Moving to a new city always fills me with excitement. Even if I am just returning to a place where I have already lived, I always think there are endless possibilities. I freely admit it, I like to move. I think I would have been a good military person. Packing up and leaving with little notice holds no fear for me. Finding new places to shop, eat, visit has always been fun. Driving down a road I have never been on just to see what is down there is even more fun and now with Uncle GoogleMaps to guide me, easier than ever before. But nothing is more fun, more exciting than moving into a brand new space.
I go thru stages in my moves. The first stage is when I take possession of my new place, in this case a spacious 1 bedroom in a newer apartment complex with lush landscaping and a great patio. I arrived before my things, in fact it would be almost 2 weeks before they wound their way thru the Pacific Northwest then across the desert to find me waiting for them. I had only what I had been able to pack into my SUV around me and my dog, along with a couple of chairs I had stored with my mom. With very little in it, the apartment seemed huge! Nothing but empty, albeit nicely painted, walls and roomy closets. I will never fill up this space, I thought, and maybe I don't want to. Maybe I will embrace the minimalist style and live a stripped down life. No big TV, no bookcases that I would have to dust, no dishes beyond 2 plates, 2 coffee cups, 2 spoons, forks and knives, and a stack of brightly colored Solo cups. Just me and my dog living the simple life. I ate sitting on the floor, using an ottoman for a table. Worked sitting on the same ottoman with my computer on a little built-in desk. Drank wine out of an orange plastic cup sitting on a chair on my patio, my feet up on the box my new coffee pot came in. I slept on an inflatable bed in an otherwise empty bedroom with the same coffee pot box dragged in and used as an end table. After about 5 days, any minimalist urges I had died a complete and resounding death and I couldn't wait...COULDN'T WAIT...until my things arrived. Which, on a happy Thursday last week, they did.
Stage 2. Furniture! Lovely, loved furniture! My leather chair, my bookcases, my desk and trunk and dresser and buffet and boxes...boxes and boxes and boxes. So many boxes the very nice movers ran out of walls to line them along and started stacking them in the garage. I couldn't wait until the movers had finished their task and left me alone with all the lovely boxes. Which box should I open first? Dishes? Clothes? Books? Office? Bathroom? Dining Room? Now I am a careful and meticulous packer. First I assemble the tools...box, paper, little squares of foam material, bubble wrap, paper plates, packing tape, Sharpie, plus a little movable table to set the box on. Then, and only then, do I begin. I am proud to say that with this careful (some might say anal) system in place, in 20 years of moving I have lost exactly one item to breakage...a pink Depression Glass plate that I knew I should have put into another box instead of trying to fit it into the one that was already too full. Unpacking, however, is a whole other thing. I find it impossible to confine myself to opening just one box at a time. Instead, giddy with delight over see things I hadn't seen in days and DAYS, I attack the boxes with my trusty utility knife, ripping open one after another, taking out one or two items, before moving on to other boxes until I have opened all of the ones on the top layer of boxes. Then it's decision time. Do I finish unpacking these boxes, putting their contents neatly away, disposing of the packing materials, breaking down the box itself, or...shift those boxes to the side and open up more! My mom came over to help on Saturday, took one look at the chaos, sat down in my rocking chair and declared "I think I'll just sit and watch for awhile."
Stage 3. I finally settle down with the willy-nilly slitting of boxtops and begin to slowly but thoughtfully put away each and every piece I unwrap. Plates here, glasses there, my purses on this shelf, my jewelry making supplies on another, candles and books and chachkies and silverware all find happy new homes. I place furniture around the rooms and the previously enormous spaces fill up quickly. I hang art work and photographs and it begins to take shape as not just another nice apartment but as my home. During this phase there is a sharp decline in my desire to open any more boxes which leads directly to:
Stage 4. I am done. There can't possibly be anything left in those still taped up boxes in my garage that I could possibly need and really, can't I just buy anything I am missing? I refuse to believe that I could have 3 more boxes that say 'Bathroom', it's not like my previous bathroom was the size of Minnesota. Ditto the box that says 'Office'. I have been working in my office since two days after I moved here and I am quite confidant that I have all the things I need to continue to do so.
So I will leave the boxes for awhile. I'll put away the box of tools and the utility knife, stack the now flat empty boxes neatly in the garage beside their still-filled sisters (including one that says "everything else"...I'm saving that one because I am pretty sure it was from a previous move and remained unopened in my closet for at least 4 years) and see how it goes. I know just what will happen. I have been here before. I will wake up in the middle of the night wondering where that thing is that I always had there, go out to the garage and starting ripping thru the boxes, desperate to find that thing. Maybe I'll invite my mom over so she can sit and watch.