Today, I filled up the back of the car and dropped off a load of donations at our charitable resale shop. Phew! That’s the last of it, I am sure.
Except I said that last week when I dropped off a batch of can’t find room for you stuff. And the week before that for items that didn’t make the cut. I am almost convinced that we have made as many trips to the resale shop here as we did in Lansing, before the move.
All of this has made me ponder the many phases of a move, whether it’s across town or across the country. Can you relate to any of them?
Excitement – Finally making the decision to move, we made our list of all the things we wanted in our new home. I made a spreadsheet so we when visited homes with our realtor, I could not only check off items, but rate them from 1 -5. I think we had seven absolutely-must-haves for the new house. We settled for two. And we’re still really excited.
Ambition – If you think the spreadsheet I drew up for the hunt was over-the-top (we threw it away after the third house), then you’d probably not be impressed with the color-coded, inventory control recordkeeping system I instituted for packing. Packing is work and takes ambition, including finding boxes and paper on the front end, and discarding them on the back end, and assigning colored dots to each box. But my system worked. Just trust me.
Exhaustion – Coordinating the move was exhausting, but nothing left me more tired in the morning than staying up late, spending countless hours looking at houses on Zillow. Those are hours I’ll never get back and, in the end, I’ll never trust Zillow, or any of the other home-search sites again. More than half the houses on our list (and it was extensive) were under contract. Let your realtor do the work for you.
Purging – If only there was a frequent donor card to my favorite thrift shops, I’d qualify for far more than a free night of lodging someplace. Purging is tough. We often hang on to items because of their sentimental value – vacations, special moments, family connections. Moving is not a time for sentimental sissies. I know this first hand. Do it anyway – before you move.
Dread – There was the dread of saying good-bye to friends, neighbors, my church and my pedicurist in Michigan. But even that didn’t top the dread when I discovered I packed seven casserole dishes. Seven? Apparently, I thought my new lifestyle would include daily potlucks. And then I unpacked big shirts made of flannel, and corduroy, and enough sweatshirts to warm a small island near the Arctic Circle.
Fear – Pulling up stakes and moving cross-country raised so much fear in me, I thought about submitting the concept as a new reality TV series. What would you rather do – eat a live cricket, or move 1900 miles, and wonder if you can find another movie group, or friends to play cards with, or a doctor you trust, or a bar where you can watch Spartan sports? I had far more fears about this move, even with my best friend riding shotgun, than I did going off to Japan by myself for three years. There’s a little lesson on aging and starting over in that for me, and the knowledge that most seniors are done auditioning friends. I read that someplace, and I think that’s true.
Discovery – Short-cuts to avoid the main traffic jams, savings from our solar panels, new restaurants, best times to go to the pool, when your favorite TV shows are on (if they’re on), hours of the library, and yes, Michael, my new hair guy. Discovering all of these things and so much more has made the first few weeks fly by, which has all led to the final phase of a successful move.
Contentment – I’ve lost count of how many days of “excessive heat warnings” we’ve had, and we continue to survive record heat including a daily low temp of 93, but truthfully, I couldn’t be more content. I am running the air conditioning like a mad woman (I’m convinced I’ll be better next summer) and we’ve not been able to enjoy our patio yet, but this has been the right move for us.
I hung artwork on the walls this week, refilled the hummingbird feeder today, I’m working on new pillows for the living room and tonight, I’ll fix a good dinner before we head to the pool. Last night, we had a major monsoon storm, and this morning, I pulled the first cactus barbs from my fingers. Ah, Arizona living.
After six weeks, this feels like home, and I can’t wait to see what the next six weeks bring. I just pray it doesn’t include anymore trips to the resale shop.