Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 27-May 30 - The weekend of the move from heck

"Where are the kids?"
-Doug, Saturday upon realizing they weren't up in our grill the whole day because they were in their own rooms...

Due to lack of internet connectivity for the entire weekend, I present to you May 27-May 30.


May 27, 2006, 11:00pm
The 48 hours I just lived through, I would honestly like to take back.

I want a do-over. I want to do things better, and do them right. I want to be more of a shrieking Cassandra at my daughter and husband. I want to just make the past two days, past few weeks even, totally different.

We left the house in kind of a wreck, more than kind of. Sad but true. Embarrassingly so.

There was more junk in the basement than we realized, and more stuff that we were just throwing out as we went along. Stuff that we should have gone through weeks ago. Stuff that I should have forced Doug and Jess to deal with. Stuff I should have dealt with too.

While we were supposed to be unloading a U-haul, we were still cleaning and packing, and it turned into a major, ugly, production.

Yes, we should have planned better. We really needed the entire weekend, not just Friday morning until noon to get out of the house. I should have negotiated that we'd have until the 31st to be cleaned out. Things would have been much better then. I doubt though that neighbor cousin would have even considered that.

The neighbor cousin was understandably rather upset with us for not having cleaned up as well as we should have.

But if you tell me you are going to "gut the place" why should I scrub the toilet and tub upon leaving? Really. What difference does it make in the end.

The basement? Yes. The carpet smelling like a dog? No.

So, Doug went up this morning and "made it right" by giving him some cash in the end (far, far too much in my opinion) and we're done.

We're done -- it's over, we're out of there. We're in here, and already it is so much more organized and easy to deal with that I can't believe I lived in that other house as long as I did.

Even though I'd like that do-over, I can't really believe how much happier I am already.

The truck had to be returned to U-Haul by 7am this morning. We lost all of our help on Friday around 5pm. Jess' friend Lizzy showed up and helped us unload the truck in the pouring rain. POURING effin' rain.

I ran to the hardware store at 6pm and got the last three of their 17 x 20 tarps. We unloaded the truck onto the lawn. We covered all our belongings and prayed that our little town didn't have people living in it that would untarp and take all of our stuff. Anything valuable came inside. What sat out there was large furniture, books, books, books, bags of clothing, more books. All our kitchen stuff. More books.

I think if Lizzy hadn't come by to help, we wouldn't have been able to finish the job. Thank God for Lizzy and for all of the other little blessings and tiny miracles that I have probably overlooked.

Our mattress ended up in the livingroom, and we didn't even attempt to bring it up the stairs. We crashed hard and landed on the bed after the children were in their own beds. We both quickly realized that while we were dying to fall asleep, neither of us were able. The bodies were immobile, but the brains kept spinning.

At about 10pm he whispers "Do you want to take the truck back now? It has to be back by 7am, and that way we won't have to get up at 6 to do so."

Sure. Why not. I managed to lift my unbelievably pained body up out of the bed, found a pair of Jess' flip flops and some dorm pants, and got ready to get out the door.

We woke Jess up to tell her that we were leaving, just in case she or her brother woke up and found us missing I didn't want either of them to freak.

I followed Doug up to drop the truck off. We were back in the house by 11, in bed again by midnight, and I fell asleep around 2am.

Jack went nuts at 4am and started barking at everything. I guess Jess got up to go to the bathroom, and he just wasn't used to any noises or activity like that over his head. He finally settled down after pacing and panting in my face, and then Geoff was up at 5:50 looking for breakfast.


I took him to the donut store, got coffee and a dozen fresh-out-of-the-oven baked treats, and we went home to contemplate our next move.

I had my major melt down shortly thereafter. As if you didn't see it coming.

I blew up at Doug, probably for the first time in many, many years. I really let my feelings out, let him know that I was so unhappy with the fact that he spent a few days reading papers he'd written in 1987 instead of throwing stuff out or taking trips to the dump or whatever... the planning ahead factor for both my daughter and husband didn't exist.

And it proved to overwhelm me in the end.

I knew he was overwhelmed and surprised too, I knew this hit him hard and broadsided him and made him so realize how not prepared he really was, and he was very sorry. I felt badly for blowing up at him, and apologized, and he held me around the shoulders and told me that it's over, it's done, we're here and...

Now we get on with the next chapter in our lives.

Many lessons have been learned these past few days.

First of all, I am never moving again.
Second, if for any reason I ever HAVE to move again, I will hire a company.
Third, Carrie is the greatest.
Fourth, if you need help with anything, putting an ad up at Gordon College really pays off. They have an online job posting board, so kids all over the place check the jobs and were willing to come from as far away as Boston or Concord NH to help us out. We ended up with two kids... and they were astounding, helpful, mind-blowingly awesome, and I love them both dearly. So if you live in Greater Boston and you need help with something... they're checking the board for jobs. I can tell you that.
Fifth, if you think you are all set with two kids from a college, you're not. Hire Ten. You need ten. Not two.
Sixth, my daughter has some really kick-ass friends. Lizzy and Kayla especially. Thank you girls.
Seventh, my friends Mr. and Mrs. Kayla's Mom and Dad rule just as much as Carrie. Suzanne came and stood over me and yelled at me to throw things out that we will never ever ever need again. She gave me her laundry baskets to use for unloading the fridge... that was awesome. Gerry came over this morning and helped Doug move all the boxes and bureaus and bookcases into the house. My back hurts so badly that I can't lift anything up a flight of stairs that is any heavier than a bottle of beer, so having him here was such a blessing.
Eighth, always know where your razor is packed so you can shave your legs. Similarly, always know where the coffee and coffeemaker are packed. Similarly, know which box you put your son's breakfast cereal in (you planned well -- you put the box of cereal in with a bowl and a spoon. You really did -- you knew he'd be hungry and be up at 5:50... so you planned ahead) and know where it is (the garage is not a good place for that item. No. It is not. Make sure it makes it into the kitchen and is sitting there labeled "Geoff's Cereal and bowl and spoon. Open, combine, add milk.").
Ninth, no matter how nice you are to someone sometimes they can turn out to be kind of super shitty in the end. And to be honest, throwing money at them to tell them to shut the hell up is the best option. Even if it is more money than you ever thought the person deserved, just do it and get on with your life.

So Doug and I totally agreed that this entire experience of moving sucked long and hard, that we're never moving again (see point 1) and if we do, see point 2 above.

Free advice for you kids -- when the Comcast guy is here, and he hooks up your cable TV and internet, do NOT let him leave until after you've hooked up the PC and tested it.

At 1pm on Friday, the Comcast guy came and hooked up the service. We put a splitter on the line for the TV to get a feed and for the modem to get a feed. The computer was sitting here, I had just brought everything over with me from the old house. We hit the hookup on the TV and fired it up and everything worked.

Mr. Comcast says... "Well, looks like you're juiced and all set. Plug in your PC and you should be running just fine."

Big Fat Liar.

I didn't get around to plugging in the PC until very late on Saturday night due to all the work we had been doing.

I know... where are my priorities.

So I got everything set up, plugged in, and there was no Internet Nothing. Tech support was helpful, confirmed I'd hooked everything up just right... so there has to be a problem on the pole.

Lesson learned. Next time dude says "you're all set" and goes to leave, you be sure to say, "Um, No. Not until I put everything together and test it. Would you like an iced tea while I find my cables and monitor? Have a seat."

Someone is coming on Tuesday afternoon between 1 and 3pm to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Jerks.

Sunday May 28, 2006, 10:00am
Sunday morning, I'm sick and tired of boxes, tape, and unpacking, I thought I'd take a second to mind dump again.

The thing that amazes me the most is that I haven't blown up at Jessica. I want to. I really do. A lot of our unpreparedness comes from her unpreparedness, and how her room was in such a state when it came time to leave that it monkeywrenched everything.

I told her that NOTHING goes in a closet here for "saving." If she doesn't need it, or if she needs ME to evaluate it to see if it is a keeper, I will.

I am a sentimental person, and sometimes I keep peculiar mementos of life. But...

The morning of the move she was throwing out books of poetry and art she'd done in Elementary School (she knows I keep all this) but she kept the one Garfield Slipper that she had from when she was like six. The mate is long gone.




Doug busted her on the thrown out school work, and I busted her on the slipper.

I said to her "Why didn't you throw this out? Why are we moving this to the new house in a moving truck?"

"I couldn't throw it out. It would be wasteful."

No -- it would be wasteful to throw it out if you had a mate for it and we knew of a little girl or boy who NEEDED a cozy pair of Garfield Slippers. This is not wasteful. Throw the shit out!

She is UNREAL. The stuff she saves -- she puts her dad to shame. Totally. And I'm going to go through that room when she is done and I'm throwing everything out. Gone. One thing at a time over the course of the next year... and she'll never ever notice.

Ha. (I know she's reading this too. so. --shakes fist at girl).

As for Geoff, he made my life easy. Bet you never ever thought I'd say those words. Let it soak in. Let that phrase wash over you. It amazes me to this moment.

Geoff. Made. My. Life. Easy.

Because of his learning disability, because of his anxiety surrounding change, I started working with him on this whole process back in February. He threw out a whole bunch of stuff. Gave away a whole bunch of "baby toys" that he will never need again. I gave him ownership of his own packing. Even if he put only ONE thing in EACH box, he had control over the situation and he did it satisfactorily.

Before he'd close a box, he'd ask me to look in and make sure it was full enough. And then I'd let him tape it, even if he used 90 pieces of tape. It was his. He did it -- done.

He and I boxed up all his books pretty much immediately. He put one truck in each box and taped them shut so in the end he had 10,000 boxes but all his stuff was fully packed, except for laundry and some stray toys on the floor that Carrie (see point 3 above) threw into trash bags and set aside for him the night before we moved.

He was done, ready to move, ready to go. And he really was the only one.

Yesterday morning we sat on his bed and unpacked. We went through some of his stuff and I asked him "Do you REALLY need this?" And he would evaluate it, and say yes or no... or, "Why don't I think about this one for the summer, and if I don't use it by the end of the summer it's gone."

I love my son.

Monday May 29, 2006, 5:15pm
I feel badly for people who have to work on a holiday. So I was sure to thank the employees of Demoula's Market Basket profusely when I went there this morning. Yes, it sucks to work on the holiday but dude -- thank you for being here.

No one really cared that I was thanking them... but I personally felt they deserved it. Especially because it meant that we could eat something other than Wendy's today.

Yesterday my neighbor Nancy came over and helped me clean the kitchen thoroughly. What a blessing -- the place was a filthy because I don't think the former owner ever used his kitchen at all.

So we scrubbed the cabinets, and I bet they could use a scrubbing again or a layer of contact paper. I don't have time nor patience for that noise though. The scrubbing made a world of difference.

We unpacked everything and I'm amazed beyond belief at the amount of stuff I had in the smaller house in the smaller kitchen. No wonder I never could find anything -- it was always buried in the back of a cabinet or closet. Now, everything is easily found. I'm so psyched.

For the first time in 15 (almost) years of marriage I have china in a china cabinet. Doug's dad passed us on some Noritake that he got in the 60s, and now it is all arranged beautifully in a cabinet. Where it belongs. Not in a box at the base of a closet.

I'm actually pretty psyched about that one little fact. I feel like a grown up now.

By the time we were finished cleaning the kitchen and unpacking the boxes, the market was closed. So the ready-to-be-stocked cabinets had to stay empty for another few hours and we got takeout, again.

This morning, I went to the market and for the first time in my life I bought dishwasher stuff.

Dude, I have a dishwasher. And it rocks.

I washed our first load of dishes, and while they were washing I unloaded our cookbooks and books about cooking for our bookcase IN THE KITCHEN (hot damn yes baby). And it was a productive hour of my life -- not one that I spent washing the dishes.

Now to get someone else to unload it.

The only things left to do really are:

-Find my car keys. Yes, Abbey, I did pack them. Actually, it wasn't me. They were on top of the dog kennel in the living room one minute, and then Doug broke down the dog kennel and ... well, he has no idea where they are. So. They have GOT to be somewhere. It is just a matter of figuring out where. In the meantime, I have his set of truck keys... and I have to find the keys to give neighbor cousin the one key I have to the house. Lovely.

-Get our bureaus and mattress/boxspring up onto the second floor. Those are all still in the "pink" sitting room. We're actually going to hire someone to do that. We tried to move them. We can't.

-Write thank you notes to everyone who helped. And buy gifts. Lots of gifts.

-Finish unpacking boxes.

-Get a hugely awesome comfy couch for the front room where the first TV is going. A huge couch and loveseat. NO SECTIONALS. No. Never again.

-Get a couple of wicked huge comfy chairs for the pink room and a table to go between them.

-Get more bookcases. Nice ones. I want the pink room to be the cool library with a big fishtank and to be just a quiet little place to sit and read and talk.

-Sweep and mop/scrub the floors. The wood floors are dirty -- and so are our feet. Our bathroom floor is a mess whenever anyone goes in there barefoot or gets out of the shower. It's annoying me.

-Set up the futon in this room (the "office") so we have an extra place to plop down.

-Trip to the dump. All those box runs we made, all of the boxes that we got, are all just carcasses now. In my driveway. They must be removed.

-Buy speakers for the flat screen TV that has been standing in the corner of our livingroom since Christmas.

-Find clothes to wear to work tomorrow. I have several dozen huge black bags of stuff from our room. Initially our plan was to pull the bureau drawers out and ride them up here in the car. Well. Our bureau drawers do NOT come out of the bureau. At. All. So on Friday when I should have been doing something else I was cramming clothes into black bags with my girl Julie (I love you Julie!) just to get them out so Doug and Leon (I love you Leon!) could get the bureaus into the truck. So somewhere in the 900 plastic bags are a pair of khaki pants and a purple golf shirt that will make me very happy tomorrow.

So much to do.

Tuesday May 30, 2006, 9:00am
I did find clothes to wear to work. Huzzah.

I am home, waiting for DirectTV to come hook us up. TV. Teacher, mother, secret lover (quote then cite: Homer Simpson).

Yesterday we made a lot of progress. Doug went to Home Despot and got a whole ton of stuff to kill the carpenter bees in the garage. Man, they were everywhere! We knew coming in that they were there, the home inspector showed me the damage and let me know that by the time we moved in they'd be busy as, well, bees. He was totally right.

We were ready to call an exterminator and Mr. Kayla's Dad recommended some stuff to do it ourselves. It worked, but it probably will require a yearly dose until we replace the wood in the garage with treated/painted wood that they won't eat. That'll come later.

What else -- we had a barbecue last night, and really relaxed and started talking about yard and garden. There is a lovely perennial garden here, and I think that as time goes by over the summer many different things will reveal themselves to us. Next year we'll know exactly where everything is.

Our old neighbors came over yesterday to visit. She had been dying to see the house, and I wanted him to see the house because I wanted to talk chimney repointing and possible reopening of the upstairs fireplace in our bedroom, and the fireplaces on the first floor. They had fun touring the house, and he as an expert mason went through things with Doug and talked about what should be done sooner than later, and what could wait.

My husband has done more helpful things in the last 2 days than I think he's done in the last four years. I'm not sure, but maybe I should melt down more often.

I have to make a trip to the dump today to ditch all the garbage and box carcasses. And later today after Comcast arrives to fix this Internet situation I get to go to my office. Believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to getting back to work. The relative peace of the office will be a welcome change.

Anyway -- I guess this entry has gone on long enough... if you've made it to this point, I'm proud of you. Here's a cookie.

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