This week finds us permanently residing back in Virginia. The move, number 24 for us, went rather well with only a few minor issues. So far there have only been two casualties from the move, Don’s desk and a plastic coat hanger. Not bad when you figure three strangers packed everything we own, four others then loaded it onto a truck and six different individuals off-loaded it amidst a cold January rain.
I think for me, one of the hardest parts about moving is to relinquish control. The Navy moves us, which means they send out packers and movers, who then becomes responsible for the well being of most of our worldly possessions. It was hard to watch as the movers picked up first one box then the next and handled them with less care than I would have liked and took them to the truck. Once they were around the corner of the truck I could not see what happened to them. While I really wanted to jump up and say “hey, be careful with that”, I held my tongue realizing they have done this before and praying the packers had done a good job wrapping our belongings. The only time I actually spoke up and took issue with something was when I looked out and saw several heavy plastic storage bins sitting atop my cherished cedar chest. The chest was not covered and there was nothing between the fragile wood and the items on top. I admit I have a slight control issue, but that was just not right.
When it comes to packing I tend to like to do it myself. If not, I want to oversee things to make sure they are done properly. I think this is mostly because in the course of our marriage the moves we have done on our own has generated less broken items than when we have had professionals move us. I think it is just that we have a personal stake in the matter and tend to be more careful. With that said, upon unpacking this week I have shook my head on several occasions. My box of sandwich bags was wrapped in several pieces of paper however a wooden shelf was not. I also found a very heavily wrapped bag of dog bones, but they were not crumbled in the move.
After being properly introduced Oliver, our four legged son, was pretty tolerant of all of the strangers in our condo packing our belongings. He was the perfect gentleman, greeting everyone at the door, then returning to the safety of his bed, which I had placed near where I was sitting. The next day he was not as happy. He did not take to the movers quite so quickly even going so far as growling at one. I guess he was not sure he liked all of his stuff being carted outside by people he had only just met. He yawned frequently, and looked to make sure I did not object, but still kept a close eye on everyone and always hurried to get in-between me and any of the movers that got too close.
With the move behind us all that is left is to continue to wade through the mountain of boxes that currently reside within our home. It is amazing how much stuff a family can accumulate over time. Even with the fact that necessity makes us move and clean house every couple years we still have many possessions. I can’t imagine how much stuff we would actually have if we weren’t made to purge every year or two.
We did have a minor emergency upon arriving home. We entered the house to find that we did not have any heat. My husband tried several things to get it working until he finally asked me to find a number to a local heating specialist. I called one of the neighbors who in turn gave me several numbers to local heating companies. I made a call and the guy was there so fast that my husband remarked that we probably could not get an ambulance there that quick.
The guy went upstairs to the attic when he promptly diagnosed a cracked furnace and put a red tag on it that said it was unsafe for use. Seriously, we had a home inspection, how come they didn’t see this? We packed our bags, loaded the dog in the truck and went in search of a hotel. After driving for a couple of miles we parked at a McDonalds and borrowed their WIFI. While my husband sat there looking on line for a motel all I could think was that on our first official night back in Virginia we couldn’t even sleep in our house. I voiced that opinion to my husband who readily agreed.
Don closed his laptop, and we drove straight to Home Depot, bought two space heaters, took them home and set up camp in our bedroom. That is after Don screwed the bedroom door back on as he had taken them off to paint during our last trip home. After the bedroom had warmed sufficiently Don inflated our air mattress and we spent the night and most of the next day within the confines of our bedroom, promptly donning our coats when we dared to venture into another part of the house. We could see our breath and even our dishwashing detergent had begun to congeal, but thankfully the pipes in the house remained intact.
After calling the number for our home warranty company we had a second technician, a nice man, who liked to refer to me as sweetheart, come to the house. The repairman spent over an hour crawling around in the attic and going through the furnace and never did find a crack. He diagnosed the problem as a faulty igniter switch and, after calling in some favors, was able to purchase the needed part and by late Saturday afternoon we were blessed with warm air once again surging through our heater ducts. As a matter of fact, when we finally got heat the tech turned to me and enthusiastically gave me a high five and declared “we have heat BABYGIRL!” Okay yes, I did think that to be slightly over the top, but then again I was very happy to have heat.
It feels so good to be at the house once more and to know that, with the exception of short trips or vacations, we are here to stay. No more leaving the house and making the long drive back to New England. I am not sure if the feeling of permanency has quite sunken in yet but I am sure as I empty the remaining boxes and start hanging pictures on the wall it will.
Oh, and I am not really going to hang the pictures; I have a better system when it comes to that. I simply place them where I want them and ask Don for a hammer and nails and by some miracle they wind up on the wall. You see over the course of the years and having moved so many times Don has quickly learned that my way of hanging a picture is eyeballing where I want it, hammering the nail into the wall and if it is not exactly where I want it, yanking out the nail and trying yet again. One picture can, and has in some cases, required several nail holes. Don on the other hand likes to take the guy approach, getting out the level, tape measure and pencil and then using a tiny drill bit, drilling a single hole for which he will then place the nail. Seems like a lot of work if you ask me, but he seems to enjoy it and my pictures all look very even.
Don and I have a pretty good system for putting things away as well. With the exception of his office and the garage I put everything away. While some may wonder how fair our arraignment is, I look at it this way. Don is gone a great deal of time so he doesn’t have a clue as to where things go. Also, he is a guy in the true sense of the word, not really grasping color, blending, energy flow, and basic decorating in general. For those reasons it is best for all parties involved for me to choose what goes where. That way I don’t cringe every time I walk into a room and see something that does not go with something else. As a general rule Don makes sure I always have a full box to replace the ones I have emptied and he is diligent about removing all the packing materials and cutting down the boxes when I am finished with them. I never have to carry anything heavy or trip over boxes that are in my way. It is a great arraignment and it works for us.
As things settle down from the move I hope to begin spending more time at my computer; writing and working on getting my writings into print. I have a cute, brightly lit office where I hope to spend much of my time. Unfortunately at the moment there are still several boxes scattered about that need to be gone through thus finding a home for the items within. I guess I will end on that note and get back to work. As much as I wish they would those cartons are not going to unpack themselves.