The Move: Gaining A New Lease on Life

Change brings opportunity.

Three weeks. Two teams of movers. About 40 cups of Starbucks coffee (ok, so that’s not so different). No broken furniture. Lots of “I wondered where that was”. And many more “I can’t believe I still have this”. Three miles and 8 minutes later, I’m home.

I mean my new home. A (relatively) downsized abode, for me and kids to start our New Normal. It just made sense, really. A chance to start afresh with new memories, new experiences. Still close enough to friends and family to say we are still here, but just enough distance and newness to be excited about what’s next.

So sitting here on my new patio, looking out on a beautiful lawn and watching the sunset, I’ve decided to share a few of the things that came to mind through this process.

When it comes to moving I have no idea what I am doing. Seriously. As an Army brat and later as a business professional I’ve been fortunate not only to have the services of moving companies, for most moves I wasn’t even home – I would leave the house, catch a plane somewhere, and come back to a new house with everything in place. Fortunate for me, my family knows I am totally clueless, coming to my rescue and realized what I thought was “small stuff” would take about 25 moving boxes, not 3 or 4 trips in the back of my car.

Naked, my house was a filthy pit. As clean as you may think your house is, take away the furnishings, and you’ll want to call in the hazmat team. I/we stopped using a maid service a few years back (“there are 3 able-bodied kids here for this!”), but thought I did a pretty good job with the basics (vacuuming, dishes, bathrooms) and the not-so (oven cleaning, moping, baseboards). Still, I was horrified to see just how much dust and grime lived just outside of view. It’s a secret me and the movers will carry to our graves.

When space is at a premium, sentimental value means nothing. That’s a little harsh, but we’ve all gone through this. Just how many sheets half drawn Disney characters do you need to migrate to freshly painted walls and polished refrigerator doors? And don’t get me started on the number of dolls I found – apparently at some point we bought Barbie’s Harem Playhouse, what with the dozen or so plastic vixens lying about. Somewhere Ken is smiling on his good fortune.  I’m no better, with dozens of technical books, backpacks, conference swag that just hung around because I had the space. I instituted a two-step process: 1) if it had some glimmer of hope, it would go to the garage of the new house, and 2) there, it would sit for a period of no more than 30 days while I determine its faith. Wish me luck – my car hates sitting outside.

I buy a lot of ketchup. Am I a hoarder? Who doesn’t like ketchup right? Granted, we go through a bottle a month, but I have so much canned goods, a chest freezer, etc. that I’m putting a moratorium on grocery shopping for anything beyond the basics like eggs, milk, and bread until my pantry no longer looks like I’m a doomsday prepper.

God Bless Craigslist. In the course of a week I sold a washer, dryer, refrigerator AND bought a china cabinet! I also made several new friends who apparently like calling me in the middle of the night to ask what I’m wearing. Score!

The infiniteness of basements. Like pits, Hell, and the Chicago Cubs, all bad things seem to be below us. And an unfinished basement is like that deep dark hole you drop things in and….  The conversation with the movers would go like this:

Me: “so is there anything left?”

Movers: “yes, we still have the basement”

Me: “still?”

Movers: “yeah, there’s a lot of stuff down there”

Me: “but it’s been 2 days?!”

Movers: “{sigh} you have a very big basement Mr. Ross”

Me: “how much more is there?”

[Movers chuckle and walk away]

Little Caeser’s Pizza to the rescue. Say what you want, I’m not a pizza snob. And when you’ve shelled out $$$$ already, ain’t no shame in walking in with a Jackson and walking out with 4 pizzas to put a little pep in the step of everyone helping out.

You always remember your first. Neighbor. Bill (or is it Bob? j/k) introduced himself the first day, and we’ve had a couple of conversations since. Makes you feel a little less alone, you know? Not saying we’ll become best buddies, but we share a common fence and that’s not a bad way to start.

Apparently I like to cook? I have found so much bakeware, kitchen tools and gadgets from Pampered Chef, Wiltons, Michaels, Tupperware, I don’t think the Food Network Kitchen has anything on me.

Who decided to have carpeting, recessed lighting, and tile work done while moving in? File this under “Chris has no idea what he’s doing” and take a moment to laugh at the ridiculousness of my puzzlement at where all this dust came from and why its tracking over my hardwood floors and carpet. I need a new vacuum cleaner 🙁

But as I stated at the beginning, everything has worked out a-ok. The kids love their new house, their rooms, and the chance to make more friends. I’m looking forward to new memories, decorating, and enjoying the local park. It will be a while before everything is in its place, but at least we’re able to sleep in our beds, make meals, and (most importantly) watch TV and get on the internet. Life continues to be blessed. God didn’t need a change of address.