I have moved many times throughout my life, and consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in packing, unpacking, and settling in over a weekend plus an extra day to hang pictures. My last move was quite the opposite: it didn’t take three days, it took three years.
The first step was to figure out what to do with twenty years’ worth of stuff. The apartment we were moving to had less than half of the square footage of our house; the challenge was to figure out which half of the stuff would fit and what to do with what was left over.
My last weekend before the move was surreal, we walked from room to room and measured and debated. We sorted through our belongings and color-coded labels became the guide to toss or keep.
We sold what we could and gave away the rest. Three days, more than a thousand miles, and a lot of tears after the movers put the last box in the truck, we completed the journey from Nebraska to Pennsylvania. The first stop was Bensalem to wait for the moving truck and say ‘see ya’ to the apartment I had called ‘home’ through seven months of commuting.
We met the movers bright and early; the boxes kept coming and coming. Every room was filled to the point of bursting and it was obvious that we had overestimated how much would fit. It was like living in a plastic ‘made in China’ sliding box puzzle as we moved boxes and belongings from room to room so we could maneuver and unpack. After several trips to storage, we finally settled in.
Fast forward through two years of apartment living. During that time I learned that everything from registering your kid in school to getting a drivers license revolves around the almighty utility bill, on the east coast you go to ‘the shore’ not to the beach, and perseverance pays off when it comes to finding a house to rent. As it turned out, just as I was about to give up hope, the perfect house found me.
I had a month to move, and being the creative problem solver that I am, I came up with a plan to use that time to keep moving costs down. I determined that my car has a maximum capacity of 6 boxes and two laundry baskets. Every night until moving day and twice a day on weekends, I packed as much as I could, filled the back seat and the trunk, and moved one carload at a time.
Moving day eve came with threats of flooding: they were predicting that the river would crest and the road between my past and my future might be closed by noon. I didn’t sleep a wink. All of my worrying must have paid off because the biggest hitch of the day was a lost power cord.
The next step was to get stuff out of storage; I scheduled the pick-up for two weeks after we moved. I was at work when I got the call to meet the movers. My heart raced on the way home, excited to reclaim forgotten treasures and never again hear or say the phrase, “it must be in storage.”
I stood speechless while the porch of my dreams was filled ceiling to floor with boxes.
I can only sum up this day with how my fifteen-year-old son describes it when asked.
“She was beyond irrational.”
I know my parents would agree.
It took ten months to wade through the boxes; I’m pretty sure the trash collectors and the charity organizations thought it would never end. The porch is now ready for use and even has the space to be a temporary shelter for patio furniture and a gas grill during a hurricane.
There was still one thing missing, my piano.
Three years to the day that we arrived in Pennsylvania, I received a phone call. The message was brief.
“Your piano is here; can you meet us today to accept delivery?”
My eyes welled up with joy, two hours later my move was finally complete.
author’s note: It is with love and gratitude that I dedicate this post to my dear friends Dick and Gina. Words cannot express my thanks for bringing my piano home to me. I love you both.