items will be moved into the house.  In other words, the last things into the truck will be the first unloaded, so they should be the ones you want to place first.  Pieces destined for the back rooms of the house are likely candidates for the back of the truck.
  • Pack a suitcase with changes of clothing and toiletries as though you were taking a weekend trip.
  • Take pictures of the wire hook-ups for your electronics to make it easier to reconnect them, and label all cords, wrapping them to avoid tangling in the move.

I already have many of our cords labeled, and I plan to wrap them carefully. No one wants to open a box and release that tangled nest of mysterious black snakes, their threatening metal fangs extended, dripping with the toxic venom of potential frustration. I look forward to more wireless technology in the future.

In the meantime, I will settle for some organization, a positive attitude, and the hope that our leather sofa will make it up that switch back staircase.

(P.S. If you are moving soon, there are some great moving tips to be found at movers-edge.com — 101 Best Moving Tips)