Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life is Like a Box of Stuff I Packed in a Hurry

You never know what you're going to get.

So the big move is in fourteen days.  Two Saturdays from today, the car will be crammed full of Ethan, the cats, Husband, me and whatever didn't make it into one of the 100+ boxes that were left in our garage after last year's move.  And Los Angeles will be getting farther and farther away in our rearview mirror.  

I started packing about a week ago.  I didn't pack for the move from Virginia to LA.   As a "I'll go along with this, but I won't be happy about it" statement, I, shall we say, strongly encouraged Husband to go on ahead and retain the service of packers as well as movers for the relocation.  I wanted to spend every last second I could with my friends in Virginia and while it was a totally spoiled-brat move on my part, I don't regret it.  When the packers walked in the front door, Ethan and I walked out the back door and went to play group--I can't regret giving Ethan every opportunity to play with the kids who had been his best friends for the past 1.5 years.  

Things are different now, though.  I've made friends here, no doubt.  As has Ethan.  All of whom we will miss something fierce when we pull out of the driveway a couple of Saturdays from now and drive off into the proverbial sunset.  But Ethan's in school now--that's where most of his friends are.  That time he's in school will give me more than enough time to pack and clean without worrying that I'm taking valuable bond-with-friends-before-it's-too-late time from him.    Ethan can bask in the pure bliss that is preschool--running around outside until his hair is sweat-soaked and he's red enough in the cheeks to need ice-packs, dressing up like a fireman, grappling with the other boys for the Thomas train and gluing, painting and playing hide & seek--while I leisurely build, fill, and tape shut box after box after box.  

I'm not stranger to packing.  From the time I left my childhood home to attend college until this house in Los Angeles, between houses, dorms and apartments, I've lived in twenty-one places.  Oh yeah, that's what I said.  Twenty-one.  So whether it was throwing cassette tapes in a milk-crate and a bunch of clothes into a trash bag, or carefully bubble-wrapping blenders and the fancy china, I've done it.  This isn't rocket science for me, or really even drudgery.  I kind of like figuring out how to make things fit in the box, re-arranging them until they are just right.  I like labeling boxes and feel like I've accomplished something if I only have to write something like "blankets" on the outside of a box.  Neat, simple, clear--this is what's in this box.  That's it--just blankets.  No surprises or odd junk you didn't know what to do with. 

Because what I hate about packing is those last few boxes.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  The ones where you throw everything that didn't seem to have a home or didn't fit neatly into any of the boxes you packed earlier.  The knick-knack someone brought you from their vacation that has never quite found a home in your decor, but that you can't get rid of.  The mail from the last week.  A book.  A screwdriver.  Three matchbox cars you found under the couch after the movers took it.  A cable wire that goes to...something.  Maybe. 

I hate all that crap.  But I can't seem to get rid of it because, you know, it could be important.  When I joked that I still had unpacked boxes in my garage from the last move, most people said, "Oh, how great! Just throw them out! Whatever is in there, you don't need it!"   And while it's absolutely true that I don't use my grandmother's high school diploma and awards on a daily basis (or on any basis, really), I can't bring myself to just throw them away, either.   Granted, I doubt that cable will ever reveal itself to be something as significant as a piece of history like my grandmother's diploma; but Husband might come to me someday and ask, "where is that cable?  You know?  The one that is totally irreplaceable and that we need to make everything in the house work?  Do you know where that cable is?"   And won't I feel like an ass if I've thrown it away?!  

So I know there'll be at least one of those boxes that drives me to drink as I throw stuff in it, and makes me scratch my head in wonder when it is time to write the label.   

love the dueling tails as the cats check out the view from the top of the up-ended guestroom mattress.

Echo, do you remember how we got up here?

ever so many boxes...

He'd like you to think he packed this himself.  He did no such thing.  

Look at all those little purple labels with the contents so neatly printed on them?  I'm guessing that will last for another 4-5 days before I start throwing things into boxes randomly and shoving bubble wrap on top, just in case. 


cicadalady said...

so funny because i actually just took a break from unpacking one of those really-annoying-packed-with-random-stuff boxes to read your blog post! can so relate...

Anonymous said...

This is amazing...after your earlier post about packing more boxes, I was going to ask you for a picture...some weird telepathy, maybe?

Uncle Al

Kayla said...

Oh how I hate those boxes o' crap. We just went through a bunch of those last week that have been sitting around for almost 3 years.

CANDICE said...

Love the title Sarah

Sarah said...

I hate those boxes, too-- they destroy my sense of order because they defy a label. And we still have a few boxes of cords, staplers, and unidentified documents in our basement storage area that we will never unpack and will probably move to our next house.

LOVE the cat pictures.

Sarah said...

Also, we moved here in March of 07 so there's really no excuse for unpacked boxes.

AJU5's Mom said...

My problem is a lot of those random things are things I do want out quickly, but then I can't figure out which box I stuffed them in! I use them as fillers for other boxes, and forget which box they are fillers for. It was so "fun" to finally empty all of our boxes back in May/June after having packed them over a year before!