Monday, January 21, 2013

Self Contained

The house is under contract. The closing date is tentatively set. Ample notice and a departure date have been given at work and one of my bosses and I are disproportionately stressed about one or two projects. But basically, bit by bit, the details are being worked out. My mom and Butch are coming to help load up my stuff, and their travel dates are set. Their decision to drive instead of fly down helped resolve my debate of shipping container versus truck. Good thing.

On a vacation day scheduled to handle house repairs needed as a result of the inspection, I had time to sit and focus on the container/truck issue. I had already checked UHaul and PODS and spazzed out over the costs ($900 to $2500, depending). On this day, I found another company and got an estimate online.

After some trouble on the container company’s website when I tried to change their seemingly random assigned moving date, which was, unfortunately, a week later than I need the stuff gone from the house, I cast aside my long-standing neurotic issues with phones (another story for another day) and called them. Drew, my customer service rep, said there wasn’t much availability for February, which explains why the web page kept defaulting to March 5. We got things lined up. If I need to store the cube on the other end, it’s in Worcester, a town I have lived in twice and would be happy to live in again. The other container storage companies also had storage  -- but in towns I never heard of or in a neighboring state. I like to think my stuff is nearby, so I think the Worcester storage site sealed the deal for me with this company.

As promised by Drew, follow-up emails arrived within a few minutes. One email had checklists and the “Do Not Ship” list was quite helpful. Enlightening. Sure, I knew it wasn’t acceptable to ship/store my paint, gasoline, ammunition or fireworks arsenals, but I hadn’t really considered nail polish and nail polish remover. Anybody want 38 bottles of nail polish? Yes, 38. I counted. Well, maybe I can keep 10 or 12 in the stuff packed into the car. But seriously, at least half will have to find new homes.

The overall plan is to sell as much stuff as I can and have a super light move.  To have a clean start. To finally be free of secondhand clunky furniture and the need to find a living space based on the volume of my stuff. Heck, with the exception of four white leather dining chairs I bought new for the house in Tennessee, most of my stuff has been castoffs from family and friends, a couple yard sale finds, or the pressboard stuff that comes in a box and is assembled at home. My major new furniture purchases were in the last century for the house in Massachusetts (1986), and I walked away from most of that stuff in the divorce, telling myself it was a small price to pay to get out of there alive.

Worse than the secondhand stuff (or “Shabby Chic” as the trend was called 15 or 20 years ago when it was cool -- and still never a deliberate decor scheme on my part), some of my boxed stuff has enjoyed five or six moves and never seen the light of day. Time to go.

I still, however, have a couple issues with the “Do Not Ship” list, specifically, their category called Miscellaneous:
 - Antiques
 - Automobiles
 - Contraband
 - One of a kind artwork
 - Pets
 - Photos-photo albums

After I liberate myself from the replaceable furniture and stuff I am tired of looking at and schlepping around,  I’ll have a few antiques (mostly family furniture), a bunch of one of a kind artwork (most done by my Tennessee art friends), and my own gazillion photos /photo albums. Dang. Maybe I just need to get a tow hitch and drag my stuff behind me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sky Writing

Another Christmas trip home to New England is done. As always, it went by too quickly. As usual, I ran out of time and didn't get to see everyone. In keeping with tradition, approximately 6 days into the trip and a couple days before the flight back to Tennessee, I was visited by the annual stuffed up sinuses, scratchy throat and general feeling of unwellness to enhance the regularly scheduled depression at having to leave the family. It wouldn't be a major holiday family visit if it didn't end in me feeling like I'd been run over by a bus.

It seems the best thing I ever did to fully appreciate my family was to move 1,200 miles away from them. Maybe when I am 1,200 miles away from Clarksville I can finally appreciate that place, but it will probably be a delayed gratification thing, as it may take a few years for the excitement of leaving to wear off first.

It stinks to fly with congested sinuses, and moreso since Southwest stopped flying direct between New England and Nashville. Once upon a time, there were multiple daily nonstops on the schedule, but ever since the addition of Baltimore-Washington Airport to their schedule, there are no more nonstops to Nashville from either Manchester, New Hampshire or Providence, Rhode Island. The once two hour trip is now a four to seven hour event involving foot tours of multiple airports. The first leg of the flight introduces a mild ear discomfort which is topped with a bonus round of excrutiating ear pain and the challenge of suppressing the urge to scream and wail like an infant by jamming gum into my mouth and chewing it like my life depends on it while applying pressure to the outer opening my ear canal. Then, I spend the next couple days feeling like my ears are stuffed with cotton or I've just left a very loud concert. It might be my favorite part of traveling by air, narrowly edging out the joy of playing fortune teller as required to pack for as-yet-unknown weather conditions and activities.

Being New Year's Eve and dancing on the brink of sickness, there was a huge compulsion to go to bed early and attempt to heal, but that's what I did one year ago and resented it any time I thought about it for the rest of the year. Twenty years ago there would be no consideration given to missing a New Year's Eve celebration -- come hell, high water, the forced muteness of laryngitis or a raging case of tonsillitis, I would be dressed to the nines and out in the fray. I have a quieter life now. In my delusional moments I call it maturity, but it's probably more accurate to call it laziness.

Sleep was poor much of the week in New England, thanks to the seemingly never-ending sinus issues that prevented breathing. And the unfamiliar bed with no dogs. And the weird dreams. Some of the best sleep of the week happened each morning between 8:00 and 9:00 when I had intended to already be up, and on the flight from Baltimore-Washington International to Nashville International when I dozed off three or four times in six or seven minute increments, and awoke when I whacked my head on the cabin wall each time my head began to drop. I think it was starting to freak out the kid in the center seat, who had her mother sleeping in the aisle seat to her right and me smashing my head on the window like a psychiatric patient in the seat to her left.

The rest of the week's prime sleep came when I hit the couch after arriving home. In spite of the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America, the fatigue and feeling of crappiness, coupled with the coziness of the exhausted fur babies curled up beside me overpowered my supreme crush on David Tennant and I was sleeping, this time in 15 minute slots -- just long enough to miss key moments of each episode all afternoon long.

In a triumphant move, I managed to fight the urge to retreat to bed early and sick and stayed up all the way until midnight and the Central Time Zone airing of the Times Square ball drop. My friend Sharon came over and we watched the Doctor Who marathon, so I got to see all the parts I slept through during the afternoon airings as we chatted and drank Chocolate Rouge wine (her) and Bourbon Barrel Stout beer (me) from wine goblets and ate snacks and lamented wearing jeans instead of our comfy fleecy sweats. But it was New Year's Eve and we didn't want to feel like those lazy zombies who parade through WalMart in pajamas at all hours of the day and night.

On New Year's Day morning when I got up at the rosy hour of 8:15 (after a night of reasonably satisfying sleep) I saw the TV listing for the last episode of Downton Abbey Season 2 and immediately jumped to the potentially false assumption that the entire second season had aired overnight on PBS (and probably all day Monday). There was no way to verify this, as the TV listing only displays current and future time slots and shows. If only I had looked at ALL the listings yesterday instead of immediately shacking up with Doctor Who all day. And night. I mean, it's not like The Doctor even knows that he and I are dating.