Moving Day – nightmare or new start? Maybe both. The Chicks share their own moving stories and lessons learned. Procure pre-assembled boxes. Measure twice before lifting that heavy, oversized sofa. Even treasures can be lost in transit, and found much, much later. And a word to the wise: tightly seal all the condiments.
My biggest issues with moving involve two things: a) boxes and b) tape. I simply CANNOT construct packing boxes out of flat pieces of cardboard–especially if they say “This Side Up.” And don’t even bring up those giant, super-sticky (and infernally-sharp) tape dispensers. I am, however, very talented in making lists and labeling–sometimes with cute illustrations or cheerful notes added so we’ll have something to look at besides plain brown cardboard during the many months they will remain unpacked. On our last move, I drove from Nashville to Boston two weeks early to move my son into his freshman college dorm. My sainted husband was stuck back home, making and packing and taping all the boxes in hundred-degree heat. He says we’re never going to sell our current house because he is never, ever, ever putting boxes back together again.
The discovery of a lockbox containing a hidden treasure completed our last move – three years later. When we moved to downtown Marquette in 2010, apparently all our belongings didn’t make it to the new apartment. A metal lockbox was mysteriously discovered in a storage room at the nearby Farmers’ Market three years later. The finders called the vendor they thought it belonged to. Her key opened the box, but curiously its contents were not hers. Leafing through papers, someone recognized my husband’s name on an envelope and called him. This was serendipitous, since Marquette has a population of more than twenty thousand – and we were relative newcomers. John retrieved the box we didn’t know was missing, which contained miscellaneous papers, including a very personal letter to John from his mom that we’d never seen before. It detailed an occurrence in my mother-in-law’s life that held deep meaning for her. She had talked about it, but we were unaware she’d ever written it down. John’s mom had passed away in 2001.
Some may see the discovery as coincidence. I lean toward divine intervention. However you explain it, having this account in my mother-in-law’s own handwriting is a treasure. And one we didn’t even know we possessed until it was lost – and found in a most unlikely way.
My most harrowing move wasn’t even my move. It was during college break and involved my sister and her new one-bedroom basement apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. Since she had to work, she tasked my mom and I with waiting for a delivery of her new new couch set. The apartment itself was adorable, one where you walk down a small flight of stairs into a tiny hallway, then immediately turn right to get to the apartment itself. The entry was cute—but definitely not ideal for moving in a three-seat couch. Those poor delivery guys definitely tried their hardest, even contemplating trying to slip it through her small window while my mom and I frantically called my sister with updates. After what felt like hours, we all finally gave up. It was years before my sister was finally able to get her first three-seat couch. As for me? Best believe I always measure the doorway before I move anywhere.
I haven’t moved in nineteen years, thank GOD. But I do have a silly story. When I lived in New York, my parents sold the family house and I moved a bunch of stuff into storage. I’d carefully packed away my small collection of Madame Alexander dolls to one day share with my own daughter, should I have one. And suddenly, I couldn’t find it. I called my mother, sobbing. Mind you, I was in my late twenties at the time. My mother felt so badly for me that she went out and bought about three or four pricey Madame Alexander dolls to make up for the loss. But of course, new dolls never have the sentimental value of the originals. Still, what a great mom, huh?
Flash forward ten years and I’m moving everything from New York to Los Angeles. And what should magically appear? You got it, the box of dolls. A few years later, I have that daughter I’d always wanted. I buy a used hutch to display the dolls and proudly line them up on a shelf. And my daughter couldn’t be less interested. In fact, she says to me, “Mommy, can you hide those? I don’t like them staring at me.” So now the dolls are back in a box under a chair in my bedroom. Maybe someday I’ll have a granddaughter who’ll appreciate them!
My most traumatic move was at the end of my freshman year of college. Who knew half a dorm room could hold so much stuff? And somehow, I was going to fit it all into half a Honda Civic. I checked out of my room with an industrial size luggage cart worth of stuff. As I wheeled the cart down the sloped sidewalk, it started to pick up speed. And when I tried to turn it to keep it from crashing into a car, it tipped over, sending my stuff flying everywhere — including an extra-large jar of mustard that broke and splattered all over my belongings. (Why had I packed that?!?) Right then, Tim — my future husband — walks up with two adults and says, “Hey, my parents wanted to meet you.” I turned bright red, mumbled something and ran. When I was finally able to come back out and face the carnage, they kindly took me to the post office to mail my stuff home. And for YEARS, my future inlaws referred to me as Mustard Girl. On the plus side, I don’t put off packing anymore!
Readers, share your triumphs, disasters and lessons learned from your moving experiences in the comments below!
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