Moving On

Our Mercury Zephyr station wagon was loaded up and waiting. My Dad put the car in reverse and backed slowly out of the driveway onto Columbus Drive using his side mirrors to see since boxes and luggage obstructed his rear view. By the time we drove past Pinta Court the occupants of his vehicle were wailing in harmony. Assurances of “We’ll be back before you know it”, and “You’ll love your new home in Virginia” fell on deaf ears.

“Back before you know it” turned out to be a seven year adventure and we had similarly sad good-byes with the friends we had made in Virginia when we headed back to Middleton.

I am pretty sure nearly everyone can relate to this phenomenon on some level as, according to the US Census, the average person moves 11.7 times throughout their lives.

Moves are often milestones and we talk about the time before and after them in ways that are significant.

Moves can be exciting like when you get your “first place” as an adult and/or sign a lease with a group of friends.

If you are fortunate enough to purchase a house the first time you unlock the door and walk in you will likely experience the euphoria of ownership, which typically lasts at least until the first of 360 mortgage payments is due.

Some moves are sad like when a job sends you somewhere you would rather not go, a relationship ends and you go your separate ways, you find yourself needed/wanting to move back home to get back on your feet, or a health condition leads you to shut your door for the final time.

We just moved, and this one was bittersweet. We designed and built our most recent home 10 years ago to meet the needs of our immediate and extended families. And the house did a great job on all fronts.

But times are changing and our needs with them. Our kids’ educational pursuits are leading them out of the state and suddenly our home feels a lot bigger and as Gandalf said to a certain hobbit at the end of the Lord of the Rings, “It is time Frodo.”

But no matter what is behind a move there is one universal truth that can be said about the act of moving. Drum roll please. It’s kind of a pain.

Ever since HGTV came along every house that is for sale has to be “staged”. Staging means removing all the stuff that you enjoy like personal photos, your bugs under glass collection, that old comfortable dilapidated chair and pretending that you instead live in Pottery Barn or that Martha Stewart has moved in.

For us staging meant moving personal belongings and years of clutter accumulation to a rented storage facility. And storage facilities are a story unto themselves (stay tuned). You can see a lot of things at a storage facility if you pay attention.

Then there is the “honey-do” list that somehow managed to avoid getting “honey-done”. Those items are put on the fast track and before you know it you have a house that is nicer than it has ever been and you aren’t so sure you want to move anymore.

Then of course is the home sale and all that goes with that. I have to admit we were fortunate there and quickly found buyers for our home. That said there are always a few speed bumps along the way and Murphy from Murphy’s Law seems to spend much of his free time harassing home buyers and sellers.

But the real fun comes when it is time to get everything out. Some folks hire movers to get them from point A to B. I call these folks the fortunate and smart ones. Others do most of the moving themselves but hire professional for the heavier items. I would call these the pragmatic ones. Then there are the folks who beg their teenage kids and their kids’ friends to help them move. I would call these the desperate ones or “us”.

We knew our kids and their friends were close to broke and could use some extra money and we knew we were cheap so it seemed like a perfect match. And to some extent it was. But in the words of Roger Murtaugh in the movie Lethal Weapon, “I’m getting too old for this $&*#!!”, and next time we are hiring professionals. On to the next adventure!

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