The Ol’ Switcheroo!
There’s no two ways about it….moving sucks. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard them all. “It’s a great opportunity to purge and clean” or “It’s a fresh start”. I don’t mean to complain, we are very blessed. We are being given a tremendous gift to live in the same house my Grandparents made our family gathering spot 45 years ago. Our kids will be the 4th generation to call it home. We couldn’t be happier or more grateful.
However, it is now clear to me that moving 25 yards is much more of a logistical challenge than moving 2500 miles. Add to that actually switching houses, meaning moving everything from two homes into the other at the same time, and you start to feel our pain. Here is how it came to be…
My mom decided that she wanted to downsize. She has a wonderful boyfriend (sorry, I’m supposed to call him “life partner”) and they both love to travel. After years of spending the majority of her waking hours taking care of everyone but herself, she is finally living life the way it should be lived. In fact, Super Sally and her life partner Jay are currently in the middle of a 3-week jaunt to Sicily and Italy. She is giddy every time I talk to her. We are truly thrilled for her.
Once the decision to switch houses had been made, Laura and I made the decision to make the move while she was gone. And yes, she knows she’s moving. While I’m sure the giddiness I sense from her is partly from being in Italy, I’m pretty sure that a large portion is from the fact that she doesn’t have to be here for the move.
And so we pack. Empty the big garage, then fill it with our stuff. Pack the big house and move it to the little garage. Move all our stuff into the big house. Move all Mom and Aunt Terry’s stuff into the little house. Sounds simple, right?
The problem is that everyone except Super Sally still lives here. Our poor Aunt Terry has been tossed into a whirlwind of boxes and painters and excessive chaos. She’s handling it like a champ by the way. The real hero in all this is my incredible wife. Laura has pretty much packed both houses. She packs it, I move it. Don’t get me wrong, we have had and will have lots of help. But she is the one making sure everything arrives at the other end of the pathway safe and sound.
There have been some cool spots along the way. It is always fun pulling stuff out of storage and reminiscing. And throwing stuff away makes me happy. At the core of it we are moving 4 generations of stuff around. There is solid Rosewood furniture my grandparents bought in China in the ‘80s. And when I say solid, the coffee table weighs more than my first car. There is the drawings Mom has kept from when the kids were just toddlers.
The one that really stopped me in my tracks was finding one of my grandmothers return address labels in the back of a drawer. You know, the kind we used to put on an envelope? Kids, an envelope is something we used to put a letter in, lick the glue on the flap so it would stay shut, put a $0.22 stamp on it (bitching all the way about how expensive it was getting to be able to hand a person an envelope and have it delivered just about anywhere in the world for less than a quarter)….ahhh, never mind. As usual, I digress.
The point is that there are a lot of memories being moved. At its core, moving is a good shake up of our day to day existence. Yes, it is a pain in the butt. Yes, it will test the very foundation of your relationships. And yes, something valuable will get broken or lost. If it’s you that breaks something I suggest immediately losing it also. But, at the end of the day, it is also a great life lesson of patience, stress management and remembering what’s important. I think my grandparents would be happy knowing that their great-grandchildren will live in the home that they built for us all. And someday, 30 years down the road, I hope our kids do the same thing and move into this very special building. When that happens, you can be damn sure that Laura and I will be in Italy.