Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A moving experience 

I moved a fair bit as a kid, and I've kept up the habit as an adult. Fred and I have moved 7 times in 15 years, and we have gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Moving just gives us so many opportunities to strut our obsessive-compulsive stuff. We sort, discard, label, and organize, like one well-oiled Type-A moving machine.

It wasn't always like this though. The very first time we moved together was a few weeks after we got married, and it was just down the road to our new condo. It was, however, a miracle that the marriage lasted through that move.

There are 2 sides to every story, but this is my blog, so let me just say that he was quite a jerk that weekend. Nothing I did was right; any and all suggestions were met with silence and a withering glance. When we went to bed that night back at the old place, I--who had read somewhere that communication was the cornerstone of any good relationship--said [think of a quivering voice when you read this]: "I just want you to know that you really hurt my feelings today."

His response? "Sorry." (Oh, really? You don't sound sorry!) AND THEN HE ROLLED OVER AND WENT TO SLEEP! I went out into the living room and stewed into the wee small hours of the morning.

The next morning, I left Fred and his brother Frank to handle the remainder of the move, as my input was obviously not welcome. Instead, I sat in our empty living room watching a live broadcast from the Ft. Bragg Officers' Club. This was in the early days of Desert Shield, and the morning show was hooking up wives with their deployed husbands. They would flash some poor guy in desert camouflage up on the big screen and somewhere in the audience, a woman would go batshit: "Oh my god, that's Billy!" Then the host would run over to her, followed by the camera man, and all of America got to watch while this poor woman sobbed her eyes out. I cried right along with them because their husbands were gone and they missed them so much, and mine was home but he was such jerk.

Four years later when it was time for us to leave Fayetteville for Charlottesville, VA, I was determined that we would redeem ourselves by having the Best Move Ever. We opted to do a DITY (pronouned "ditty" and short for Do It Yourself), because the government would pay us something like 80% of what it would cost them to contract it out, and we were young and poor. I'm no biblical scholar, but if Job ever moved, I would imagine his experience was a cakewalk next to ours.

First of all, the Army toyed with reassigning Fred to Kansas instead of Virginia about 4 days before we were set to pick up our U-Haul. Then the U-Haul was too small, and we packed it twice trying to make everything fit. We caravaned to Charlottesville, Fred driving the U-Haul and towing my car; me and 2-year-old Michael driving Fred's pickup. The U-Haul ran out of gas about an hour outside of Charlottesville, and when we finally reached the new house, we found that the teenagers we had been counting on hiring to help Fred unload the truck were out of town. We did it all ourselves and made it through without a single argument. That move was the turning point, and ever since then we have moved quite well together.

I was very anxious about handling this one without my moving buddy, but I think it has gone rather well. Fred and I have found ways for him to help from a distance. For example, when I met the packers at his office this morning, I was armed with a Word document that Fred had put together using digital photos I sent him a couple weeks ago, and we were able to move methodically through the room, quickly distinguishing the packables from what was to stay.

This is the third day of the packout, and we have hit only one minor snag: The government furniture people tried to deliver our short-term furniture at about 10 o'clock this morning. Didn't matter to them that the rooms were still full of boxes waiting to go on the truck. They were perfectly willing to leave it all in the yard for me to deal with later. I don't frickin' THINK so! I called the lady at Transportation who convinced them to change their minds, and they went away for a while. They're back now though and currently setting up the beds in my deliciously empty, freshly vacuumed bedrooms.

I'm glad that I decided to be brave and handle the move on my own. We will be able to kick back and relax and enjoy Fred's first days at home instead of going into manic moving mode. It's not like he's missed out on all the fun anyway; in a couple of months we get to unpack it all into our new house, which looks like this:

(Anytime I start to feel sad about leaving Germany, I look at that picture and feel a little bit better.)

I say you make some frozen adult beverages with umbrellas and kick back during the unpacking. I think you did your half at this end. Unless you enjoy unpacking.
Well, in fairness to Fred, he did the bulk of the unpacking when we got to Germany. The good thing is, once we get there he will probably be unable to sleep past about 4 a.m. and so he will get up and unpack. That has been his habit in the past. I get up around 9, and he's all, "Oh, I unpacked the china cabinet."
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