One last observation about moving: it sucks almost by definition. You’re putting all of your stuff — that overwhelming, ridiculous, crippling mass of used material goods that we inevitably accumulate and that follows us around during our lives — into boxes and bags and trucks, taking it to a pristine location, and then taking it out of the trucks and boxes and bags all over again. It’s a lot of work, and it also makes you ask a central, challenging question: what is all this stuff, and why in the world do I have it in the first place?
When you find a moving company that actually seems to care about your stuff — treating it with care, rather than the brisk, get-it-over-with-as-quickly-as-possible contempt for your possessions, walls, and door frames that seems to be the order of business for many moving companies — it’s a pleasant surprise that deserves a pat on the back.
Let me therefore commend the Herlihy Moving & Storage Company of Columbus, Ohio. They packed us up, stored our earthly goods while we were in the rental, and then came to move us into the new place on a cold day with checklist efficiency and professionalism. One of the movers, Michael, was personally involved in both packing us up and moving us back in, and he showed an amazing aptitude for recalling where things were in our old house that made our placement decisions in our new house in much easier, It was the kind of human touch that often is missing in the cold world of modern business. (Plus, I appreciated that he complimented me on my old-school choice of Adidas sneakers.)
Kudos to the Herlihy Moving and Storage Company and their friendly staffers, and thanks.
We’ve got a good game plan and a pretty solid understanding of which pieces of furniture should go where, but the gods always throw you a few curve balls to keep you on your toes. For one, it’s a brisk 7 degrees outside right now, which means that, with movers trudging in and out through open doors, our new house will be akin to a meat locker for the day. Bundle up and brace yourself!
For another, our sensitive dogs have gleaned that something is up. For Penny, this realization — like any realization she has ever had in her life, frankly — has just stimulated her ever-voracious appetite. For Kasey. it’s an apparent cause of her decision to barf on the floor. It’s a welcome surprise to start what is likely to be a stressful day. Who knows how this Mutt and Jeff canine pair will react to being introduced to a new home, and what happy gastrointestinal events might greet us tomorrow morning?
For now, we’re up, guzzling cup after cup of coffee, packing up our stuff in the rental, and gearing up for a big day.
Tomorrow Kish and I move into our new house in German Village. It’s an exciting time for us, as we leave behind our transitional rental place and settle into our own home.
Part of the attraction of this move is the thrill of the new. For a while, at least, nothing about our home life will be routine — not the path to the bathroom in the morning, not using the stove to prepare meals, not the view out the back window while drinking coffee in the morning. For days to come we’ll be adding and repositioning furniture, unloading boxes, and figuring out what should go where, and because there is still some work to be done on electrical fixtures, closet doors, and kitchen cabinets, the house itself will be changing around us, too.
Of course, there’s something intrinsically exciting about change. As Americans, we tend to crave it. Part of that process always seems to involve getting tired of the old, and we’re feeling that as well. We’ve appreciated having a rental where we could camp out for two months, but as Moving Day has drawn closer we’re chomping at the bit to move on.
Eventually we’ll settle in to our new home, there will no longer be a sense of newness in every little experience, and novelty will transform into comfort. That’s in the future, though. For now, we’re on the cusp of the new, and we’re happy and excited about it.
When you live in temporary quarters while most of your possessions are in storage, you’re going to have moments when you wish you could put your hands on an appliance, article of clothing, or device that’s instead squirreled away in an anonymous box in a warehouse. And the longer you’re parted from your stuff, the more you miss the little things.
Lately, I’ve been having a strong case of FURminator envy.
For those who aren’t familiar with this terrific product, the FURminator is a heavy duty brush — a “de-shedding tool for large dogs” — that helps to get rid of dog fur. When Penny gets a vigorous brushdown with the FURminator, the result is large clouds of white dog hair that collect into loose balls and roll across the yard like tumbleweeds in an old western. Since Penny remains fur-covered, of course, you begin to realize just how much fur dogs carry around.
So why do I miss the FURminator? Basically, because every one of the dog hairs that would have been gathered into a mass of discarded fur now ends up on my clothing. I’m a walking testament to the adhesive properties of dog hair, which is clingier than your first high school girlfriend. My blue cloth winter greatcoat looks like a kind of mangy alpaca effort that Joe Namath might have worn during his Fu Manchu moustache period. It’s not a particularly attractive look.
So when we finally move to our new place in a few days, I’ll be going through boxes with undiminished zeal, keeping an eye out for a handy little device that, liberally applied, should help to keep our new home from becoming a fur-fest. FURminator Forever!
Something big has happened to our pack. I mean, really big! Yesterday the Leader took Kasey and me to a new place that we have never seen before — but some of our things were there. I’m not sure, but I think we might be staying here.
I don’t know why we left our old place. It’s the only house I’ve lived in. I liked it there. I miss it already.
I have to admit that this new place has some interesting smells. Kasey and I have had some fun exploring. But I hate this thing about our new place — the stairs and the floors. The stairs are way too tall, and I have to really jump to get up them. And the floors are just too slippery and slidey for me. Who wants to be slipping and sliding everywhere?
But our whole pack is here — even the old boring guy. Kasey and I like it best when we are together, wherever we are. And our food is here, too. That is a good thing, because with all this slipping and sliding I am hungry!
This afternoon we close on the sale of our home in New Albany, Ohio. We’ll move out later this week, hand the keys over to the new owners, and just like that our 19-year sojourn in the North of Woods neighborhood of New Albany will be ended.
Yesterday Kish and I were madly packing up clothing, books, dishes, and the contents of our cupboards in preparation for the move. It’s one of those basic chores that fully occupies your lower brain function — you have to pay enough attention to make sure that the boxes are securely packed, after all — but leaves the upper brain free to roam. In this instance, my mind naturally turned to the notion of chapters ending, and new chapters beginning.
I tend not to be sentimental about homes; people and experiences are far more meaningful to me than structures. Even so, I’ll miss this tidy wooden house where we watched the boys grow up, where we have put down deep roots and have such a strong sense of place and belonging. We’ll miss our neighbors and the annual Halloween celebrations, we’ll miss the white fences, we’ll miss our walks to the library and around the block with Penny and Kasey, and we’ll miss seeing the ‘hood continue to grow and develop.
But, it’s time to move on. Today is another step in the process.
Last night, a “Coming Soon” sign went up in our front yard, announcing to the world that we will be listing our house for sale in a few days. We put it out just in time for the trick-or-treat block party, so we could let all of our neighbors know at the same time.
We’ve had 19 wonderful years on our little cul-de-sac in New Albany. They began when our kids were both little tow-headed tykes under 10, when most of the lots around us were unsold and undeveloped, and when the newly planted trees around our lot were scrawny little things. The years rolled by, the boys grew up, the empty lots around us filled with houses, and the houses filled with families. Now Richard and Russell are adults and our North of Woods development is a mature neighborhood with towering trees and the happy sounds of children playing. It’s hard to believe, but Kish and I have now spent one-third of our lives here. That’s longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.
Through it all, this frame house has been the dependable physical center of our family. We bought it when it was being built and we had the chance to add the features we wanted, and we’ve been the only family to live here. It’s never given us a single problem. As empty nesters, though, we don’t need a four-bedroom house any more, and we’ve concluded that it’s time to hand this happy home off to another family with young kids that is looking to become part of a terrific, family-friendly place with great neighbors.
As for Kish and me, we’re intrigued by the thought of returning to the more urban lifestyle we had when we lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. back in the 1980s, to a smaller place that better suits our two-person, two-dog group. After 19 years, we’re ready for a new adventure.
Today Kish and I loaded up a panel van, and tomorrow we will be taking a bunch of Richard’s stuff to Pittsburgh to help him move in as he starts his internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. As we loaded, Kish wondered aloud: how many times have we moved things from one location to another?
It’s a good question, and not an easy one to answer. We routinely moved from apartment to apartment in college, after college, and in Washington, D.C., gradually accumulating more stuff with each step in the process. Here in Columbus, we moved into a house, filled it up, and have moved all of our stuff twice since then. We’ve moved the boys to college and to grad school and to other locations and we moved Mom from her condo to her current apartment. And each time we’ve packed and unpacked, loaded vans and cars, lugged boxes and bags and hauled mattresses and box springs and shelves. This time we’re grateful that we don’t have something weird to move, like a fish tank.
In the process, and over the years, we’ve learned about anchoring things and bracing things so they don’t slide around, about the value of more bankers’ boxes than you initially think you’ll use, and the need to keep the heavy stuff at the rear of the van or truck. But still, there are quandaries that will never be fully solved. Like — what do you do with lamps?
Often we Americans take our easy, seemingly limitless freedoms for granted. I was considering that reality this week, as I bounced on the springy seat of a rental truck and we moved Richard from Chicago to Columbia, Missouri.
We rented a 10-foot truck from Budget Rental Car Company that was perfect for our needs and reasonably priced. We plopped down our credit card, dealt directly with the friendly woman (with two office dogs!) at one of Budget’s Chicago outlets, drove the truck away, immediately loaded it ourselves, and then steered the truck onto superhighways that allowed us to drive the hundreds of miles separating the two cities in a few hours. We unloaded Richard’s stuff in a Columbia apartment he arranged through the internet and were done in one day.
We didn’t need to get governmental approval for our rental or Richard’s move. We weren’t required to hire designated movers to load the truck or drivers to drive it. We didn’t need to buy a special operator’s license, or slip a corrupt government bureaucrat a few bucks to get on our way. We didn’t pay tolls to use those well-paved, safely designed superhighways. Richard didn’t have to register for housing and then wait months until a unit opened up. All of those things that didn’t happen might easily be required in many of the nations of the world.
But not here. One family, one truck, one hard day’s work and driving, and a move of hundreds of miles goes off without a hitch. It’s just one reason why this is a great country. We shouldn’t forget that.