Monday: Hubby’s first day walking to work. He texts me: 1.44 miles and 26 minutes. This is why we moved – so we can have a taste of pre-freeway, pre-television life.
I start unpacking before breakfast, trying to empty a few more boxes before going back to the house to meet the junk haulers. They are supposed to call half an hour before arrival, which is scheduled sometime between 1 and 3 PM. They show up at 12:40 without calling first. I’m still on the road, so they wind up sitting in their truck in our driveway and waiting in the 80 degree heat. The company is called College Hunks Hauling Junk. I figured they were just being funny, until I got a good look at these fine young fellows. I could have sons that age, but if I did, they wouldn’t be nearly that good looking. Is this a thing? Model-gorgeous moving men as a marketing gimmick? Or is it just that SoCal is loaded with preternaturally attractive people?
Landlord comes over and gives me a very touching farewell speech. He says we are “very excellent” and “the best people” and that he will miss us. He thanks us for everything and hopes our pets are adjusting well. He is a gentle soul who spends most of his time growing roses since his stroke a few years ago. I feel good about our rent money having gone to his care and maintenance.
Spend 90 minutes washing windows. Bring back another carload. It really seemed like the house was almost empty. A few pans here, some canning jars there, a couple of lamps, and suddenly the car is full again. I drop off the ill-fated return phone at the post office and head home. Hubby meets me and helps unload, so we can head back again to clean. Stop to assemble our desks. Drive back to old house for two hours of work. I clean the bathrooms and the kitchen while he takes down pictures and putties holes in the wall. We have to go back one more time for the walk-through. Finish at 9:30, too late to go out, and wind up eating taco salad at home at 10.
Tuesday: Have breakfast outside on new deck. Feed a tiny mandarin to Noelie, who eats about ½ tsp and throws the rest to the dog. Unpack and organize a few more things. Figure out the new washing machine. Scrub off the paint transferred onto the car from where I backed into the gate yesterday. Change our address with USPS. Try to catch up on email. Mostly just wait around for new landlord to show up with the missing drawer fronts and cabinet doors, so I can start unpacking the kitchen. Go back to old house for final cleanup; half an hour of mopping and loading up the last few things. Amazing: the cleansers, mops, brooms, and flower pots make up an entire carload. House is immaculate and empty. I can preserve the visual of the final perimeter check for reassurance whenever I can’t find something and wonder if it got left behind. (It couldn’t have been).
Wednesday: Be careful what you wish for! The work crew knocks just after I step out of the shower, and I have to run to the door in a towel and ask them to give me a minute. It takes about 3 hours to hang the cabinet doors, replace the drawers, install a shelf and smoke detectors, and put down wood strips at the floor thresholds. Spend another 3 hours unpacking the kitchen. Exhausting, but it’s done, and I cook dinner.
Thursday: Organize more of the laundry room, clearing enough space that a shelving unit can be set up. Venture into the garage. Several boxes belong in the office. Where are we going to put this stuff?? We’re close to the point where we could run a functional household and stop dealing with the mess in the garage and laundry room. All we have to do is stop any recreational or athletic activities and put our hobbies on hold, and we’re golden. Break down the empty boxes I have stacked outside the back door, fortunately, because it rains only a couple of hours later. Walk the dog to meet hubby at work. He is delighted.
Friday: The demoralizing dregs. Each room has a couple of partial boxes with items that need to be carefully placed, because the available storage is almost completely full. “Office” consists of the pets’ crates, a bookshelf, our desks, and a bunch of boxes that are still taped closed. I set up a folding table in the kitchen. Hubby sets up the desktop computer and a couple of shelving units for the laundry room and garage. The Dementors have gotten out of the MISC boxes and are hovering around.
Saturday: We go back to the old house to wait for the recyclers to come pick up the old refrigerator. I discover that one kitchen drawer was left full of stuff! So much for my “final” perimeter check. Throw it in a bag. While on that side of town, the dog gets taken to the vet, car gets washed, Goodwill donations get dropped off, old keys get mailed to property manager, and we stop for groceries. After this we’ll have to figure out where to do all these errands in our new city. We work together to clear the laundry room and garage at the new house. A few specific empty electronics boxes go into the small loft area at the top of the garage. The rest of the shelving units are assembled and organized. I push through the last couple of boxes in the living room.
Sunday: We have two choices: put up the work bench in the garage and finish the office, or enjoy the gorgeous weather and go for the distance walk we had planned. We walk about 9 ½ miles, getting home about an hour before a heavy rainstorm hits. The ice maker in the fridge has malfunctioned, leaking a very large puddle of water on the kitchen floor, which has of course saturated the bottom of the last remaining box. Moral: this is why we unpack our boxes and don’t leave cardboard on the floor.
We first heard of the existence of this house 28 days ago. Now we live here. The bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room are fully operational. There is no art on the walls yet. The living room is a work in progress, as we’re using a mishmash of old furniture until we have time to get a new couch. The garage can accommodate projects, and it’ll be “done done” with another hour’s work. I’d love to say the office is done, too, because that would mean we’re fully moved in. Then I do the math. We’ve slept here 9 nights. It’s actually pretty impressive that all our furniture is put together and we’re 90% unpacked already. We’ll most likely finish by dinnertime tonight. That’s because 1. We don’t have a lot of stuff, 2. We can’t bear to live in cluttered surroundings, and 3. All our “free time” has been directed toward completing the move. Moving is part annoyance, part drudgery, and part excitement. The proportion depends almost entirely on how much cubic clutter there is.
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I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.